If anyone was wondering what this season might hold for a new-look Montesano football team, look no further that the scoreboard.
While many of the faces may have changed, the results were the same as Montesano wasted no time in scoring 43 points — all in the first half — in a 43-0 rout over visiting Cascade Christian on Friday.
“I’m a little bit surprised at the outcome,” Montesano head coach Terry Jensen said after his Bulldogs came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders. “When you have a young team, you never know what you are going to get. It’s kind of like rolling the dice and we’ll see what we come up with. They exceeded our expectations tonight. They came out ready to go.”
And it wasn’t just that the Montesano offense was scoring frequently, but how efficiently it was doing so.
The Bulldogs scored touchdowns on each of its first two offensive plays from scrimmage — a 43-yard scamper by running back Isaiah Pierce followed later in the first quarter by a 41-yard TD pass from sophomore quarterback Jayden McElravy to senior receiver Caydan Lovell — to put Monte up 14-0 against a stunned Cougars team.
After the Monte defense forced a punt, the Bulldogs put together their longest scoring drive of the evening, a nine-play, 64-yard drive that concluded when McElravy found Lovell streaking down the left sideline for a 27-yard touchdown.
Manteo Sanchez put the extra point through for a 21-0 Bulldogs lead with 2:14 left in the first quarter.
Monte’s defense forced another three-and-out and the Bulldogs offense struck immediately. On the first play of Monte’s ensuing possession, McElravy and Pierce connected on a 39-yard touchdown pass to put the Bulldogs up 28-0 with 14 seconds left in the frame.
On the final play of a disastrous first quarter for the Cougars, a fumble recovery by Monte sophomore defensive back Jack Holmstrom gave the Bulldogs the ball at the Cascade Christian 40-yard line.
On the very next play, McElravy found Lovell wide open in the Cougars secondary for a 40-yard TD and a 35-0 lead just eight seconds into the second quarter.
Monte’s final points of the game came later in the half after a bad snap on a Cougars punt attempt hit the up-man, giving a piping-hot Bulldogs offense the ball at the Cougars 31 yard line.
Pierce did the rest, taking a handoff on an end-around to the left side and running over a helpless Cougars defender en route to a 31-yard score and 43-0 lead at the 7:71 mark of the second quarter.
“That was pretty much our game plan,” Pierce said of Montesano’s ability to get around the perimeter of the Cougars defense. “We knew we could beat them on the edge and our perimeter blocking was great tonight.”
Pierce, one of just a handful of Bulldogs on the field with substantial varsity experience, carried the ball 11 times for 109 yards and two touchdowns as Monte rushed for 155 yards total.
In his first varsity start, McElravy was magnificent. The junior quarterback was 8-of-9 passing for 176 yards and four touchdowns — three of those to Lovell, who had four catches for 116 yards.
“I think Jaydan through the ball really well tonight. ‘Lovey’ (Lovell) went and got the ball tonight and made a couple of really outstanding catches. Isaiah was kind of in his own beast mode tonight and set the tone for us. … he really stood out too. … It’s just a great overall effort by everybody.”
Montesano’s defense was just as impressive. The Bulldogs held the Cougars to just 23 yards of offense, recovered a pair of fumbles and got an acrobatic interception from junior defensive back Cole Ekerson while flat on his back.
The Bulldogs totalled 331 yards of offense and recorded 16 first downs to just one for the Cougars.
With the win, Montesano is 1-0 overall on the season and faces Columbia-White Salmon at 6 p.m. on Thursday at Columbia High School.