Facing a gunslinger in Puyallup High quarterback Brendan Illies, Curtis QB Scott Wismer knew he was going to have to be at his best to win any kind of shootout Friday night.
As expected, Illies was at his.
But Wismer and his Viking teammates were ready to answer the call. The senior tossed three touchdown passes in the second half, and the Curtis defense picked off Illies three times as the host Curtis Vikings defeated the visiting Puyallup Vikings, 38-35, at Viking Stadium in University Place.
“I kind of look up to him, even though he’s younger than me,” Wismer said of Illies, whom he said met last year for a story for The News Tribune on solid quarterbacks who are also solid pitchers for their baseball teams, and said he has kept in touch with Illies since. “It’s awesome playing against him.”
Down 21-10 at the half after Illies torched the Curtis secondary for three touchdowns, the host Vikings came out hot in the third quarter. Wismer found a wide-open receiver Jayson Williams sprinting down the middle on a play action pass for an 82-yard touchdown on Curtis’ opening possession.
“We knew the safeties were flying up on (the) toss (play),” Wismer said. “So we just faked the toss and ran Jayson right past them. It was a great play.”
After Odessa Mendoza picked off Illies at the line on Puyallup’s ensuing possession, Curtis (3-1, 3-1 SPSL South) got the ball back and scored when Wismer took it in from 11 yards out, capping a 14-point rally and put the host Vikings in front, 24-21.
But Illies and Puyallup regrouped, getting a 31-yard touchdown reception from DJ Winter to take back the lead. But Wismer roared back, finding Carter McKay on a 53-yard strike midway through the third quarter. The duo hooked up again with 6 minutes, 50 seconds to play — this time from 17 yards out — to push the score to 38-28.
Puyallup (3-1, 2-1) got a late score with less than a minute to go, but Curtis’ Dawson Beard recovered the onside kick to ice the game.
“(In the) first half they did some things scouting-wise that took away some of the things we’ve been doing,” Curtis coach Clay Angle said. “We had to identify what they were doing and make the adjustments. We came back with some play action pass that had them running up on the run. We scored early and got some momentum and then it was back and forth.”
Wismer finished 15 of 23 for 306 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 74 yards.
“Scotty is a competitor — and he’s not a pure passer like Brendan, (but) he’ll fight you every tooth and nail,” Angle said.
Illies finished 21 of 37 for 403 yards and five touchdowns. Levi Jordan caught 11 passes for 202 yards and three TDs for Puyallup.
“We knew we had to change our secondary,” Wismer said. “We made some changes and locked them down in the second half.”
Wismer completed passes to seven different receivers, and McKay caught six balls for 108 yards.