ABERDEEN – A handful of big plays and a stifling defense helped Montesano pull away in the first half as the Bulldogs came away with a 40-8 season-opening win over the Bobcats on Friday at Stewart Field.
The Bulldogs (1-0 overall) didn’t have too much trouble putting drives together in the first quarter, but it was Aberdeen that looked to be headed toward the end zone in its first possession.
Aberdeen’s first offensive drive was snuffed out by a fumble that gave Monte the ball deep in its own territory.
Bulldogs quarterback Shaydon Farmer wasted little time driving his team deep into Bobcat territory. Montesano went up 7-0 on a short goal line touchdown run by Brent Hollatz.
As would be the case for most of the night, the Bulldogs offense didn’t sit idle for long. Monte receiver Sam Winter got open on a seam route and took a 60-yard reception from Farmer to the house, putting Monte up 13-0 with 3:47 left in the first quarter.
Aberdeen’s offense, on the other hand, was hampered by turnovers — three fumbles to be exact — in the first half and only managed 177 total yards in the game.
After Farmer found Jordan King on a 29-yard touchdown pass to increase the lead to 19-0 early in the second quarter, a Bobcat fumble set Monte up with a short field. The Bulldogs found pay dirt again to push the score to 26-0 after a short TD run by Aydan Darst, who had a game-high 140 rushing yards on the night.
Montesano head coach Terry Jensen gave credit to the offensive line for its blocking on the team’s big passing plays.
“We got protection from the offensive line and that allowed Shaydon to see some open guys,” he said. “The first guy he threw to wasn’t our primary, but he was able to come off it and find the second read. The second big pass to Winter was just blown coverage and he found him right away.”
The Bobcats didn’t have the same success finishing drives as Monte did.
Bobcats quarterback Ben Dublanko was flushed out of the pocket with regularity as receivers had trouble getting separation, allowing Monte’s pass rush to apply pressure.
Aberdeen found a glimmer of hope when Dakota Davis picked up a Farmer fumble and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter. It turned out to be the Bobcats’ only touchdown of the game.
Picking up where they left off, the Bulldogs used a mix of run and pass to bring the score to 32-8 after a short touchdown run from Darst.
Farmer totalled 158 passing yards and ran for 34 yards.
Despite the one-sided result, Aberdeen head coach Kevin Ridout said there are some things he saw that his team can build on.
“There’s a lot of positives in that there were moments we moved the ball and the level of impact improved as the day went on,” he said. “The flip side is we have to have more confidence in ourselves and give that same level every play.”
Dublanko ended the game with 75 passing yards, which his coach explained had a lot to do with dropped passes from Aberdeen receivers.
“We had trouble concentrating on the ball. It was in our hands a lot and it came out of our hands a lot,” he said. “It’s hard when you run into a team that’s pressing and you don’t have that clear area where you can catch it in soft spots.”
Aberdeen will get another chance to pick up a win in front of a home crowd when they take on Hoquiam in the 113th edition of the Myrtle Street Rivalry at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Monte will play its home opener in a non-league game against Shelton at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Jensen said he expects Shelton be a tough task and is hoping his team plays relaxed, similar to how they performed against Aberdeen.
“When I talked before this game I told them, ‘Maybe you haven’t played under the Friday night lights but you have played football before. It’s just a game. You have to go out and play and have fun,’” he said.
Aberdeen 0 8 0 0 — 8
Montesano 13 13 8 6 — 40
Passing leaders: Montesano — Farmer (158 yards, 2 TD); Aberdeen — Dublanko (75 yds., INT)
Rushing leaders: Montesano — Darst (140 yds., 2 TD)