Thursday’s 2B Football: Napavine Overwhelms Ilwaco to Reach Round of 16
Tiger Beat: Tanner Low Notches Four Touchdowns in 52-14 Crossover Victory
By Jordan Nailon
NAPAVINE — Ilwaco showed up to the City on the Hill on Thursday night and showed off a completely different look than they’d displayed at any point during their regular season run through the Pacific 2B League.
They trotted out a new quarterback.
They ran out of new formations.
They kicked onside kicks when nobody expected it.
And it all went for nought as the hometown Tigers downed the Fishermen 52-14 in their District 4 crossover football playoff game.
Despite the surprise offensive looks from the Fishermen the outcome was never really in doubt. To wit – Napavine needed just five plays and 1:49 to post their first score of the game when Tanner Low caught a screen pass from Dawson Stanley and then rumbled 37-yards for the inaugural score. By the end of the contest Low, a sophomore tailback, had tallied four total touchdowns to help put the boys from Buoy 10 on ice.
“They came out and ran the I-set in the whole first half and we’d never seen on any film so that was definitely different. Then they went back to their double wing set and they ran the option, which I thought they did a decent job of running,” noted Napavine coach Josh Fay of Ilwaco’s unexpected offensive look. “I was proud of our guys for adjusting.”
Indeed, the Napavine defense snuffed out nearly everything Ilwaco tried until the final play of the third quarter when the Fishermen finally reached positive yardage for the game.
Conversely, the Tigers were feasting on offense right out of the gate. After Brett Bradshaw ran in a 14-yard touchdown to push the Napavine lead to 14-0 with 6:41 remaining in the opening quarter Ben Woodrum quickly pulled down an interception around the 30-yard line and returned it inside the five. After a penalty and a rare busted play pushed Napavine backward a bit Woodrum was able to cap the short drive with a 12-yard touchdown reception slung by a scrambling Stanley. On the following possession Seth Butler punched in a three yard touchdown run after the Tigers offense again started with a short field.
The good times continued to roll for Napavine in the second quarter with Low rushing in touchdowns from nine and then three yards out. Then, Jared McCollum mercifully pushed the game into running clock territory with a 14-yard rush that made the score 46-0 with 3:20 remaining in the half.
“I thought we had an opportunity to push things out in the first half and we were able to execute on all but one drive,” said Fay.
Fresh out of the half Low topped off his breakout night with 41-yard touchdown jaunt that signaled the end of the evening’s work for the Napavine front line. Low finished the game with 67 yards rushing and three touchdowns on four carries, along with his one catch for 37 yards and a touchdown. After the game he touted the playoff atmosphere and noted that the 41-yard getaway score was the most fun, but in a move that belies his inexperience, he also made sure to pay homage to his trench men doing to the dirty work up front.
“Our O-line was really good. They were awesome,” said Low. “They’re getting better. They’ve really been improving.”
Low added a tip of the cap for one of his brethren from the linebacker/running back corp – Jared McCallum.
“He’s a monster at middle linebacker. He stops everything that comes his way. We trust him,” said Low.
Once Napavine had pulled their starters Ilwaco’s Ethan Kaech was able to escape for a 71-yard rushing touchdown to end the third quarter. Ethan Personius added a 1-yard rushing score for Ilwaco in the fourth quarter and Jeb Shelton was Ilwaco’s leading rusher with 52 yards on 12 carries. The Fishermen totaled just 106 yards for the game.
Napavine quarterback Dawson Stanley completed 7 of 15 passes on the night for 186 yards and two touchdowns. Laythan Demarest was the Tigers leading receiver with two catches for 55 yards. McCallum added two catches for 33 yards.
Interestingly, the Tigers totaled 187 yards on the ground, with McCollum adding 33 yards to that total. Those balanced offensive statistics left Fay feeling better about a unit that has at times this year been overly dependant upon Stanley to carry the water.
“That was (Low’s) best game in high school so it’s nice to see him hopefully get some confidence and going a little bit. We need that, somebody to take the pressure off of Dawson and those perimeter guys,” said Fay.
He explained that an epidemic of inexperience left the team looking like a one-trick pony at times early on in their schedule.
“Coach Wilson brought up today in our coaches meeting that outside of Dawson none of these guys played last year. We’re filling holes for everybody so ten games in I think guys are comfortable with their roles and comfortable with their routes,” said Fay. “It’s clicking a little bit. We’ve got a ways to go but it’s giving us a chance to balance out our offense.”
With the win Napavine advances to the state tournament round of 16. Their opponent and game time will be decided by the WIAA seeding committee on Sunday.
TIGERS 52, FISHERMEN 14
Ilwaco 0 0 7 7 — 14
Napavine 25 21 6 0 — 52
NAP — Dawson Stanley 37-yard pass to Tanner Low; Laythan Demarest kick
NAP — Brett Bradshaw 14-yard run; kick fail
NAP — Stanley 12-yard pass to Ben Woodrum; kick fail
NAP — Seth Butler 3-yard run; kick fail
NAP — Low 9-yard run; Demarest kick
NAP — Low 3-yard run; Demarest kick
NAP — Jared McCollum 14-yard run; Demarest kick
NAP — Low 41-yard run; kick fail
ILW — Parker Kaech 71-yard run; Ethan Personius kick
ILW — Personius 1-yard run; Personius kick
Team Stats ILW NAP
First Downs 5 9
Rushing Yards 106 187
Passing Yards 0 186
Total Yards 106 373
Comp-Att-Int 0-2-1 7-15-0
Fumbles/Lost 4/1 3/2
Penalties/Yards 3/15 3/25
Rushing: ILW — Jeb Shelton 12/52, Parker Kaech 12/76; NAP — Tanner Low 4/67, Jared McCollum 2/33
Passing: ILW — Kaech 0-2/0; NAP — Dawson Stanley 7-15/186
Receiving: ILW — N/A; NAP — McCollum 2/22, Low 1/37, Demarest 2/55