Often in sports, just a few stats can tell the story of a game.
Case in point, in a game against Montesano on Friday, Castle Rock managed just 164 total yards of offense.
Montesano had one player nearly equal that amount.
Bulldogs senior running back Ethan Blundred had 149 total yards of offense and scored three touchdowns to lead Monte to a 57-12 win over the previously undefeated Rockets at Jack Rottle Field in Montesano.
In a game featuring the 10th-ranked Bulldogs and a Rockets team entering with a 3-0 record, it became apparent early on that Monte was the superior side.
Monte (3-1 overall) used an up-tempo, hurry-up offense that left the Rockets defense misfiring early on. The Bulldogs took the opening possession and quickly moved downfield, scoring on a 4-yard run by junior running back Gabe Bodwell just 1:30 into the game.
Later in the first quarter, senior quarterback Jayden McElravy capped a 9-play, 59-yard drive with a 2-yard TD sneak to put Monte up 15-0.
The Bulldogs extended their lead to 22-0 on a Blundred 10-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter.
But Monte’s momentum stalled after that and Castle Rock used the downtime to get back into the game.
After the Rockets recovered a Montesano fumble at the Bulldogs 39-yard line, Rockets quarterback Stephen Ibsen hit receiver Lane Partridge on a short pass to the flat. Partridge swept to the edge and raced down the sideline for a 38-yard score, cutting Monte’s lead to 22-6.
Monte’s subsequent possession ended when Castle Rock’s Owen Langdon intercepted McElravy at midfield.
On the very next play, Ibsen hit Partridge deep downfield for a 42-yard touchdown that got Castle Rock right back into the game at 22-12.
But Castle Rock mistakes — a 10-yard offside penalty on the kickoff followed by a personal-foul facemask call — gave Montesano excellent field position at the Rockets 32-yard line with 1:30 left in the half.
On 2nd-and-goal from the 2-yard line, McElravy punched it in to stake Monte to a 29-12 halftime lead.
The second half belonged to the Bulldogs, using the hurry-up once again to drive downfield and get another McElravy rushing touchdown to go up 36-12 and — after recovering an onside kick — going up 43-12 on a 9-yard Blundred TD run with 5:24 left in the third quarter.
Blundred would score on a 3-yard run early in the fourth to go up 50-12, leading the Monte coaching staff to call off the Dogs and bring in the Monte reserves.
It didn’t slow Monte down as junior running back Tucker Eaton would burst through a seam up the middle and score on a 63-yard run to put Monte up 57-12 and start the running clock with just over seven minutes left to play.
Blundred led the way for Monte on the ground, rushing for 124 yards on 17 carries for a Monte team that gashed Castle Rock for 324 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, all on the ground.
“It feels great, it really does,” Blundred said. “Sometimes, running and getting a hold (penalty) was a little disappointing, but every single time we came back and were able to get those holes (to run through) again and score.”
The holds Blundred spoke of were Bulldogs penalty woes that cost them yardage but had little effect aside from that.
Montesano had 11 penalties for 81.5 yards on the evening.
While Montesano head coach Terry Jensen was pleased with the way his team moved the football on the ground, the volume of penalties is a worry he plans to address at practice.
“I think our tempo was big. … In that first quarter, we were just going really fast with a rapid tempo and I think that really helped. The backs were running hard and the line was opening up big holes for us,” he said. “We’ll address (the penalties). We run for penalties so Monday there will be a lot of running.”
Jensen said a lapse in tackling that allowed Castle Rock to briefly get back into the game in the first half was addressed in the locker room during halftime.
“We weren’t tackling well and we turned the ball over. … So our defensive coordinator (Todd Hoiness), he kind of went off in the locker room a bit and raised his voice about how we were tackling and the kids responded really well in the second half,” Jensen said. “I thought we played really dominant in the second half.”
Montesano’s defense allowed 57 rushing yards in the game, just five of those coming in the second half.
“In the first half, we struggled tackling,” said Blundred, who plays linebacker on defense. “(Montesano coaches) said to just focus on us and the scoreboard will show it and it did.”
Next up for Montesano, which has now won three-straight games by a combined score of 142-12, is a tough road game at 2A Shelton at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Castle Rock 0 12 0 0 — 12
Montesano 15 14 14 14 — 57
M — Bodwell 4 run (Wilson pass to Ames), 10:30
M — McElravy 3 run (Romero kick), 5:47
M — Blundred 10 run, 10:10
CR — Partridge 38 pass from Ibsen (run fail), 4:23
CR — Partridge 42 pass from Ibsen (run fail), 1:39
M — McElravy 2 run (Romero kick), 0:10
M — McElravy 6 run (Romero kick), 8:23
M — Blundred 9 run (Romero kick), 5:24
M — Blundred 3 run (Romero kick), 11:54
M — Eaton 63 run (Romero kick), 7:07
Rushing: Montesano — Blundred 17-124, McElravy 15-89, Eaton 2-62, Bodwell 8-52, Flink 1-9, Pyhala 1-(-2). Castle Rock — Ibsen 11-50, Rusher 8-(-5), Orth 6-13.
Passing: M — McElravy 7-12-1-103, Wilson 1-1-0-25. CR — Ibsen 8-12-0-107.
Receiving: M — Ames 3-31, Poler 2-38, Blundred 2-25, Gourdin 1-25, Johansen 1-9. CR — Partridge 6-90, Rusher 3-14, Langdon 2-0.