2B Football: Demarest’s Four First-Half TDs Lead Tigers Past Toledo
NO LETDOWN: Napavine Maintains Big First Half Lead in 41-7 Win
By Aaron VanTuyl
For The Chronicle
NAPAVINE — For the second week in a row, Napavine hosted a top-five team. For the second week in a row, the Tigers blew out to a big lead.
This time, however, there was no letting the opposition back into the game in the second half.
Top-ranked Napavine built a 27-7 lead behind four first-half touchdowns from Laythan Demarest and closed the door in the third quarter, drubbing No. 5 Toledo 41-7 in non-league 2B football action here Friday.
Demarest, a junior quarterback, ran six times for 132 yards in the first half and scored on four of his first five carries.
“I thought we played well in the second half,” Tiger coach Josh Fay said. “It’s easy to look at 27-7 at the half, but I thought we played better in the second half. Defensively we were a little better on our assignments, and we played a little more inspired.”
The win came a week after Napavine held a three-touchdown lead over defending state champion Kalama in what turned out to be a 33-27 win.
This time, however, there was no second-half momentum shift.
Demarest tossed a bullet to receiver Ashtin Landry to put the Tigers up 34-7 early in the third quarter, and the defense didn’t surrender much real estate after the Indians’ first drive.
“Inside, the six guys we rotated in there did a really good job,” Fay said. “And Fernando Gaona, against, (had) just a really solid effort for us there.”
Toledo finished with 162 yards on the ground, though over half of those came from reserve players after the outcome had been determined. Wyatt Nef, who broke free on a 48-yard run in the fourth quarter, led Toledo with 53 rushing yards on three carries.
Davin Kinsman ran 14 times for 40 yards, and scored on a 3-yard run midway through the first quarter that put the Indians up 7-6.
Demarest, though, answered with his second touchdown three minutes later on a 4-yard run. After opening the game with a 34-yard scoring run, he added 49- and 14-yard rushing scores in the second quarter.
The quarterback finished 6 of 14 passing for 86 yards, and ran for 129 yards on seven carries with one second-half misstep on a patch of wet grass resulting in a loss of yards.
“We’re doing some good things up front. Laythan still threw the ball — he was okay tonight — but we’ve got to do a better job on our routes,” Fay said. “We ran some verts out there, and I just didn’t think they were good routes. They’ve got to help him out if we want to take the lid off.”
Tanner Low added 13 carries for 77 yards for Napavine, with a 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. The Tigers finished with 325 yards on the ground, and had five different players with rushing attempts in the first quarter.
“We thought they were the No. 1 team in the state, and they played like it,” Toledo coach Mike Christensen said. “They’re fast, they’re big, they’re strong — nothing that they did surprised us. Nothing about them, physically, or their speed, surprised us. We saw it all on tape; we just had trouble matching it.”
Christensen added that Duke Schaplow played well at quarterback, and Kinsman ran the ball well. Larry Demery and Michael Echtle were standouts on both sides of the line, he added.
Toledo started last season 1-3, but finished second in the SWW 2B League’s River Division and wound up in the state semifinals.
“I always hate losing, but early season losses are better than late-season losses,” Christensen said. “If we learn from it, we can still accomplish everything we want to accomplish, and if we don’t learn from it, it doesn’t matter, anyway.”
Notes: Landry finished with three catches for a game-high 48 yards. Jacob Marley had three catches for 44 yards for Toledo. … Toledo (2-1) plays at Adna (2-1) on Friday in another non-league tilt. Napavine (3-0) plays at Cathlamet on Friday against Wahkiakum (0-3) in a non-league contest. … Friday’s game included homecoming ceremonies at halftime. Alex Gaona, who had two carries for 24 yards, was named homecoming king, and Sydney Burdick was named homecoming queen.