With a playoff berth on the line, the Puyallup Vikings football team relied on the arm of quarterback Brendan Illies and the legs of running back Trevor Whitney to get them to the promised land.
Illies had a season-high seven touchdown passes and Whitney rushed for 272 yards on 40 carries in Puyallup’s convincing 59-35 victory against Rogers on Friday night at Sparks Stadium.
The Vikings clinched the No. 4 seed out of the SPSL South with the win and Rogers was eliminated from playoff contention.
Puyallup coach, Gary Jeffers, said the offense played well in all phases.
“People don’t realize it, but prior to this game we were within eight snaps of being 50/50 with our pass/run ratio this year. It’s been a goal of ours to be balanced. When you got Trevor Whitney running the ball like he did tonight, it is great for your team. I think he got around 250 total yards. He just blasted it out on the ground.”
Whitney, who was carried off the field on the shoulders of his teammates following the game, missed five games this year due to a high ankle sprain.
“This was just my second game back. I wouldn’t be able to do what I did without my linemen. They did so well tonight,” Whitney said.
Illies said his team was prepared for Rogers (4-5) and knew what was at stake.
“We came out with intensity tonight. Our captains gave a great pre-game speech and that really fired us all up,” Illies said. “We wanted to prove to everybody that we’re the real deal. These guys on my team are my brothers. It’s amazing going through this experience with them. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Puyallup (6-3) will face Bothell (7-2) the No. 2 seed out of the KingCo 4A Conference in a winner-to-state, loser-out playoff game this Friday or Saturday night.
Jeffers said his team hasn’t won a playoff game in the the past four years.
“We want to win our first one,” he said.