ELMA — Trace Ridgway could not be stopped on the ground or in the air Friday night as Montesano cruised to a 49-7 victory over Elma in the East County Civil War.
The Bulldogs (9-0, 4-0 Evergreen 1A) finishes the regular season undefeated, thanks in part to the arm and legs of Ridgway, who picked up 123 rushing yards with four touchdowns.
Ridgway also threw for 159 yards with one passing touchdown to Sam Winter, as the signal caller was involved in six of Monte’s seven touchdowns.
Ridgway said the offensive game plan wasn’t built around his rushing ability but gave credit to the blockers up front for allowing him to get into the open field.
“During practice, we were talking about how we’re going to balance the offense and have a well-rounded offense, not necessarily just run me a lot,” he said. “I have to give credit to the offensive line. They’re nasty down there.”
The Bulldogs used a big passing play to jump start the offense on its first possession of the game as Ridgway found Jordan King in the flat. King took advantage of open space in front of him and ran 60 yards after the catch before being brought down near the goal line.
Ridgway punched it in from there with a 1-yard quarterback sneak to put Monte up 7-0 at 9:47 in the first quarter.
Monte’s quarterback finished off another drive with a short touchdown run at 3:40 in the first quarter on a 5-yard run to give Monte a 14-0 lead.
Ridgway broke away from the Elma defense two possessions later as he found room up the middle and got into the open field for a 63-yard touchdown run at 6:08 in the second to push the Bulldogs lead to 21-0.
Winter got into the scoring act on Monte’s fourth touchdown when he found the end zone on a reception at 4:06 in the second frame. The drive that was set up by a Winter interception on Elma’s last possession.
Elma head coach Ron Clark said having Winter on the field can create chaos.
“Ridgway has given teams more trouble than he gave us tonight. He’s one thing, but Sam Winter is a matchup nightmare. Our kids tried as hard as they could, he’s just really good,” he said.
Elma (5-4, 2-2) avoided the shutout with 3:23 left before halftime. Eagles running back Isaiah O’Farrill found room around the edge and broke loose for a 58-yard run to the endzone to bring the score to 28-7.
Monte reached paydirt one last time before the end of the half when Ridgway once again found room near the goal line for a 1-yard sneak to punctuate another drive and build Monte’s lead to 35-7.
The Bulldogs went into the locker room with a 28-point lead, but Monte head coach Terry Jensen said Elma played well up front despite the lopsided score.
“I thought Elma was physical tonight and I thought we were catching some blocks at times instead of being aggressive and keeping our pad level down,” he said. “I think we adjusted to that as the game went on, especially in the third. Once we got the big lead we were able to sub out a little bit.”
As has often been the case for the Bulldogs this season, subs and junior-varsity players got extended playing time in the second half after the victor was no longer in doubt.
With some of the starters out of the game, Monte got to the endzone two more times on a 90-yard kick return from Braden Dohrmann to start the second half and a 11-yard run from Ridgway at 4:52 in the third.
The game carried extra emotional weight for the Eagles who wore orange socks in honor of a teammate who was recently diagnosed with leukemia.
Clark said he’s looking forward to playing a crossover game against La Center after a tiring week leading up to the matchup with Montesano.
“We had some issues, but that doesn’t matter. We’re done with Monte and we’re moving on to La Center. They’re coach is a friend of mine so I kind of know what they do. They’re a very skilled team.”
Monte is also looking forward to its own crossover game against King’s Way Christian at 7 p.m. on Friday in Montesano.
Jensen said after the game that his staff was already getting ready to do some scouting on its next opponent.
“We’re not taking that for granted. We have to go to work. We have a little bit of film on them right now and we’re supposed to have a mandatory film exchange that’s supposed to happen tonight, so we have to get going on that.”