FEDERAL WAY - The Fishermen scored a season-high 46 points and everyone on the roster contributed to a 46-13 non-league thrashing of Evergreen Lutheran in Federal Way Saturday to even Ilwaco's season record to 2-2.
A pair of the Fishermen's mighty-mite backfield, Zach DeSimone and Stephen Hilton each scored two touchdowns in the first half and Rey Sanchez continued his metamorphosis into a standout quarterback with 218 yards of total offense as Ilwaco racked up a 39-0 lead during the first three periods of play.
Penalties of 85 yards in the first half (97 for the game) led to at least two long touchdowns being negated on holding and illegal block calls. The season-high nine flags kept Ilwaco from gaining an even larger advantage when the game was still in the balance. "Sometimes officials in different areas interpret the rules differently. We had to adjust and correct our mistakes and this week we will need to clean up our execution so those penalties won't happen in the future," Coach Kevin McNulty commented after the lop-sided victory.
Three minutes into the contest Sanchez found DeSimone for a 93 yard touchdown pass and Ilwaco was off to the races. Hilton, who gained a whopping 134 yards on only 11 carries (over 12 yards per rush), then ran in a score from the six yard line less than two minutes later to essentially put the game away. Sanchez successfully ran for the point after to put Ilwaco up 14-0 after one period.
In the second quarter the Fishermen used their ground attack to score twice more, while eating up the clock. First DeSimone from two yards out and then Hilton from three yards from pay dirt scored TD's for the Fishermen. Both times the PAT kick failed, but Ilwaco hardly noticed as they went to the plush locker rooms in Federal Way up 26 to zip. McNulty said of the diminutive Hilton, "Stephen ran hard and just refused to go down. This was his best offensive game of the season."
Sanchez capped off a long drive in the third period with a nine-yard gallop and with time running out in the stanza Taylor Odneal scored his first varsity touchdown on a one-yard plunge as Ilwaco had already begun to call on a plethora of reserves. Skyler Olson nailed the kick to put the Fishermen ahead convincingly 39-0 going into the final 12 minutes.
"Adam Bundy and Hayden Blake blew open some huge holes and we executed our offense very well today," McNulty praised. "Our offensive line of Tyler Turpin, Tyler Johnson at center, and Ikaika Thomas coming off a knee injury was superlative. I am especially proud of Ikaika for going through all the rehab he has had to endure to be able to play and play well. Our 'O' line not only blocked well on the run, they gave our quarterback excellent protection." This was only the second week the Fishermen ran the spread offense that featured Sanchez in the shotgun formation and after scoring only 34 points in their first two games, the spread has produced 89 points in the last two contests.
"DeSimone, Travis Malmstadt and Bundy were our leading defenders and led our team in tackles while they were in there," McNulty said. Ilwaco amassed 513 yards of total offense to 190 for the Lutes, but almost half of the Eagles' yardage gained came in the final frame when second and third string Fishermen defenders were called upon to see varsity action against Evergreen's starting backfield.
Besides Hilton's 134 yards on the ground, Sanchez ran for 97 and passed for 121 more, and Justin Short gained 44 yards on a pair of reverses. Odneal and Olson each scored their first touchdowns of their careers as Odneal gained 37 yards and Olson racked up 55 on the ground for the Fishermen. DeSimone tacked on 101 yards on three pass receptions for good measure. Nick Hinojosa gained 10 yards on his initial varsity carry from scrimmage and Starks caught a pass for 13 yards.
Ilwaco played class 2B Evergreen Lutheran (92 students in the private school, while Ilwaco has 252 as of the WIAA's last count) because Rochester was allowed to transfer from the Trico to the Evergreen League to cut down on their travel and to play more traditional opponents. The Lutes were a last-minute draw to fill the opening on the Fishermen's non-league schedule. The Eagles play in the Sea-Tac League and are now 0-4 on the season including a pair of 55-0 losses to powerful Adna and Orcas Island.
Kalama is next up for Ilwaco as the Fishermen travel to the home of the Chinooks for the third consecutive time in the past four seasons. Kalama is 2-1 after dropping a 20-12 decision to Rainier, Ore. Friday.