The Montesano Bulldogs used a bruising running game and a blanketing defense to defeat the Hoquiam Grizzlies 35-0 on Friday at Olympic Stadium in Hoquiam.
With both teams on short turnaround after kicking off the season with games on a snow-lined Jack Rottle Field on Monday, it was time to play in the mud on Friday after melting snow and this week’s rains left the field at Olympic Stadium soft and soggy.
As was the case Monday, the wet weather helped to bring about sloppy play early in the game for both teams. Montesano’s first five possessions included three turnovers sandwiched around an Isaiah Pierce touchdown run while Hoquiam’s first half possessions resulted in a fumble and four punts.
But leading 7-0 with a few minutes left in the first half, Montesano (2-0 overall) began to find its ground game, taking a 14-0 lead when Pierce scored on a 9-yard run off right tackle with 1:05 left until halftime.
The work that Montesano’s offensive line had been putting in throughout the first half, began to pay real dividends in the second.
Monte’s offensive front of Jack Anderson, Kenny Koonrad, Josh Corbett, Stephen Radamacher, Cayleb Reninger and tight end Connor Hollatz began to open wider running lanes and push Hoquiam’s defense further off the line of scrimmage in the final half. The benefactors were Monte’s backfield, which ended the evening rushing for a staggering 391 yards, with Isaiah Pierce leading the way. The junior running back scored two more touchdowns in the second half to give him four on the night and finished with 153 yards on 21 carries.
“We told our offensive line on Monday, ‘We roll the way they roll,’ and they rolled tonight. They did a great job blocking up front,” Montesano head coach Terry Jensen said. “(Aydan) Darst ran hard, (Isaiah) Pierce ran hard, Trace (Ridgway) ran hard, but it all started with our offensive line. They controlled the line of scrimmage tonight and it was really awesome to see because we didn’t think we played that well on Monday. We’ve improved a lot in four days and I think that’s the most impressive thing for me.”
Montesano’s defense was equally as good, blanketing Hoquiam receivers and not allowing Hoquiam quarterback Dane McMillan any easy completions. The senior signal-caller went 7-for-11 with 70 yards passing on the night, often scrambling for yardage as Monte’s coverage offered no viable options to throw to.
Hoquiam (0-2) didn’t find much space in the running game either, finishing with 29 rushing yards on 26 carries.
The Grizzlies ended the game with just four first downs.
“The plan was to try to contain Dane (McMillan),” Jensen said of Monte’s defensive strategy. “He’s certainly a great athlete and that was the game plan going in. We felt if we could shut down the run game and kind of make them one-dimensional — that’s kind of one of our goals every game — and we were able to do that.”
“That’s a good scheme for them to come out with,” Hoquiam head coach Jeremy McMillan said of Montesano’s defensive coverage. “Only sending three or four and dropping seven or eight, our guys couldn’t get open.”
Hoquiam finished with 123 yards of total offense. It’s the second straight game Monte has held an opponent to under 150 yards of offense after holding Tenino to 106 yards on Monday.
Jensen attributes Friday’s success to a “physicality that is so contagious.”
“They were more physical than us, better conditioned, it comes down to a lot of things,” McMillan said, adding that a lack of depth, practice time and facilities have also had negative impacts on his team’s performance.
But McMillan went on to state he saw some positives from his team compared to Monday’s loss against Elma.
“It didn’t show up on the field, but I thought our execution was better. We shortened up our penalties for the most part — in the second half certainly not — but we’ve got to get back to work and figure it out.”
Toledo 28, Pe Ell-Willapa Valley 7
The Pe Ell-Willapa Valley Titans entered Friday’s season-opener against Toledo expecting a rough go of it this season.
With a young, inexperienced team that recently lost its best player for the season in senior running back Kollin Jurek to injury, the 2021 season was going to be an uphill climb facing one of the toughest small-school schedules in the state.
But you wouldn’t know it by the way they played.
PWV led by a score of 7-6 at halftime before eventually falling to Toledo, 28-7 in a respectable showing on Friday at Willapa Valley High School.
The Titans (0-1) were able to stay in the game in the first half due to a defense that forced four first-quarter turnovers, all of which were recovered by PWV.
“We hit ‘em and they fumbled,” PWV assistant coach John Peterson said.
Derek Fluke scored for the Titans on a 2-yard run halfway through the first quarter and Garrett Keeton’s extra point gave PWV an early 7-0 lead.
Toledo (2-0) finally got on the scoreboard with under 10 seconds to go in the first half when running back Davin Kinsman scored on a 2-yard run. A missed extra point gave PWV a 7-6 lead at the break.
“When we were ahead at halftime I just about did a cartwheel going into the locker room,” Peterson quipped.
But the Indians came out with a purpose in the second half, utilizing their size and experience to outscore the Titans 22-0 in the third and fourth quarters.
Kinsman scored a touchdown in each of the final two quarters.
After a safety in the fourth quarter, a Jacob Marley touchdown completed the scoring for Toledo.
“These guys were huge,” Peterson said of Toledo’s size advantage, alluding that it looked more like a father-son contest rather than a varsity-level football game. “They just kind of lined up at the end and ran over us.”
PWV finished with 100 yards of total offense — 57 passing yards and 43 rushing yards — and six first downs.
Toledo ended the evening with 323 rushing yards on 60 carries.
Peterson noted the play of Kaden Ritzman, Keeton, Grady Christen, Wil Clements, Derek Fluke and Kolton Fluke with keeping the game competitive.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do but I thought our kids represented themselves well,” he said of the team. “There’s a lot of pride in those kids.”