The statistical comparison between of two teams declared Friday night’s football game between Rock Island and United Township at Almquist Field would be a mismatch.
It was all of that, just not a way expected.
Rock Island’s leading rusher, Davion Wilson, came in with 1,200 rushing yards. By all indications, it would be a big night for the Rocky junior.
It wasn’t. Wilson did not play a down, healthily standing on the sideline throughout. Wilson has four 200-yard rushing game in eight games, and he just missed having a fifth by 6 yards in the season opener.
Instead, it was senior Wonmen Vah taking advantage. Vah, a 5-foot-4, 135-pound speedster, scored four touchdowns and rushed for 158 yards in the first half alone.
That paved the way to a 42-0 win for the Rocks, who needed it to keep alive its postseason hopes. The Rocks, who finish with the Western Big 6 with a 3-2 record, move to 4-4 on the season. The final regular-season game, and the needed fifth win for a berth, comes next Friday at Peoria Richwoods.
UT finishes the Western big Six at 0-5, and take a 1-7 record to next Friday’s finale, at winless Rich South.
Vah came into the game with 20 carries for 121 rushing yards. He passed that total on his eight of 11 first-half carries. He got a good chuck on that on the first play of the game. Taking a handoff and running up the middle, he went untouched for 57 yards. The run took eight seconds off the clock.
That was Vah’s first touchdown of the season. But, he was just getting started. He kicked into overdrive from there. He scored another, on a short 2-yarder, before the end of the quarter, then added sprints of 36 and 22 yards to get the game to an over-40-point spread for a second-half mercy clock.
The only RI touchdowns in the first half not scored by Vah came on a 20-yard pass from Ian Purvis to Aaron Voss in the first quarter, and then Purvis going in for a 9-yard keeper in the second quarter. Purvis finished with 89 yards rushing on five carries, all in the first half.
It was a first half that didn’t end until close to 9:30 — the start of the game pushed back by a long sophomore game and then Senior Night festivities for the Rocks, with 25 senior football players introduced as well as senior cheerleaders and band members — but the second half was over in a snap.
Also causing the lengthy pair of quarters were 14 penalties, seven called on each side, for 125 yards in walkoffs. The Rocks ended up with 13 penalties for 144 yards, UT with eight for 55.
In the first half, though, the Rocks piled up 299 rushing yards on 24 carries, with Purvis adding 6-of-8 passes for 53 yards.
UT got much of its first-half yardage in the air. Caleb Stone completed four passes for 38 yards. The Rocks, though, smothered any UT ground game, the Panthers managing just nine first-half yards on the ground. Stone finished with 50 yards in the air, and the Panthers with 35 on the ground.