On Friday, Sept. 6, Hoquiam established itself early and often as a balanced offensive juggernaut behind the rushing of senior running back Artimus Johnson and senior quarterback Gregory Dick.
The Grizzlies amassed 429 yards of offense, led by Johnson’s 234 yards rushing and three total touchdowns, in a 35-7 win over Aberdeen in the 111th edition of the Aberdeen-Hoquiam Rivalry Game.
Dick threw for 169 yards and three touchdowns — one each to Johnson, Jack Adams and Anthony Nash — on a spotless Chamber of Commerce night at Stewart Field.
“Our kids believe in what we do; we talked to them about this game being a special moment and snapshot in time and people will remember this,” HHS head coach Rick Moore said. “We did a good job of containing their big players. Kylan Touch and Braden Castleberry-Taylor played well for Aberdeen. They’re great kids. Aberdeen played hard.”
Aberdeen’s game plan coming into this contest was to slow down Hoquiam and contain the Grizzlies’ offensive weapons on defense. However, Hoquiam’s offense established itself as the dominant force from the first drive on.
Johnson notched the first touchdown on the same drive, a 6-yard run when he simply ran behind his linemen and cut left untouched in the end zone for a 7-0 lead. Aberdeen couldn’t respond, getting some momentum on offense before punting the ball back to Hoquiam in the first half.
After hitting several short screen passes, Dick fired a 47-yard touchdown bomb to Adams for a 13-0 margin. Dick hit his second touchdown on the next drive, which had a deep interception by Joey Shumate erased by a defensive pass interference call. Johnson took a simple swing pass and ran 18 yards for the touchdown.
Dick finished the first-half scoring when he ran in the 2-point conversion at 21-0.
Aberdeen took over early in the fourth quarter with its first touchdown drive against Hoquiam since 2013. A 30-yard Ben Dublanko to Benton Butcher pass play started the drive to the Hoquiam 28-yard line. Runs by Touch and Dublanko, and a Dublanko pass to Castleberry-Taylor got the Bobcats to the 6-yard line.
On the Bobcats’ third fourth-down conversion play of the drive, Dublanko rolled away from pressure to his right and found Castleberry-Taylor in the back of the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown.
Hoquiam responded with a six-play, 66-yard drive that featured all Johnson runs, including a 4-yard plunge for a 28-7 lead with 6:13 remaining. The Grizzlies finished the game when Dick hit Nash for a 40-yard touchdown pass play.
“We made history tonight; it is such a special thing to be a part of, having the community out here supporting us,” Dick said. “Our (offensive) chemistry is getting better and better. We only have to keep going. This is special.”