PE ELL — Max Smith led Pe Ell-Willapa Valley to a 42-0 victory over Ilwaco Friday, Oct. 26. He ran for 158 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries and shut down the yardage-after-the-catch component of Ilwaco’s passing game from his linebacker position. Ilwaco was playing for a three-way tie atop the Pacific League, but instead Valley finished alone in first with an undefeated season. Ilwaco finished 4-2, third place, and will visit Napavine for a crossover game this Thursday at 7 p.m.
Max Smith had a 65-yard run on opening play. After Valley got the ball back near midfield on a fourth-and-one stuff of a Jeb Sheldon run, Smith broke into the open field for a 28-yard run. Four plays later, Wyatt Bush got open for an 11-yard touchdown catch, and Smith ran in the two-point conversion to make it 14-0 less than five minutes into the game.
Smith flew to the ball on defense, almost single-handedly stopping the Ilwaco passing game. Ethan Personius completed seven of 16 passes, but got only 33 yards out of them due to Smith’s Kam Chancellor-like ability to crush plays designed for big gains after the catch. Smith even chased down speedy receiver Alex Kaino. As Kaino broke a tackle after a catch, Smith made a straight-line sprint to bring him down before he could achieve full acceleration, though the play still went for 20 yards. Six other completions went for just 13 yards. Smith also forced an incompletion by hitting Personius as he threw.
Ilwaco got most of its passing yardage on a second-quarter trick play. Behind 24-0, the Fishermen reached deep into their playbook to try to get back in it. Parker Kaech took a fly sweep handoff to the outside, drawing in the defensive back, and passed to a wide-open Alex Kaino, who took it 45 yards before being pushed out of bounds by Valley’s safety at the 21. Ilwaco then sent Kaino on a fly sweep, but the Vikings chased him to the sideline for no gain. On the next play, a block in the back negated a big gain for Kaech on a screen pass, and Ilwaco shortly turned it over on downs.
Valley took advantage with an 82-yard scoring drive, which Carson Cox finished with 19-yard catch in the back of the end zone. Ilwaco had another scoring chance at the end of the half. Kaech took another fly sweep 18 yards before being pushed out of bounds at the 12 with a second left. The half ended on an incompletion into the end zone, leaving Valley on top 30-0.
With Ilwaco trailing 42-0 after a fourth, Dylan Simonson came around the edge and blocked the extra point.
Kaino finished with five catches for 65 yards and two carries for another seven. Ilwaco ran for only 74 yards on 24 carries, led by Trevor Hutson with 25 on six.