Quarterback Ethan Personius ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns, leading Ilwaco to a 20-7 road win over Ocosta Friday, Oct. 5. Ilwaco improved to 4-0 in league play and knocked Ocosta (2-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten. Willapa Valley and Ilwaco are now the only undefeated teams in Pacific League play.
“The rain and their defense really shut down our passing game, but we did a lot with the run,” coach Sean Cease said.
Personius put Ilwaco ahead with a 50-yard touchdown run less than four minutes into the game, but the game turned into trench warfare after that point. Both teams averaged around five yards per play, relying on long, methodical drives. “They had more turnovers than we did,” Cease said. “With the rain it was kind of a sloppy gain.
Ilwaco made a defensive stand near the end of the first half, stopping Ocosta after the Wildcats had first-and-goal from the one. Alex Kaino came on a corner blitz for a sack on fourth down.
“That stand was a big momentum turn,” Cease said. “Our kids were really excited after that.”
Ocosta fumbled early in the second quarter and did not get the ball again until near the end of the quarter. Ilwaco used some counter runs to march downfield.
“They were focused a lot on Jeb (Sheldon) after his (five-touchdown) game last week. They were overplaying to his side,” Cease said. “So we started sending him in motion and ran the opposite direction of his motion.”
Personius punched it in from three yards out with 4:53 in the quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, Ocosta bobbled the squib kick. Ilwaco recovered and went on another scoring drive, capped by Jackson Wilkin’s two-yard touchdown run with 1:34 in the quarter.
“When you score and you eat up clock doing so, it gives (the opponent) a defeatist attitude,” Cease said. “They didn’t have the ball almost the whole third quarter.”
Ilwaco ate up more clock with a fourth-quarter drive that included a 40-yard catch by Parker Kaech. The Fishermen got deep into Ocosta territory before the Wildcats came up with an interception. Kobe Beck put Ocosta on the board with a five-yard run with 1:42 remaining in the game.
Sheldon finished with 77 yards on 11 carries to complement Personius’s 115 yards on the ground.