METAMORA — Metamora wanted no part of a three-way split.
The Redbirds scored on each of their four first-half possessions Friday on the way to a 40-0 Mid-Illini Conference win over Washington at Malone Field.
Coupled with a 27-10 Pekin (5-3, 4-2) loss at East Peoria (6-2, 4-2), Metamora (6-2, 6-0) clinched the outright league championship.
This is the eighth time in the last nine years the Redbirds have earned an M-I title. They will be the conference's first-place representative in the Illinois High School Association postseason after their sixth consecutive victory.
Washington (6-2, 4-2), which already landed an automatic bid with six wins, is in a three-way tie for second place.
"I can't fault the way our kids approached the game," Metamora head coach Pat Ryan said. "We didn't make a lot of mistakes."
The Redbirds went nine plays in 69 yards on the game's opening drive, capped by an 8-yard touchdown run by quarterback Bryan Burk, to go ahead, 7-0.
The Panthers lost 2 yards on a three-and-out, and the Metamora offense returned to the field and took over at its own 40.
"For the first time, I really felt like we were playing on a short field," said Ryan.
Again using entirely running plays, the Redbirds traversed 60 yards on seven carries to make it 14-0 with 1:51 left in the first quarter. Chad Roth scampered 11 yards across the goal line.
"Different groups had breakdowns along the way," said Washington head coach Darrell Crouch.
Hayden Bodine hauled in an 8-yard reception from QB Luke Ludolph, but the Panthers were forced to punt.
In a series that stretched into the second period, Metamora's Dekota Doerr bolted 13 yards to the Washington 31.
Burk scrambled three straight plays, the last for 14 yards to the end zone, to make it 20-0. The point-after kick failed.
After a Washington run for negative yards and a pair of incompletions, the guests punted again.
Metamora fumbled, but recovered, denying the Panthers a chance to start a drive in Redbird territory.
Doerr's 52-yard sprint on the fourth offensive play got Metamora into the Washington red zone.
Four runs later, Burk scored for the third time to push the margin to 27-0 with 3:16 left in the first half.
The Panthers, the No. 7-ranked team in the Associated Press Class 5A state poll, found some running room for Brent Brown, but ran out of time before intermission.
Chris Friend started the third quarter with a 6-yard run, but Washington was stuffed on back-to-back plays.
Taking over at midfield after the Panthers punted, Burk extended the Redbirds' series with a 22-yard pickup on fourth-down-and-9.
On the next handoff, Doerr scooted 25 yards to pay dirt at the 7:04 mark to make it 33-0. The kick was blocked.
Page 2 of 2 - Ludolph had positive gains on four running plays for the Panthers, but was sacked for a 14-yard loss on third-and-8 by Sam Ryan.
Gage Patton of Metamora started and ended a nine-play, 50-yard scoring strike. He had four attempts for 32 yards, including the final 8 for a TD with 10:37 left in the fourth period.
Prestin VanMieghem's extra point initiated the running clock for the rest of the contest between the M-I's fiercest football rivals.
Casey Danley and Mason Chockley joined the large list of injured Washington players.
"I don't know that we've had this many injuries in eight years total," Crouch said of his Panther tenure.
Doerr, Burk and Patton all crossed the 90-yard mark rushing, with Doerr leading the way with 117 yards.
Metamora and Washington will look to enhance their opportunities for home playoff games. They will be heavy favorites on their home fields in week nine against Limestone and Canton, respectively.