‘It’s Homecoming and we will be motivated, but so will our opponent.’
— Kevin McNulty, IHS football coach about Ocosta game Friday
By PATRICK WEBB
“Start as you mean to go on” is a good philosophy.
The Ilwaco Fishermen football team put it in to effect Friday with a 41-14 nonleague win.
Having watched films of St. Mary’s School’s prior games — three wins in four games — the players knew the Oregon visitors would be a handful despite a long drive from Medford.
So they won the coin flip, took the ball and never let go.
“We played aggressively right from the get-go,” said head coach Kevin McNulty. “We played different formations. On the first series, playing physical, we got an 8-yard gain on the first play, then we went into a different formation with no backs and threw a pass.”
Quarterback Jack Odneal connected with Riki Thompson who ran right down the center of the field for a touchdown that covered 67 yards.
“Then we came back on defense, stopped them and got the ball,” said McNulty. “We were able to gain big chunks of yardage and were 20-0 up at the end of the first quarter.”
Running back Alec Bell enjoyed two rushing touchdowns from close in and a third of 23 yards, three of 20 carries which gained 227 yards on the night. He also ran over to add two points after his second score.
The Crusaders hit back with a successful passing play.
“Then we had a big stand and we were able to stop them just before the half,” said McNulty, praising his defense for keeping the score at 27-7. “That was the pivotal moment. If they had scored, then they would have been able to get back into it.”
Last season, Ilwaco never posted back-to-back wins. That’s history. McNulty praised one of his assistant coaches and the entire Fishermen defense.
“Coach Bob Enos had a great game plan, defensively — which he normally does — and the kids were able to execute it. I am very proud of them,” he said.
After the break, it was time for Jack Kaino to take over. After a stellar game the prior week against Chief Leschi, Kaino equalled Bell’s yardage of 227 for the game, but on just 14 carries. His first touchdown was an 18-yard run, but his second was a spectacular 57 yards to seal the win.
“He can thank the offensive line,” said McNulty. “We have a 1-2 punch with Alec Bell and Jack Kaino. Alec does most of the stuff between tackles and Jack Kaino runs off tackle and outside — he gives the defense fits.
“I was still nervous going into the fourth quarter, but our backs had a huge night.”
Special teams, coached by Nick Pilon, drew applause from McNulty, who was pleased that the Fishermen only had to punt once — and that led to a fumble recovery. Kicker Jorge Galvan has a soccer background and is able to drop the ball over the heads of opponents to gain advantage, said the coach.
This week the team has been working on improving its passing game while enjoying the fun of Homecoming Week. Friday the Ilwaco Fishermen face the visiting Ocosta Wildcats at 7 p.m.
“It’s Homecoming and we will be motivated, but so will our opponent,” said McNulty. “Our challenge will be to try to keep the kids focused on the game, as well as all the activities associated with it. It’s a mental thing, but physically we are good enough to win the football game.”
Ilwaco 41, St. Mary’s 14
St. Mary’s 0 7 7 0—14
Ilwaco 20 7 8 6—41
Ilwaco—Riki Thompson 67 pass from Jack Odneal (run failed)
Ilwaco—Alec Bell 5 run (pass failed)
Ilwaco—Bell 4 run (Bell run)
St. M—Bryce Bramscher 32 pass from Thys Kuitert (Nick Van Valkenberg kick)
Ilwaco—Bell 23 run (Jorge Galvan kick)
St. M—Tanner Smith 10 run (Van Valkenberg kick)
Ilwaco—Jack Kaino 18 run (Bell pass from Odneal)
Ilwaco—Kaino 57 run (run failed)
Rushing, St. M, 35-197; Ilwaco, 37-461
Passing, St. M, 2-11-39-0; Ilwaco, 2-7-74-0
Total offense, St. M, 46-236; Ilwaco, 45-545
Rushing: Bell, 20-227; Kaino 14-227; Thompson-2-7; Odneal 1-0
Passing: Odneal, 3–8-84-0
Receiving: Thompson, 3-84.