Monte won the battle of the Bulldogs and earned a 12th consecutive state appearance with a 63-12 rout of Stevenson in a District IV Class 1A football game Friday night at Rottle Field.
Montesano (10-0) will host a state opener next weekend, probably against Charles Wright Academy.
Montesano head coach Terry Jensen said his team tried to mix run and pass plays to keep Stevenson off balance.
“We go by the script but we vary the script depending on what we see,” he said. “We had some things open in the passing game, so we threw more tonight than we normally do.”
Montesano came out strong and tried to set the tone on defense and forced a three-and-out, shutting down three screen passes to force a punt.
Carson Klinger got the offense rolling and picked up four first downs on the opening drive to put Monte in striking distance of the end zone.
Klinger paced the offense on the opening touchdown drive, but it was Trevor Ridgway who called his own number when he could not find an open target. Ridgway’s 9-yard scramble put Monte’s Bulldogs up 7-0 after their first drive, and Monte’s defense held on the following drive, despite being gashed for a couple of big plays that appeared to give Stevenson hope of tying the ball game.
Klinger showed his versatility on the next possession and got some separation on a seam route for a 34-yard touchdown reception as he fought through a tackle to break the plane and put his team up 14-0 at 3:29 in the first quarter.
After getting stuffed on two quarterback runs that brought up a third-and-long situation, Stevenson looked to unleash its passing attack and sent three receivers deep. Montesano’s Kobe Gallinger dropped back in zone coverage and picked off an under-thrown ball to give Monte the ball near midfield.
Jensen credited defensive coordinator Brian Hollatz with cooking up a scheme that would keep Stevenson’s offense from getting off the ground.
“We tried to get pressure on the quarterback and I’m not sure we did a great job of that, but Coach Hollatz did a great job mixing coverages and different looks to try to confuse them.”
Monte parlayed that turnover into yet another Klinger touchdown when he found room up the middle to get the 5-yard scoring run that put Monte up 21-0.
Down by three scores, Stevenson showed some fight and came away with a fumble recovery on a muffed punt. Preston Lowry dove on the ball and gave Stevenson the ball in Monte territory.
The fumbled punt came back to haunt Monte as Lincoln Krog fought forward for four yards for the first Stevenson score of the game.
Monte still held a 21-6 lead after a missed extra point, but Klinger made amends for his muffed punt and ran 36 yards on a toss sweep to hit pay dirt yet again with 5:42 to go in the second quarter.
Ridgway connected with Gallinger on a slant route for a 49-yard touchdown reception on Monte’s next possession to help the team pull away even further and put the score at 35-6.
Monte would not let up and drove down the field in 47 seconds to score before time expired on the first half. This time Kooper Karaffa got free on a drag route and was wide open in the corner of the end zone for the 19-yard touchdown reception.
Montesano’s Bulldogs got the ball to start the second half with the ball and picked up right where they left off. Ridgway got a chance to show off his athleticism and sprinted 55 yards downfield for the touchdown that sent the game into a running clock.
Dakoyta Reninger chipped in on the scoring when he recovered a fumble on a bad snap during Stevenson’s punt attempt. That score pushed the score to 56-6 as Montesano sent in some of the younger players.
Krog broke off a long touchdown run that was answered by Brent Hollatz late in the fourth quarter.
Jensen was pleased with the effort, but wants his team to clean up some of the penalties that plagued them against Stevenson.
“We just got to eliminate some mistakes. We had way too many penalties,” he said. “We have some little things to take care of but we’ll get it cleaned up.”