By DAVE HANNEMAN
HAMLER — Shades of 2018 may have been running through Bill Inselmann’s mind when Arlington took an early lead on his Patrick Henry Patriots in Saturday’s Division VII, Region 26 football quarterfinal.
History, though, was not about to repeat itself.
“Going into the second half, we made some adjustments with our offensive line and they executed,” Inselmann said after Patrick Henry, eliminated in the first round of the 2018 playoffs, erased an early deficit Saturday and ground out a 26-14 victory.
“The offensive line stepped it up and Wil Morrow ran hard.
“The kids responded.”
Morrow rushed for 115 yards and three touchdowns, quarterback T.J. Rhamy added 59 yards rushing, 118 passing and a score, and Patrick Henry capitalized on good field position to improve to 8-3 and earn a spot in Saturday’s regional semifinals. The Patriots will take on Norwalk St. Paul, which beat Edon 35-21 in a Region 26 quarterfinal Saturday.
Arlington ended its season at 7-4.
Arlington’s Connor Foust capped a defensive first quarter with a 2-yard touchdown run with 40 seconds on the clock. Patrick Henry would flip the script by scoring on the second possession and second to last offensive plays of the half.
Trailing 7-0, PH used three big plays to get on the board — 27- and 19-yard passes from Rhamy to Kolton Holloway and a 21-yard power blast by Morrow. Holloway, who finished with five receptions for 97 yards, was seeing his first action in roughly three weeks because of an injury.
“Man, oh man, is it nice to have Kolton Holloway back. He gives us that weapon on the outside,” Inselmann said.
“Our passing game was about the only thing we had going the first half.”
Patrick Henry scored on the second to last play of the half to go up 12-7. Rhamy caused and Kijano Hill recovered a fumble near midfield and the Patriots covered 54 yards, ending with a 1-yard TD run by Morrow with 36 seconds on the clock.
The second of two short Arlington punts, a 15-yarder, set Patrick Henry up for its third score, a 35-yard drive capped by Rhamy’s 17-yard run around left end.
Big runs by Rhamy (18 yards) and Noah Kistner (11 and 5 yards) set up Morrow’s third TD of the night, a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Jacob Price, who took over when Arlington quarterback Jaret Vermillion was hurt early in the third quarter, engineered Arlington’s final scoring drive. Price hit Austin Frysinger for 23 yards, Ty Webb for 7, and scrambled for 21 yards and a key first down on a third-and-19 play. Foust (12 carries, 46 yards) added a 15-yard burst before Price hit Caden Lafferty on a fourth-and-2 call for the score.
Along with three punts of under 20 yards, one play in particular typifed Arlington’s run of bad luck when it came to field position.
Following Rhamy’s third-quarter touchdown, the kickoff came in low, took a high bounce over Jason Launder’s head, and bounced past him. By the time he covered the ball — and the Patrots covered him — the ball was downed at the 1-yard line.
“Obviously, we were able to put some things together in the first half and move the ball a little,” said Arlington coach Josh McGrain.
“But it was a field positon game, and they had us pinned down, especially in the second half. It was tough getting out of there, and against good teams in Week 11 you’re going to face teams with good defense that are going to make you earn every yard.”
Arlington 7 0 0 7 — 14
Patrick Henry 0 12 6 8 — 26
ARL — Foust 2 run (Kentris kick)
PH — Morrow 21 run (kick failed)
PH — Morrow 1 run (pass failed)
PH — Rhamy 17 run (pass failed)
PH — Morrow 2 run (Schulze pass from Rhamy)
ARL — Lafferty 2 pass from Price (Kentris kick)