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The Herald's Game of the Week

Monroe beats Arlington in OT, wins Wesco 4A North title

Bearcats stay unbeaten in Wesco 4A North, clinch title with OT victory over Arlington

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  • Monroe's Hunter James tackles Arlington quarterback Skylor Elgarico in the first half.

    Annie Mulligan / For The Herald

    Monroe's Hunter James tackles Arlington quarterback Skylor Elgarico in the first half.

MONROE -- Gabe Moore got to make a fun phone call Friday night.
He wasn't alone. There were likely lots of happy calls originating from Monroe.
The Bearcats -- and their fans -- celebrated on the field after a 29-22 overtime victory against Arlington Friday night at Monroe High School that clinched the Wesco North 4A division championship.
In the process, Moore rushed for a school record 322 yards on 33 carries. He broke the mark previously held by a familiar face -- his brother Jordan, who tallied a Monroe record last season.
"That's my (personal) record and I'm pretty sure that breaks a school record that my brother had last year. So that's a pretty great accomplishment. I'm going to call him up tonight," Gabe Moore said.
Moore may not have been celebrating had the Bearcats' defense not held on against Arlington in the game's final minute and forced the overtime. With Monroe in the red zone, Moore fumbled the ball and Arlington recovered on its own 5-yard line with about three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
"I knew that drive was super important and once I fumbled the ball I knew, 'all right we got to get it back. I have to make a play and get it back,'" Moore said.
But the Bearcats' defense forced a punt with 33 seconds remaining, and then Monroe took a knee to force the overtime period.
"In the second half, it was just like a slugging match, you know, back and forth and back and forth," Monroe head coach Dick Abrams said. "Our defense, I thought, played really well against a great offense. And then our offense was able to move the ball when we needed to."
In overtime, Moore had three carries for 13 yards, before junior Max Blais ran a touchdown in from four yards out to give Monroe its first lead of the game.
Then the defense took over.
After a first down by Arlington, the Bearcats forced John Decker to fumble the ball. Monroe jumped on it and the celebration began, as fans began storming the field.
"That was a great game," Abrams said. "Both teams were amazing. Playing back and forth. Nobody giving up."
Moore, a junior, finished with two touchdown runs, including an 80-yard one with 33 seconds to play before halftime. The run came immediately following Decker's second 1-yard touchdown run of the game, and a two-point conversion by the Bearcats tied the score at 15.
"Gabe Moore is a spectacular player," Abrams said. "Tonight, he just came out and he was just on fire. A couple of those runs were amazing. He broke that one right before half, that's huge for us."
Thanks in large part to Moore, the Bearcats rushed for 418 yards. Blais finished with 27 carries for 72 yards and quarterback Hunter Bingham, replacing injured starter Mitchell Price, ran six times for 24 yards and a touchdown. He also completed three of five passes for 27 yards.
The win clinched the Wesco North 4A title for the Bearcats. No one was quite sure when the last time that happened.
"Our principal told me the other day that we had never beat Snohomish and Lake Stevens in the same year ever. So, I don't know how long it's been since we got a title," Abrams said. "So, it's nice to get that. We've got one more game against Mount Vernon that's a conference game, but it looks like we're okay at No. 1. That's great. I'm psyched for our community."
The Bearcats won a back-and-forth game that featured constant rain in large part due to Moore on the offensive side of the ball and their defense's ability to contain Arlington quarterback Skylor Elgarico. Elgarico finished with 14 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown. He completed 11 of 24 passes for 176 yards.
Decker added 89 yards on the ground on 18 carries.
"I did (expect a close game) until they scored early and then I'm going, 'wow, this could happen real fast because they're such a potent offense,'" Abrams said. "That quarterback is a great player."
Monroe kept the Arlington offense -- including Elgarico -- off the field for a large part of the game thanks to its running gamethat routinely took several minutes off the clock during long drives. Despite the intensity and workload, after the game Moore was all smiles and ready for more.
"I could go out and play another four quarters," he said.

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)

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