ILWACO — Toledo scored long touchdown runs on two of its first three offensive plays, on its way to a 34-0 win Nov. 3 in the crossover round. Toledo advanced to the State playoffs and, for the second straight year, ended Ilwaco’s season.
On the Indians’ second play from scrimmage, Ethan Buck immediately found a hole, accelerated through and scored a 43-yard touchdown. When Toledo got the ball back, Coleby Cherrington beat Ilwaco’s defense to the sideline and took off for a 67-yard score, making it 14-0 with 4:22 in the first quarter.
For the third straight week, the Fishermen on some series went with an offense based on direct snaps to running back Brandon McMullen. This offense involves mostly runs by McMullen, with end arounds for Alex Kaino sprinkled in and the occasional pass by McMullen. Toledo kept their focus on denying running lanes to McMullen, but had the speed on defense to react to Kaino and keep him bottled up. McMullen went back to pass twice, once being sacked, and once throwing over the middle to Allen Chetwood, who couldn’t quite hang on.
On most drives, though, the Fishermen went with their conventional offense, quarterbacked by Ethan Personius. Their best scoring chance came at the end of the first half. Kaino set them up at the Toledo 34 with a 20-yard punt return. With 16 seconds in the half, Personius connected with Kaino 19 yards downfield along the sideline, where Kaino caught it just in bounds against strong coverage. Then, with the half winding down, Personius nearly connected with Tenyson Ramsey, but the defender knocked it away. The Indians went into halftime ahead 21-0.
Kaino opened the second half with an onside kick recovery, but the Fishermen went four-and-out. Keyton Wallace burst loose for a 39-yard run, and the Indians soon had first-and-goal at the ten and were going for the jugular. McMullen, playing linebacker, picked off a pass and took it back to Toledo’s 48-yard line. Gannon Madill countered on the next play with an interception of his own.
The next few series, the game turned into a field position battle. Toledo gradually won that battle. A punt pinned Ilwaco at its own one-yard line early in the fourth quarter. The Indians then chased Personius around his own end zone, forcing a fumble and recovering it for a touchdown to put the game out of reach at 27-0 with 8:39 to go.
Wallace’s second touchdown of the day capped the scoring with 5:45 remaining.
The Indians ran for 293 yards on 40 carries. For Ilwaco, McMullen had 82 yards on 27 carries. Personius completed 5 of 15 passes for 48 yards, with Kaino catching three passes for 31.
The combination of durability and productivity made Brandon McMullen the offensive MVP of the Coastal Division. During the regular season, McMullen ran for 1116 yards on 196 carries and caught 24 passes for 261 yards.
The Fishermen offense relied heavily on McMullen, who had three straight league games with over 30 carries and led or tied for the team lead in receptions in six games. McMullen averaged 184 yards rushing in Ilwaco’s three league wins, helping the Fishermen tie for second place with a 3-2 record. McMullen was also an All-League linebacker.
Alex Kaino was one of three first-team All Coastal receivers, and was also named as one of four first-team defensive backs. Royce Murry was first-team on both offensive and defensive lines, while Marcus Connor was a first-team offensive lineman.
Tight end Jeb Sheldon was named to the second team offense. Linebacker Allen Chetwood made second-team defense. Running back and safety Trenton Cox, who had a homecoming kickoff return for a touchdown against North Beach, was named Honorable Mention.
South Bend defensive back Ben Byington was named defensive MVP.
McMullen and Sheldon both made academic All-League.