SEDRO-WOOLLEY — Run first, and also, run second.
That was the gameplan the Toledo Indians took into the first round of the Class 2B State Tournament. And they executed well, rushing for 290 of their 296 total yards, as the Indians rolled past Concrete 28-0 on Saturday afternoon at Sedro-Woolley High School.
Led by a dominant defensive performance and a pair of touchdowns from junior running back Ethan Buck, the Indians advanced to their fourth state quarterfinal appearance in the past seven years.
Buck rushed for 112 total yards on nine carries, with scores coming on runs of 50 and 25 yards. Senior Keyton Wallace added 110 yards on 18 carries, and junior Coleby Cherrington contributed 68 yards on 11 carries.
It wasn’t always pretty though, as the Indians fumbled the ball four times in the game. Toledo head coach Mike Christensen said the amount of fumbles didn’t change the team’s mindset.
“We’ve been fumbling a lot all year, so they’re used to it,” Christensen said. “We spend way more time than a high school football team should at practice working on not fumbling the ball. Most of the time you have four fumbles, you don’t win a game.”
Buck said it was important for the offense to have a short memory about the turnovers.
“It’s so important to forget about the last play,” Buck said. “You can’t let that fumble drag you down or else you won’t win games.”
Toledo led 6-0 at the end of the first half, and stressed the importance of coming out quick in the second half.
“That was our whole plan: To keep up the heat in the second half,” Buck said. “To keep up the pressure on the quarterback and running backs.”
Defensively it worked to perfection, as the Lions, who averaged 36.2 points per game going into the contest, were held scoreless. The Indians allowed just 74 yards from the Concrete offense, keeping senior quarterback Riley Fichter and junior running back Marshall Fichter in check.
Offensively, it was all about sticking to the gameplan for the Indians.
“We knew we were there if we could just hold on to the ball and maintain our drives,” Christensen said. “We finally knocked on the door enough to where we kind of broke free.”
After its fourth lost fumble of the game, Toledo sent its defense back onto the field early in the fourth quarter. Junior Fano Arceo-Hansen intercepted Riley Fichter and returned it for the pick-six shortly after, increasing the Indians lead to 21-0.
Buck’s 25-yard touchdown run toward the end of the fourth quarter put the game away, and Concrete turned it over on downs its following drive with Toledo leading 28-0.
Thee Indians (7-4) will play Napavine (10-1) next Friday or Saturday, likely at Tiger Stadium in Centralia.