By Kevin Johnson
With chants of “We want Moore! We want Moore!” coming down from the crowd like the rain coming down on the field, junior running back Gabe Moore gave them just that.
Moore rushed for a school record 322 yards and two touchdowns, and the Monroe Bearcats outlasted the Arlington Eagles, 29-22, in a Wesco 4A North Division overtime victory Friday night at Monroe High School.
“That was a great game. Both teams playing back and forth; nobody giving up. Just playing hard. It was awesome. A lot of fun,” Monroe head coach Dick Abrams said.
The victory clinches the North’s No. 1 seed, something that hasn’t happened to the Bearcats since … no one was quite sure.
“Our principal told me that we had never beaten Snohomish and Lake Stevens in the same year, ever. So it’s nice to get that (No. 1 seed). I’m psyched for our community,” Abrams said.
Not only did Moore break a school record, but he broke the record set last year by his older brother, Jordan.
“I’m going to call him up later (to break the news),” Gabe Moore ribbed.
Moore’s record-breaking performance resembled something you’d accomplish in a Madden video game.
After a slow start to the contest, Moore broke through for a 33-yard run on his 11th carry before rushing into the end zone on a 7-yard score that cut Arlington’s lead to 8-7 in the second quarter.
The drive was set up by five first downs, led by junior Max Blais’ 35 yards on seven carries.
“I felt good when our O-line started blocking. We started picking up 5-6 yards a shot on the run,” Abrams said, describing the drive.
The Eagles answered back, taking a 15-7 lead with 33 seconds remaining in the half.
That’s when Moore put on a show.
The junior running back burst through the defensive line, breaking tackles and ankles of would-be defenders for an 80-yard touchdown run.
He followed that up with a reception from sophomore Andrew Zimmerman for a 2-point conversion, and just like that the game was tied, 15-15 at the half.
“Moore is a spectacular player. He just came out and he was on fire. He broke the one before half and that was huge for us. Our sophomore came in and threw the 2-point pass which was also huge for us,” Abrams said.
The record wouldn’t have been so sweet without the ‘W’, especially after Moore had fumbled on a key fourth quarter drive and on the Eagles’ 5-yard line.
“That drive was super important and once I fumbled the ball I knew that we had to get it back. We stopped them down there and we got to beat them in overtime,” Moore said.
Arlington dug itself into a small hole with a couple of penalties, forcing the Eagles to punt the ball back to the Bearcats with 22 seconds remaining in the game.
In what may have looked like a surprise move, Abrams had the ‘Cats kneel for the final play of regulation forcing overtime.
“We love overtime. We practice it all the time. That’s why we took a knee. We wanted to get overtime,” Abrams said.
High school overtime rules allow both teams a shot at the end zone beginning from the 25-yard line.
Monroe had first possession and took six plays to score the go-ahead touchdown, a 4-yard run by Blais.
Arlington moved the ball to the 15 yard line but running back John Decker (18 carries, 89 yards) had the ball knocked loose and Monroe recovered the fumble for the victory.
“I’m proud of how we kept coming back. They played really hard and it was nice for our guys to hang in there,” Abrams said of his team.
Monroe hosts Mount Vernon on Friday, October 19 with a chance at a perfect league record, and what is also the Bearcats’ homecoming game.
Scoring Recap At Monroe High School
Arlington 8 7 7 0 x – 22
Monroe 0 15 0 7 7 – 29
A–John Decker 1 run (A.J. Passalacqua pass from Anthony Parra)
M–Gabe Moore 7 run (Tanner Ohlsen kick)
A–Decker 1 run (Parra kick)
M–Moore 80 run (Moore pass from Andrew Zimmerman)
A–Skylor Elgarico 11 run (Parra kick)
M–Hunter Bingham 1 run (Ohlsen kick)
M–Max Blais 4 run (Ohlsen kick)