MONTESANO — In addition to producing its standard quota of explosive plays, Montesano put on a sack party in turning a first-round state test into a blowout.
Dominant on both sides of the ball from the outset, the unbeaten Bulldogs trounced Charles Wright Academy, 41-0, in the opening round of the state 1A football playoffs on Nov. 10 at Rottle Field.
Ranked fourth among state 1A teams, the Bulldogs (11-0) will take to the road for a quarterfinal matchup against third-ranked Meridian in Bellingham on Saturday Nov. 18. Meridian defeated Hoquiam to progress and face Montesano.
Montesano had its standard set of offensive playmakers on Nov. 10 — plus one unexpected standout on the defensive end.
Senior quarterback Trevor Ridgway passed for 172 yards and two touchdowns while running for a third.
Ace running back Carson Klinger, held out of the second half as a precautionary measure after absorbing a couple of hard hits in the first half, logged 114 rushing yards and one TD before departing.
Senior receiver Dakoyta Reninger produced two tackle-busting touchdown receptions in the first half. Shifted to running back to replace Klinger, he also had two apparent scoring runs nullified by penalties.
The Bulldogs accounted for 14 “explosive plays,” head coach Terry Jensen’s term for a gain of at least 12 yards.
Perhaps a more impressive statistic, however, was the eight sacks of Charles Wright quarterback Dane Jacobson.
“With them throwing 70 percent of the time, we felt like we had to pressure them to disrupt their offense. It worked out pretty well,” Jensen understated.
Brent Hollatz, the 157-pound sophomore son of defensive coordinator Brian Hollatz, accounted for half of the sacks. Filling in for starting linebacker Jared Wallace (who is recovering from a pinched nerve in his shoulder), Hollatz set the tone by sacking Jacobson twice on Charles Wright’s first three scrimmage plays. He also recovered a free ball on a squib kick later in the contest.
“In practice, he’s an outstanding blitzer,” Jensen said of Hollatz. “He finds a way to get through the creases.”
Seth Dierkop and Gage Iverson also had multiple sacks for Montesano. Since sacks are included in the rushing statistics in high school football, the Tarriers wound up with a negative 58 yards on the ground.
The Bulldogs led from the game’s second scrimmage play.
Ridgway fired over the middle to Reninger, who broke a tackle at about the CWA 40-yard line and raced down the left sidelines to complete a 55-yard scoring catch-and-run.
Jordan King kicked the first of his five successful conversions to make it 7-0 with the game only 41 seconds old.
Reninger also broke a couple of tackles on a 22-yard TD reception at the 6:55 mark of the first quarter.
Montesano needed only one play on its next possession to make it 20-0. Klinger found a hole over right tackle, then reversed his field and picked up a couple of outstanding blocks on a 57-yard scoring run with 5:33 remaining in the first quarter.
Ridgway took it 41 yards to the house on an option keeper early in the second quarter. Teegan Zillyett’s 2-yard scoring run and King’s PAT made it 34-0 at the half.
After sputtering a bit on the first couple of second-half possessions, the Bulldogs finally implemented the 40-point running clock mercy rule on Zillyett’s 14-yard scoring run late in the third quarter.
Reserves played the final period for Montesano.
Jensen wasn’t thrilled with his team’s offensive intensity in the second half, but was happy with the first-half execution.
“We were pretty precise,” he said. “It was a tremendous 1 3/4 quarters.”
Reninger had three pass receptions for 100 yards and would have have approached 75 yards rushing had it not been for the penalties.
See Page B-8 for photos of the contest.