CASTLE ROCK — Hoquiam coach Rick Moore and his staff put down the challenge to their players in the locker room at half time — the game was theirs to win.
After leaving the locker room in a 7-7 tie, the Grizzly players responded with 30 unanswered points in the second half to dominate the Caslte Rock Rockets Friday night, 37-7.
“We put it upon them that it was there game to take … to rise to the occasion and do the things to accopmlish the win,” Moore said. “They responded to the challenge.”
Hoquiam exploded in the third quarter. Devin Kelly touched the end zone twice in the third, scampering in from 15 yards and 2 yards.
Brenner Carlstrom and Tyler White also added touchdowns in the third frame, from 2 and 7 yards respectively. White had also given Hoquiam (1-4) its first score in the opening quarter on a 12-yard run.
With the score 31-7 heading into the fourth, the Grizzlies cruised to victory with Jerod Steen adding the final tally on a 28 yard touchdown run. Of Hoquiam’s 179 total yards of offense, only 10 came in the air, grinding away at the Rockets defense.
As the offense exploded, the defense also stepped up. Kenny Wakefield pulled in an interception and ran it back 45 yards. Carlstrom tallied two sacks and seven tackles. Tahj Malone logged 10 tackles, two for loss.
Special teams also came up big, with Dante Lopez blocking a punt to go along with six tackles on defense. Moore credited special teams coach Jeff Gates for his efforts.
“They won us a lot of field position tonight,” Moore said.
Moore also praised the rest of his coaching staff. “Jeremy McMillan and Ed Dawson did a good job of getting the kids the finish. And coach Cameron Parker and coach Eric Dixon did a great job with the offense,” Moore added. “They grew up a little tonight.”
The lone score for the Rockets (2-3) came on a 32-yard fourth down pass in the second quarter. Hoquaim’s only successful point-after attempt came in the first quarter, kicked by Tyler White after his own touchdown.
The Grizzlies welcome Elma to Olympic Stadium on Friday.