In a game that could have looked differently if not for the turnovers, Montesano still had enough firepower to beat Hoquiam.
The Bulldogs pulled away in the second half to turn back the Grizzlies, 35-13, in an Evergreen 1A League football showdown on Oct. 13 at Rottle Field.
The win moves Montesano to (2-0 in league) to 7-0 on the season while Hoquiam (2-1 in league) falls to 4-3.
Montesano leaned on Carson Klinger throughout the night to run the ball. He broke through with a first-down run on the first drive of the game but had a tough time finding daylight but the drive came to a stop when Dakoyta Reninger caught a pass and fumbled the ball reaching towards the goal line from the 1-yard line.
Klinger had a rough go of it finding running room on the interior as Hoquiam’s front four did well to clog running lanes. Despite getting off to a slow start, Klinger had 180 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Monte drove downfield again but did not get into end zone as Hoquiam’s Jonah Doll came up with a big play to break up the pass with the Bulldogs in the red zone.
Defenses dominated the first quarter as Monte’s Gage Iverson came away with a sack on Hoquiam quarterback Payton Quintanilla just before time expired on the game’s opening frame.
The Bulldogs ended up striking first with 9:15 in the second quarter on a drive that was powered by strong running from Klinger. The nine-play scoring drive went 58 yards and was capped off by a 5-yard run from Teegan Zillyett to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.
Zillyett ended the game with 89 yards and a touchdown.
The Grizzlies tried to answer and tried to get creative to do so. On third-and- short and fourth-and-short, Hoquiam gave the ball to lineman Matt Brown, shifting into the backfield. Monte’s defense held up on both occasion and forced a turnover on downs.
Hoquiam’s defense answered the bell on fourth-and- goal and came up with the stop to keep it a one-possession game.
Brown ended up with two sacks in a first half that featured a fair amount of yardage, especially from Monte, but limited scoring.
Montesano head coach Terry Jensen said his offense did well but needed to take better care of the ball to pull away.
“Once we cleaned that up, I thought we did pretty well offensively,” he said. “Hoquiam made us work. They’re a really good football team. That’s what happens against a good football team. Sometimes you’re going to struggle to move the ball.”
The Grizzly offense struggled heading into the second half but the defense kept things close until late in the fourth quarter. Hoquiam forced two fumbles in the third quarter.
When Hoquiam’s offense could not score points off the turnovers, Monte struck again when Kobe Gallinger caught a 25-yard pass from Trevor Ridgway in the corner of the end zone to put the score at 14-0.
In desperate need of a response, Quintanilla finally completed a pass to Rayyon Dayton on a screen. Dayton then turned it upfield 91 yards for the touchdown.
With the score at 14-7, Monte answered back quickly and marched downfield using a mix of pass and run to get downfield. Ridgway finished off that drive with a quarterback sneak to put the game out of reach at 21-7.
Ridgway had an efficient night passing the ball and had 220 yards through the air on 13-of-16 passing.
The Grizzlies showed signs of life with a touchdown catch at the back of the end zone from Quintanilla to Jackson Folkers with just under two minutes left. That brought the score to 28-13, but the Grizzlies could not recover the onside kick.
Klinger had previously scored on a short run. Ridgway ran for Monte’s final touchdown.
Hoquiam head coach Jeremy McMillan gave credit to Montesano’s defense but said that his team will need to generate more offense going forward.
“We adjusted at halftime and it seemed to work in the third quarter and Monte counter and adjusted,” he said. “We didn’t have the ball enough in the second half to win that game. They did an excellent job of controlling the clock.”
Friday, Montesano will take on Tenino at home and the Grizzlies will have a tough game against Hockinson on the road.
The Bulldogs were feeling good coming away with a clear victory over their rivals but Jensen wants to make sure his team finishes on a strong note.
“They’re a great group of kids. They work hard and come to work everyday,” he said. “I’m very proud of them but we’re an unfinished product and we have to get better.”