PE ELL — The Ilwaco Fishermen opened the 2021 fall football season with a 40-6 loss Friday night against 2B Pacific League power Pe Ell-Willapa Valley.

Ilwaco (0-1) entered the contest with just 22 players on a roster, including only two seniors among 17 sophomores and freshmen. The youth and inexperience of Ilwaco was immediately tested by Pe Ell (1-0), a playoff-caliber team featuring 11 senior and junior players.

On the opening kickoff, Ilwaco lost sophomore RB/LB Kaemon Sawa to a serious leg injury. The ominous start snowballed for the Fishermen, who were forced to plug the holes with many underclassmen, some making their first varsity start.

Meanwhile, the Titans capped their opening drive with a touchdown to take a 6-0 lead at the 9:52 mark in the first quarter.

The Fishermen fumbled their first possession back to the Titans, who immediately cashed in the turnover with a deep touchdown toss to senior running back Joseph Krafczyk, making the score 13-0 at 9:31 in the opening quarter.

Meanwhile, injuries continued to pile up for the inexperienced Fishermen, including quarterback Ryan Morris and stalwart tackle Sam Needham.

Ilwaco sophomore Kyle Morris showed flashes in relief at quarterback, including scrambling for back-to-back big gains to bring the Fishermen into Titan territory for the first time late in the first half. Ilwaco senior Gabriel McCargish capped the drive with a touchdown run, bringing the score to 40-6, which would be the final score.

Ilwaco (0-1) will host their first home game of the season against Toutle Lake (0-1) Friday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is this week’s featured game. During the school year we are rotating prep sports coverage between the teams of the two high schools we cover, concentrating on photographs of the student athletes rather than old-fashioned, blow-by-blow coverage.

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