Caleb Fisher was the king of Homecoming night Friday at Babcook Field.
The Washington quarterback and defensive back ran for four touchdowns, passed for two TDs and had an interception — all in the first half — as the No. 1-ranked and undefeated Panthers pummeled visiting Pekin 49-7 in a Mid-Illini Conference football game.
Fisher deflected attention from himself after his offensive accomplishments were pointed out to him.
“It was all about the offensive line, the running backs and receivers,” he said.
Fisher played only the first half Friday. Like the rest of Washington’s starters, he sat out the second half, which was played with a running clock after the Panthers took a 49-0 halftime lead.
Sitting for two quarters meant Fisher’s statistics aren’t that gaudy.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound senior ran for 89 yards on eight carries. He was 3-of-5 passing for 92 yards.
Sam Walter, who scored Washington’s other touchdown, had 88 yards rushing on 12 attempts.
The Panthers (6-0, 4-0, No. 1 in Class 5A) impressed Pekin coach Doug Nutter, whose Dragons (2-4, 1-3) lost for the fourth time in five games.
“That’s a good team. They played hard and they executed well,” Nutter said. “They’ve been doing this to a lot of teams this year.”
Washington coach Darrell Crouch saw some things he didn’t like from his front seven on defense the previous week in a 55-27 win over conference foe Morton.
So the issues were addressed in practice this week on the field and in lengthy film studies.
“We did a better job (Friday),” Crouch said.
“We cleaned things up defensively,” he said.
Fisher had one of Washington’s three interceptions off Pekin quarterback Nathan Righi, all in the first half. The other picks were by Brady Klein and Max Mauschbaugh.
Righi was 11-of-29 passing for 93 yards and he ran for a 2-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Conner Rush had three catches for 46 yards for the Dragons and Sebastian Hill had three catches for 22 yards. Brayden Cruz rushed for 30 yards on 11 carries.
An interception by Klein on Pekin’s third play set up the game’s opening score on a 10-yard run by Fisher.
It took one play on Washington’s next possession to make it 14-0. Fisher threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Rylan McQueary.
Two more touchdown runs by Fisher made it 28-0 by the end of the first quarter. The TDs came from 13 and 22 yards out.
The Panthers’ longest drive of the night — 92 yards on 10 plays — ended with an 11-yard scoring run by Walter with 6:41 left in the first half.
Two touchdowns within 1:22 completed Washington’s scoring.
Fisher rolled to his right and found a wide-open Cole Ludolph on a 50-yard touchdown pass and Fisher ran three yards for a score on the third play after his interception.
“Cole ran a great route and did a good job getting open on that touchdown pass,” Fisher said about Ludolph, his cousin.
Joe Basso was 7-for-7 on PATs for Washington.
While the Panthers look forward to the postseason, Pekin faces a daunting task to become playoff-eligible. The Dragons must win their final three regular-season games, beginning next week at home against undefeated and state-ranked Metamora.
“There’s not much I can say about (the Washington game),” Nutter said. “We need to get ready for Metamora.”
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.