If nothing else, Montesano’s starting offense should be well-rested for next week’s cross-state trip to state.
Needing less than seven minutes to record six offensive touchdowns, the unbeaten Bulldogs wrapped up a state berth with a 48-10 rout of White Salmon in a District IV Class 1A football crossover playoff game Friday, Nov. 4, at Rottle Field.
The fourth-ranked Bulldogs (10-0) will travel east of the mountains to face third-rated Connell in an opening-round state contest. That contest tentatively has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11.
It will be Montesano’s 11th successive state appearance. Due to the luck of the draw, the Bulldogs will likely be on the road for the balance of the playoffs.
“For the seniors, it will probably be their last time on this field,” Montesano coach Terry Jensen said of Friday’s game. “I think it meant a lot to them and it showed.”
Particularly effective on sweeps, Monte junior Carson Klinger rushed for 159 yards and three touchdowns, while classmate Dakoyta Reninger accounted for 141 all-purpose yards, rushing and receiving. Junior quarterback Trevor Ridgway completed 10 of 12 passes (all in the first half) for 141 yards and one TD.
For all that, Montesano’s MVP might have been Taylor Rupe. The senior lineman recorded three quarterback sacks, blocked a punt that teammate Cole Bradbury returned for a touchdown and performed yeoman service on the offensive front.
Monte’s longest touchdown drive was seven plays. None of its scoring possessions consumed 90 seconds.
Needless to say, the Dogs easily met their quota of “explosive plays,” as Jensen describes them.
“We try to get a dozen of those every game and our offense was hitting them right and left in the first half,” the Monte coach noted.
The Bulldogs sandwiched touchdowns on their first five possessions around the blocked kick to build a 41-0 lead.
They covered 63 yards on three plays on their first series. Ridgway faked a handoff and found a wide-open Reninger near the left sidelines for a 37-yard scoring pass.
Ben Lopez kicked the first of his six successful conversions for a 7-0 lead at the 9:16 mark of the first quarter.
Winding up with the ball on a double handoff, Reninger zipped 25 yards to the end zone some 2 1/2 minutes later. Nathan Olson’s 30-yard sweep with 1:52 remaining in the first quarter made it 21-0.
Klinger followed his 36-yard run with a 10-yard scoring jaunt early in the second quarter.
Two sacks of White Salmon quarterback Austin Bucklin forced the Bruins (5-4) to punt from their own 18-yard line moments later. Rupe blocked the Eduardo Oriz-Perez kick inside the 10. The 240-pound Bradbury plucked the loose ball out of the air and chugged into the end zone.
Klinger’s 3-yard scoring run and Lopez’s PAT increased the lead to 41-0 with 4:36 remaining in the first half.
Oriz-Perez’s 22-yard field goal, following a muffed Bulldog lateral, with one minute left in the half reduced the margin to 38 and prevented the 40-point running-clock mercy rule from being implemented at the outset of the second half.
The Bulldogs took care of that detail, however, by marching 77 yards in five plays to begin the half. Klinger’s 31-yard scoring run on a sweep to the right ended the starting offensive unit’s tour of duty.
Bucklin’s 13-yard quarterback keeper against Bulldog reserves and Oriz-Perez’s conversion midway through the fourth quarter concluded the scoring.
Jensen was also pleased with the play of his defensive unit.
Although Bucklin enjoyed some success on quarterback keepers in the second half, the White Salmon quarterback was subjected to a fierce Bulldog pass rush in the opening two quarters.
In addition to Rupe, Jared Wallace and Olson notched sacks for the Bulldogs.