Pursuing an upset against the heavily-favored Napavine Tigers in their crossover playoff game Thursday, Nov. 1, the Ilwaco Fishermen went with an underdog game plan. Knowing they needed something out of the ordinary to happen in order to win, they scrapped their option attack in favor of runs out of the I-formation in an attempt to catch the Tigers unprepared. But Napavine shut them down, taking a 46-0 halftime lead in a 52-14 victory. Napavine advanced to State, while the loss sent Ilwaco to a tie-breaker two days later.
“We went with an I-formation, and tried to pound the ball down their throats,” Ilwaco coach Sean Cease said. “It was a time to take a risk. Going against a probably a top three team in the state, you don’t just do the same thing you’ve been doing.”
Cease started Parker Kaech at quarterback, considering him better suited to the I-formation offense than regular starter Ethan Personius.
“I’ve been wanting to get him in there to get him some experience,” Cease said. “Parker played well, although the score did not indicate it.”
Napavine scored five touchdowns in the first fourteen minutes to lead 32-0 by the 10:06 mark in the second quarter.
Ilwaco gained no net yardage in the first half, but moved the ball in the second half with the running clock on. Kaech’s 69-yard touchdown run on the final play of the third quarter made it 52-7. Personius played a series and scored on a one-yard fourth quarter run to make the final score 52-14. Jeb Sheldon finished with 58 yards on 15 carries. For Napavine, Tanner Low scored three touchdowns.