Hoquiam digs deep into playbook to rout Castle Rock, 53-0

A non-league matchup allowed Hoquiam to dive into its playbook and work on a few things on the field. Castle Rock got plenty of work trying to defend it.

Running a balanced offense that showcased their passing game, the Grizzlies got plenty of scoring from all points on the field en route to a 53-0 rout of the Rockets on Homecoming at Olympic Stadium Friday night.

Fifth-ranked Hoquiam (5-0) broke out a few new formations on offense, including a jumbo running package that gave offensive linemen a chance to carry the ball and score touchdowns, and an aggressive special teams unit.

The hosts also allowed quarterback Evan Erickson to gain some confidence in the passing attack, throwing for 144 yards on 11-for-12 attempts and one touchdown.

“Our game plan was to go 50-50 run to pass and make sure we had the right protections,” HHS head coach Jason Ronquillo said. “(Castle Rock’s) defensive scheme was a little bit different, so we made some adjustments at halftime. It really worked. When you are striving for protection, you are always looking for adjustments.”

“We were just executing,” said Erickson, who added three point-after kicks to his tally as well. “It was nice to see (running back) Nolan Hoiness run with space and the line was holding everyone back. The receivers caught everything. Everyone played well. Usually we’re a run offense, so it is nice to spread the field and throw the ball around.”

Hoquiam scored on its first five possessions, three of them back-to-back-to-back thanks to special teams play.

Erickson capped a 63-yard, seven-play game-opening drive with a 15-yard touchdown run. Paul Girts ran in the 2-point conversion at 8-0 just over 2 minutes into the contest. Castle Rock went three-and-out and didn’t see the ball on offense until the final minute of the first quarter.

Senior Hoiness scored the first of his two touchdowns, a bruising 12-yard sprint from the inside, for a 14-0 lead. Erickson went 4-for-4 passing for 71 yards on the drive, hitting Cody Parker, Drew Bravos and Cole Smith for receptions. Castle Rock fumbled the ensuing kickoff, recovered by junior Brenner Carlstrom, and the Grizzlies broke out their jumbo package.

With three offensive linemen in a power backfield behind Erickson, Hoquiam scored quickly when lineman/middle linebacker Ronnie Espedal scored from 11 yards out for a 20-0 lead.

Hoquiam squib kicked the ensuing kickoff and Castle Rock couldn’t get the handle on the ball. Carlstrom, however, slid and recovered it at the Rocket 31-yard line. Five plays later, with lineman Dakota Boone running most of the 31-yard drive, Espedal scored his second touchdown, a 2-yard plunge at 27-0 with 2:34 left in the first quarter.

Girts made it 34-0 with a 50-yard touchdown sprint early in the second quarter, then Hoquiam stalled on its last two drives of the first half.

Castle Rock received the second-half opening kickoff and fumbled the ball away twice on the squib kick. Carlstrom made his third special teams play of the night, recovering the ball at the Rocket 21-yard line. Two plays later, Erickson hit a fade pass to Girts in the near-right corner of the end zone for a 41-0 lead.

The running clock ran for the rest of the contest. Hoiness’ final run of the night was a 75-yard pitch to the left that saw the senior stutter-step past two Castle Rock defenders en route for a touchdown.

Devin Kelly scored for the second-team offense midway through the fourth quarter on a 10-yard touchdown run to end the scoring.

On Friday, Hoquiam hits the road to take on league rival Elma.