Meridian senior Nick Dritsas won’t mind sharing a remarkable statistic with a truly noteworthy number achieved by coach Bob Ames.
Dritsas rushed for 220 yards and scored five touchdowns, giving him some sort of record with 10 in two games this season against Lynden Christian, as the Trojans presented Ames with his 300th victory since he began coaching at Meridian in 1974. He is the second high school football coach in the state to reach the milestone, joining Tumwater legend Side Otton.
Indeed, it was a homecoming night for big numbers as the Trojans prevailed 41-18 on Friday, Oct. 16, keeping alive their hopes of at least tying Mount Baker for the Northwest Conference’s Class 1A championship.
“I didn’t think I would get to 10 wins,” Ames quipped — with just about the youngest looking grin a 70-year-old coach could flash — in the wake of his 300th, of which his players said they were well aware before the game. “I think we went 3-7 in my first year, then winless the second year. We didn’t get to 10 (career wins) until the third season.”
Ames was most enthused that his Trojans (4-3, 3-1) performed like a state playoff-caliber team against the Lyncs (4-3, 1-3), who were anything but a pushover.
“This was actually a very good game,” Ames said, referring to how LC held the Trojans scoreless until midway through the second quarter.
LC then cut Meridian’s lead to 21-6 with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Lucas Roetcisoender to Nate Hielkema with two minutes left in the third quarter.
“This was just a real good program win, a good community win,” Ames saod, pleased the feat could be achieved before a packed homecoming crowd.
In the fourth quarter, Meridian quarterback Simon Burkett made a breath-taking 28-yard run after a nifty fake, setting up a 3-yard score by Dritsas.
Roetcisoender responded with a 16-yard scoring scamper, slicing Meridian’s lead to 28-12. But Dritsas immediately answered with his second 55-yard touchdown run of the night, and Marcus McGuinn scored on a 58-yard interception return, clinching the historic win at 41-12 with 7:30 remaining.
“This all feels so great,” Burkett said. “We all knew coach Ames could get his 300th tonight.”
McGuinn, a senior, said he felt honored to be part of it all.
“It’s great to be a part of something he’s built,” McGuinn said of his coach, who is in his 42nd season.
Roetcisoender finished his night with a 37-yard touchdown pass to cousin Zach Roetcisoender, but the senior leader found the Trojans’ consistent pressure tough. He was limited to 6 for 21 passing and was also intercepted by senior Dakota Jones, who was Meridian’s homecoming king.
Jones’ interception came on the first play after Dritsas scored on a 24-yard run, snapping a scoreless tie midway through the second quarter. Jones’ big play set up 13- and 12-yard runs by Tony Schleimer, making possible Dritsas’ 6-yard score for a 14-0 lead 2:27 before halftime.
Before Schleimer’s second key run, Meridian punter Daniel Young threw a 27-yard pass to Jones on a fake, giving the Trojans’ first down on the LC 18.
“My first varsity pass,” Young said. “No, I wasn’t shocked, because we’ve been planning that play. But we didn’t know when we were going to use it.”
Schleimer finished with 53 yards on 8 carries and Burkett had 45 on 8 tries, nicely complementing Dritsas’ 21 carries for 220 yards.
Mer -- Nick Dritsas 24 run (Alan Eyoub kick)
Mer -- Dritsas 6 run (Eyoub kick)
Mer -- Dritsas 55 run (Eyoub kick)
LC -- Nate Hielkema 8 pass from Lucas Roetcisoender (kick blocked)
Mer -- Dritsas 3 run (Eyoub kick)
LC -- L. Roetcisoender 16 run (pass failed)
Mer -- Dritsas 55 run (kick failed)
Mer -- Marcus McGuinn 58 interception return (Eyoub kick)
LC -- Zach Roetcisoender 37 pass from Lucas Roetcisoender (run failed)
RUSHING — LC: Lucas Roetcisoender 3-10, David Bladies 7-12, Nathan Wynstra 3-27, Tyson Cline 1-3 Zach Roetcisoender 1-1, Hunter Te Velde 4-7, Gavin Mumford 10-3, Jake Poag 1-17. Meridian: Nick Dritsas 21-220, Tony Schleimer 8-53, Simon Burkett 8-45, Dakota Jones 2-6, Marcus McGuinn 2-45.
PASSING — LC: Lucas Roetcisoender 6-21-2-181. Meridian: Simon Burkett 3-7-0-21, Daniel Young 1-1-0-27.
RECEIVING — LC: Nate Hielkema 3-89, Zach Roetcisoender 2-83, Tyson Cline 1-9. Meridian: Dakota Jones 1-27, Tony Schleimer 1-10, Marcus McGuinn 1-6, Nick Dritsas 1-5.