Toledo’s defensive line caused mayhem, and Wahkiakum had no answer.
The Indians beat the Mules 24-6 in Cathlamet on Friday, the Southwest 2B River win giving Toledo an inside edge to the league No. 2 seed.
Duke Schaplow, Carlo Arceo-Hansen and Davin Kinsman each grabbing an interception for Toledo while the Indians defensive line congested running lanes and camped out in the Mules’ backfield.
“Wahkiakum is a good team, and I think we just came out and played Toledo football,” running back Coleby Cherrington said. “If we play Toledo football, then nobody can beat us. I think we saw spurts of it all season — (against) Adna, Napavine and Rainier. We had spurts where we moved the ball really well and we looked like us but we couldn’t play a full football game.”
That certainly wasn’t the case Friday, as Cherrington, Schaplow and Ethan Buck combined for 250 rushing yards while holding Wahkiakum to 169 yards on the ground.
The Indians look to have the three-headed monster they’ve been hoping to develop with Schaplow now excelling as a rusher, and the team has noticed.
“He’s been taking a leadership role too,” quarterback Bruce Marcil said. “Like in the huddle he’s trying to pick guys up. He’s stepping up. He really understands what he has to do to help us out.”
Schaplow carried six times for 87 yards, and led the team in yards-per-carry, while also making several tackles on defense.
Wahkiakum struggled to get the ball moving, especially in critical situations and it cost them. It didn’t help that running back James Anderson is reeling from an injury, or that tight end KC Beery left the game with another injury during the first half. Quick tackle Evan Quigley converted to tight end, and while he made a smooth transition, the Mules were thin up front.
“Hopefully we come out healthy,” Wahkiakum coach Eric Hansen said. “But with the turmoil we’ve been under the last two weeks, and last night’s middle school game and Week 2, it’s been a tough season for our kids. So I’m proud of the way we persevered.”
A Wahkiakum middle school student was taken to the hospital Thursday with an apparent head injury, though the exact diagnosis wasn’t clear Friday night. The Mules lost Beau Carlson to a life-threatening brain injury in Week 2, and others have gotten banged up as the season went on.
“It hurts not having one of your backs out there and obviously we didn’t make some plays that we had opportunities to make,” Hansen said. “I was proud of the boys because there’s a lot of young pups that are playing right now. A lot of sophomores stepped up.”
Quarterback Luke Brown rushed for 92 yards on 18 carries, while running back Quentin Nelson advanced 58 yards on five rushes.