* North Stafford 33, Osbourn Park 20
To North Stafford junior Nate Ilaoa, the phrase "ineligible receiver" usually means he or one of his pass-catching teammates is where he is not supposed to be.
In Ilaoa's case, however, it has been an (academically) ineligible receiver who has helped pave the way for him to grab an area-high 42 receptions this season. Yesterday afternoon in a 33-20 non-district win at Osbourn Park, he snared six balls for 135 yards, including a 98-yard touchdown, and also returned a kickoff 76 yards for a score.
"We have so many receivers, so when my number is called, I have to do what I have to do to make the play," said Ilaoa, a junior varsity running back last year after moving into the area from Kansas City.
Ilaoa was projected as a backup tailback and starting free safety until North Stafford Coach Chris Beatty spotted Ilaoa's receiving ability during a camp this summer and determined that he would dovetail quite nicely into the Wolverines' passing attack, particularly if certain returning players were not going to be eligible.
"He has great hands and he's got 'the shake' in the middle of the field where people have a hard time containing him," Beatty said. "And he's just naturally tough. I could pull out the tape and show you every game he's getting a knockout block."
The Wolverines (5-1), coming off a blowout loss at Commonwealth District leader Culpeper, delivered a lot of knockout punches yesterday, tainting the Yellow Jackets' homecoming from the start by scoring on the first play from scrimmage on a double pass.
Senior quarterback Chris Ashinhurst lined up wide right and took a quick throw from junior backup quarterback Dee Wolfe before firing downfield to wide-open senior Paris Edwards for a 65-yard score.
"We tried to run that the first game of the season, and I dropped the ball," Ashinhurst said with a laugh. "I don't think we'll be able to run it again, but it worked today."
North Stafford scored all of its points in the first half and did so in head-turning fashion. Ashinhurst, whose No. 16 jersey prompted Osbourn Park Coach Mike Feldman to greet him as "Joe Montana" after the game, completed 11 of 12 passes in the first half alone for 268 yards and three touchdowns. Ashinhurst finished 21 of 29 for 345 yards, with several of the incompletions coming on drops.
"He must have 19,000 on his SATs because that's one smart sucker back there," Feldman said. "He knows where to deal the ball."
Perhaps the most impressive play was the 98-yard touchdown pass. Ilaoa ran five yards and stopped, and after the cornerback bit on a pump fake, Ilaoa streaked down the left sideline, hauling in the pass around the Wolverines' 40-yard line and racing to the end zone.
Osbourn Park (1-5) had its chances early. The Yellow Jackets, down 7-0, took possession at the North Stafford 20-yard line following a fake punt but had to settle for a 37-yard field goal by junior Mike Kibble.
Later in the first quarter, down 14-3, Osbourn Park had first and goal from the two-yard line but was flagged for a false start. Three plays later, on third and goal from the one, another false start pushed them back, and the Yellow Jackets had to settle for another Kibble field goal.
Junior Lennie Robinson then recovered an onside kick at the North Stafford 43, and Osbourn Park methodically moved downfield to set up first and goal at the five-yard line before junior Addam Jordan fumbled.
"We didn't click; we clunked," Feldman said of his team's afternoon. "That fumble took us out of the game, and they blitzkrieged us."
The Wolverines drove the length of the field for a touchdown, held Osbourn Park on its next possession and then scored two touchdowns within 41 seconds: on the 98-yard pass and after recovering an onside kick.
Against the Wolverines' backup defense, Osbourn Park rallied for two fourth-quarter touchdowns with junior Andy Friend at quarterback in place of senior starter Frankie Hogan, who had pinched a nerve in his neck in the second half. The comeback startled North Stafford enough to reinsert its offensive starters.
By game's end, the Yellow Jackets' bench looked like an infirmary, with seniors Devin McElfish, John Glufing and Hogan and junior Billy Strickland all injured. Strickland had set up the final touchdown with an interception.
NS--Edwards 65 pass from Ashinhurst (Bosken kick)
OP--Kibble 37 FG
NS--Ilaoa 76 kickoff return (Bosken kick)
OP--Kibble 23 FG
NS--Woodbridge 3 run (Bosken kick)
NS--Ilaoa 98 pass from Ashinhurst (kick blocked)
NS--Edwards 29 pass from Ashinhurst (pass failed)
OP--Friend 1 run (Kibble kick)
OP--Jordan 15 pass from Friend (Kibble kick)
RUSHING--North Stafford: Woodbridge 17-98, Edwards 7-23, Ashinhurst 5-(-2), Seabolt 1-0; Osbourn Park: Jordan 21-84, Brown 8-35, Hogan 4-(-4), Padillia 9-50, Friend 5-20, Nance 1-4.
PASSING--North Stafford: Ashinhurst 21-29-0 345 yards, Wolfe 1-2-1, 9 yards; Osbourn Park: Hogan 0-3-0 0 yards, Friend 2-6-0, 40 yards.
RECEIVING--North Stafford: Edwards 3-102, Baldwin 6-69, Ilaoa 6-135, Bucher 2-28, Woodbridge 4-9, Palmer 1-9; Osbourn Park: Vanover 1-25, Jordan 1-15.