MENLO – As per usual, Pe Ell-Willapa Valley employed its deep stable of playmakers here Friday afternoon on the way to a thorough 46-0 pummeling of Friday Harbor in the first round of the State 2B football playoffs.
That good old-fashioned woodshed whipping, which saw the Titans outgain their foes 423 to 101 in terms of total offense, earned the Coastal Division champions a road date with the No. 1 ranked Kalama Chinooks on Friday. That’ s a daunting matchup for any team, but PWV is unlikely to shy away from the challenge. For at least one day, though, the Titans faithful were happy to bask in the afterglow of a crowd-pleasing home playoff victory.
“We tried to stop their run game, and we did,” said PWV coach Josh Fluke, who noted that the Wolverines appeared to be a run heavy team on film, preferring a I-formation and single-wing sets. “We talked about that all week.”
The swarming Titan defense stymied Friday Harbor from the outset and forced the Wolverines to try their luck through the air. As it turned out, that gamble did not pay dividends for Friday Harbor, who had to take a ferry on Friday and then sleep over in Tumwater in order to reach Pacific County by game time.
The Wolverines wound up throwing the ball 13 times for 24 yards on three receptions, but just as many of those passes ended up in the clutches of the Titans. Max Smith came up with the first interception, thwarting a promising Friday Harbor drive in the second quarter and giving PWV a possession that the ultimately turned into eight points. Then, on the first series of the second half, Ryan Shepherd jumped a Wolverine pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown that gave PWV a 40-0 lead and allowed the clock mercifully wind down unimpeded. Cub Bair came down with the Titans’ final pick by pulling down an errant halfback pass during desperation time in the fourth quarter.
That shutout defensive effort was anchored by Smith, who had 12 tackles, including six solo tackles. Hezekiah Carter added nine tackles while Shepherd and Tyson Nissell added eight each.
Smith also led the PWV offense with 140 rushing yards and two touchdowns, the first of which went of 30 yards to break the seal on the scoring. On his second excursion Smith broke loose for a 46-yard touchdown run just before halftime that gave the Titans a commanding 34-0 lead.