WASHINGTON — Josh Schellenberg called his start to this season really slow. And while the Washington running back has been better recently, he hasn’t had a long run.
That changed Friday with a 67-yard run against East Peoria. Schellenberg and Caleb Fisher each produced two first-half touchdowns as Washington took early control of a 49–0 home Mid-Illini Conference victory.
“I hadn’t broken one all year,” Schellenberg said.
While he went far on Washington’s second possession, he didn’t go the distance, caught on the sideline at the 4.
“I was trying to decide if I should cut back or keep going,” Schellenberg said. “I decided to keep going straight and was trying to move the ball to my other hand to reach for the goal line and they caught me. It was really frustrating. Everyone was happy, but then they said, ‘Schell, you got caught.’”
Schellenberg finished the drive on the next play for a 14-0 lead.
“I hadn’t run that far in a game in a long time,” said Schellenberg, who had 122 rushing yards in the first half. “I was dizzy and trying to get my focus and they handed me the ball. I was glad they gave me the chance to score.”
The Washington defense put a clamp on the Raiders running game. None of the eight EP running plays in the first half gained more than 1 yard. EP had negative-31 rushing yards in the first half and negative-29 for the game.
And the Washington reserves kept the strong defense going.
“That’s been a goal of ours all season to hold a team to negative rushing yards,” Schellenberg said. “At halftime, we told the (reserves), we’ve got the same expectations for you guys when you’re in there.”
The longest East Peoria running play of the game was a 2-yard quarterback scramble. Washington also had four interceptions, two of them by Conner Holderness.
Fisher not only threw a pair of TD passes in the first half, but also converted a fourth down-and-18 completion one play before a Schellenberg 5-yard TD run.
East Peoria has lost five games in a row and has given up at least 44 points in four of those games and 220 overall in that span.
“We talked to them about teams coming in here in the (distant) past against 8-0 teams and beating them,” Washington coach Darrell Crouch said. “They understood what we were saying, and I thought we had a real good week of practice.”
East Peoria drove to the Washington 9 on its first possession before turning over the ball on downs. The Raiders called 11 pass plays on the 12-play drive.
“We were working on our passing game and did some good things,” East Peoria coach Erik Black said. “I thought our kids kept playing hard, and I was happy about that. We just have to try to keep getting better each week.”
David Allen can be reached at 686-3214 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpudPJS.