Montesano put up 54 points on just 22 plays in the first half en route to a 61-0 victory over Hoquiam on Friday at Jack Rottle Field in Montesano.
The Bulldogs (4-3 overall, 1-2 1A Evergreen) scored four touchdowns in the first quarter, due in large part to the play of quarterback Jayden McElravy.
The junior play-caller opened the scoring when he hit receiver Caydon Lovell on a go-route for a 41-yard score with just over two minutes elapsed in the game.
After Montesano defensive back Ethan Blundred recovered a fumble to give the Bulldogs offense the ball at the Hoquiam 23-yard line, McElravy scored on an 18-yard, read-option run with 8:33 to play in the quarter.
Monte made it a 20-0 game when McElravy connected with receiver Kaleb Ames for a 21-yard touchdown with five minutes left in the quarter.
McElravy recorded his third touchdown pass of the quarter when he hit senior running back Isaiah Pierce for a 31-yard score and a 26-0 lead heading into the second quarter.
As they had the entire first quarter, McElravy and company wasted little time scoring come the second quarter as well.
McElravy hit Lovell for his fourth touchdown pass of the first half with an 18-yard pass to make it a 33-0 ballgame.
Monte defensive back Cole Ekerson set the Bulldogs up with great field position — a theme of Monte’s offensive possessions in the first half — when he intercepted a pass from Hoquiam quarterback Zander Jump and returned it to the Grizzlies 10 yard line.
The Bulldogs cashed in when McElravy then fed a shovel pass to Pierce for a nifty touchdown to put Monte up 40-0 with over 10 minutes left in the second quarter.
A 1-yard touchdown run by Jared Whisenhunt and a 2-yard scoring plunge from Jacob Salstrom later in the quarter gave Montesano a 54-0 lead in a dominant first-half performance.
Monte running back Konnor Odekirk scored on a 49-yard touchdown run 11 seconds into the fourth quarter to close out the scoring as Monte pulled its starters for a second half that had a running clock.
Monte head coach Terry Jensen said his team was hungry for a win after suffering through a rare three-game losing streak.
“It seems like a long time (since the last win),” he said. “We approached the week as though (the players) had to get excited about playing football again. When we lose three in a row, you start losing some of the fun and passion of the game.”
Jensen said he used a long tried and true motivator in practice this week.
“We said, ‘Hey, you guys are going to start running in practice if we don’t see the enthusiasm and excitement,’” he said. “If this game was easy, you’d have every student out here playing it, but it’s not easy. We had lessons we had to learn and things we had to overcome. We just have to keep fighting.”
McElravy was a perfect 7-for-7 for 195 yards, with five of those passes going for touchdowns.
His favorite target on the night was Lovell, who caught four passes for 121 yards and two scores.
The Bulldogs racked up 468 yards of offense, the majority coming in a first half that saw eight Montesano possessions start near midfield or better.
Defensively, Monte held Hoquiam (0-5, 0-2) to 14 yards rushing, 69 total yards and five first downs while forcing four turnovers — two picks and two fumble recoveries.
Jump went 9-for-12 for 55 yards and was intercepted twice (Ekerson and Ames).
After what has been a season filled with difficulties and challenges, Hoquiam head coach Jeremy McMillan said Friday’s loss is a lesson and a motivator for his young squad to use in the future.
“I talked to them about how tough times don’t last, but tough people do,” he said. “This whole season has been tough. … Monte is a great team and a great program and you have to play really good football to beat them, especially coming in here.”
McMillan added he is optimistic Hoquiam will get back to competing at a state-playoff level based on the work in the classroom and weight room of his underclassmen, which he hopes will spark the Grizzlies program once again.
“You could feel the atmosphere and see the (Montesano) student body and the energy they had here and we’ve got to get back to that at Hoquiam,” he said. “We had it for a long time and everything hit, COVID hit and our mindset is kind of different and we’ve got to get it back where it needs to be. I’m in for that. We’ll get it back to where it needs to be.”
Jensen is focused on the playoffs, as Monte is in an unfamiliar position of needing a win against Elma next week to earn a spot in the postseason.
“The next game we lose and the season is going to be over,” he said. “We realize that. So we have to take care of business and approach it one day at a time.”