(WAOW) - Merrill beat their rivals from Antigo last night to advance to Level 2 of the high school football playoffs.
Quarterback Sam Arneson accounted for all the Blue Jays touchdowns in the victory. We feature Arneson as our Newsline 9 athlete of the week
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Trailing 7-0 in its level one playoff matchup at Antigo, Merrill looked to its leader and Sam Arneson answered with three straight touchdowns to lead the Blue Jays to a 19-14 win.
"The whole team just really stepped up last night," Arneson said. "I was fortunate enough to get those three touchdowns, but everybody just did a great job and made it possible."
"He's a special player, he does special things, but just like he said it's a team sport and it doesn't matter if it's one person or not, everybody's got to step up," Merrill head coach Tom Tourtillott said. "It makes you look like a genius as a coach when your guy makes plays."
Arneson leads Merrill in rushing, passing, and scoring despite this being his first season as the Blue Jays quarterback. The senior will play tight end for the Badgers next year and said running the show this season has helped make him a more complete player.
"It's helped improve my overall game, in terms of smarts and knowing the game in all different aspects and knowing what I'm supposed to be doing on every play, so I think that'll help me in the long run," Arneson said.
"You put your best player there and our offensive staff said, 'Sam wants this, let's see it, let's work with him in the summer,'", Tourtillott said. "We did, he put in a lot of effort."
Online reporter: Sean Giggy