ARLINGTON — There are some things that a football team can only experience in a game.
One of those things is the speed of a player like Arlington’s Tyler Callahan.
After the Spy Ponders’ quarterback scored two touchdowns, Woburn High adjusted, scored 29 straight points and defeated Arlington, 36-12 in the Middlesex League Liberty Division opener for both teams on Friday at Pierce Field.
“[Callahan] is a great player,” said Woburn coach Jack Belcher, whose team is now 2-1. “We tried to simulate him in practice. Our scout offense did a great job, but you have to get used to his speed and you can only do that in a game.”
Arlington (1-2) led, 12-7 early in the second quarter. After the Spy Ponders stopped Woburn at the 1-yard line on fourth and goal, they drove 99 yards on 10 plays. Callahan (11 carries, 143 yards) carried the ball through the left side of the line from the 29 to give Arlington its second lead of the game. Woburn’s Karim Haddadi stopped Callahan on the conversion to keep the score at 12-7 with 8:56 left in the second quarter.
“Early in the game, we ran some buck sweep, option stuff,” said Arlington coach Rob DiLoreto. “Woburn made some solid adjustments and stopped us later in the game. I was proud of the goal-line stand and the way we drove 99 yards methodically. That doesn’t happen often at any level.”
The Tanners quickly regained the lead on their next possession. After Tyler Eller returned the kick to the 20, Symon Sathler (21-143) gained 10 on the first play of the series. After a false start moved Woburn back five yards, Dylan McLaughlin broke loose for a 75-yard scoring run down the left sideline. Ayob Essouabni’s second of four kicks put the Tanners up 14-12 with 7:20 remaining in the half.
Just before halftime, McLaughlin added another touchdown. One play after he caught an 11-yard pass from Logan Wilson and Stan Lee Pierre forced him out inside the one, Wilson went back to McLaughlin again for the touchdown with five seconds on the clock.
“Logan Wilson just played his third game at quarterback and he’s gotten better at every game,” Belcher said. “He started every game at cornerback last year.”
Wilson added another touchdown pass to McLaughlin on the opening drive of the third quarter, a nine-yard scoring play. Sathler returned the opening kickoff of the second half 37 yards to the Arlington 33. On the second play of the series, he ran 23 yards up the middle to the 10, three plays before Wilson connected with McLaughlin.
Arthur Amaral completed the scoring on the first play of the final quarter, punching it into the end zone from the one. McLaughlin rushed for the conversion.
“We’ve made some good progress,” Belcher said. “We have a lot of sophomores out there. I looked up at one point and our whole defensive line was sophomores. That’s not because of injuries. Those are our best guys. After three scrimmages and three games, we’ve come a long way since Aug. 16 and 17. We haven’t had a turnover in three games and we haven’t had many penalties.”
Woburn was flagged twice for 15 yards total.
Arlington took an early lead on the opening series of the game. On the third play from scrimmage, Callahan went through the middle of the line for a 52-yard touchdown run. The Tanners’ line blocked Aidan Woog-McGinity’s kick.
The Tanners responded on their first series, driving from their 36 on 10 plays. David Langlois plowed through the middle from the 1 to finish the series. Essouabni’s kick put Woburn up by a point.
Sathler had a 19-yard gain on the series and carried the ball twice for 13 yards.
Woburn threatened to build on its lead after Derek Dabrieo recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff at the Arlington 21. Sathler gained 13 through the right of the line to the Arlington eight on the second play of the drive. Amaral moved the ball to the one on gains of five and two yards. On third- and fourth- and-goal, however, the Spy Ponders stopped Sathler short of the goal line, with Shane Broughton making the stop each time.
Callahan gave his team some breathing room on the next play, carrying the ball out to the 11. He gained 14 yards on a keeper during the series and completed an 18-yard pass to Kanye Lynch before he scored his second touchdown.
The Tanners totaled 395 yards of total offense, 343 on the ground, to Arlington’s 224 (194 rushing, 30 passing).
Mike Koussa led Woburn with six tackles.