Hoquiam took home the Myrtle Street Rivalry trophy for the sixth year in a row with a dominant 56-3 win over Aberdeen at Olympic Stadium in Hoquiam on Friday night.
Aberdeen showed some promise in the beginning of the 114th edition of the rivalry matchup when the run game made slow and steady progress down the field on its first possession of the game. The Bobcats’ opening drive lasted a little over seven minutes and concluded in a successful field goal from Giovanni Pisani that gave Aberdeen its only lead of the night.
Hoquiam didn’t take much time grabbing the momentum. Ben Estes erased the three-point deficit by breaking off a 65-yard run to put the Grizzlies up 7-3 with four minutes left in the first quarter.
Hoquiam quarterback Dane McMillan said the long touchdown run instantly elevated the mood on the sidelines.
“When they drove down the field, we were kind of down a little bit,” he said. “That first play really sparked us. After that we got a lot of energy and we were good. Ben (Estes) had a nice run and it was awesome.” Bobcats head coach Todd Bridge was encouraged by the opening drive and disappointed that his team lost the momentum so quickly.
“Our opening drive is the kind of stuff we need to do. We have to hold on to the ball for seven-and-a-half minutes and keep their offense off the field,” he said. “Unfortunately, defensively we were splitting the sea. We made a bad call, they went to the house, and it was all downhill after that.”
Hoquiam scored again on its next possession on a drive set up by a long run from Estes. Dane McMillan punched it in from the goal line with 36 seconds left on the clock in the first quarter to give the Grizzlies a 14-3 lead.
The Grizzlies didn’t slow up in the second quarter, adding 28 points to their total with two touchdowns from Cameron Bumstead and touchdown runs from Matt Brown and Malaki Eaton.
The Bobcats had trouble sustaining drives in the second quarter until the final minutes before halftime. Aberdeen’s offense once again showed some signs of life with less than a minute to go in the second quarter, but had their scoring chances thwarted with an interception from Abraham Morales in the end zone on Elijah Brown’s pass.
Hoquiam head coach Jeremy McMillan said Aberdeen’s Wing-T offense can have some limitations when playing from behind.
“(Aberdeen) is going to have a tough time in their league if they run that offense,” he said. “It’s great if you’re ahead and you can stay in control. But once you’re behind it’s going to be tough to come back.”
Hoquiam went into the halftime break with a commanding 42-14 lead and elected to keep the majority of their starters in for most of the second half.
Aberdeen stopped the bleeding somewhat against first-string players and only allowed 14 more points the rest of the game.
“We only gave up one touchdown in the third quarter. Even though score is lopsided, the kids came out of the locker room fired up still,” Bridge said. “They showed some heart, they showed some guts, they showed some fortitude on their part.”
Aberdeen will head to Elma in search of its first win of the season with a 7 p.m. kickoff at Stewart Field on Friday.
Hoquiam will travel to Vancouver to face La Center at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Coach McMillan said he’s looking forward to a tough test when his team heads to Vancouver.
“It should be a great matchup. We’re both in the top 10 for the 1A and (La Center head coach ) John (Lambert) does a tremendous job with his kids down there, so we’re looking forward to that road trip next week.”