ELMA — It didn’t take long for Montesano to establish its dominance against Elma on Friday night.
Running for 199 yards in the first half, the Bulldogs took over the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball to quickly and completely take care of their rivals for a 47-7 Evergreen 1A football victory in the East County Civil War at Davis Field.
Montesano (5-1, 7-2) ran for 383 yards and finished with 489 yards of offense to secure the No. 2 seed going into next week’s district crossover games. The Bulldogs will host Castle Rock at Stewart Field on Friday night. Elma (3-3, 4-5) will be the No. 4 seed and will hit the road to face Trico League champion LaCenter on Friday.
“It was outstanding everywhere tonight,” Montesano head coach Terry Jensen said. “We played fast and worked on our tempo. We did a great job of moving the ball. Defensively, we never allowed them to get into a rhythm. We played pretty flawless tonight. I don’t know if this was our best game, but it probably ranks in the top two or three.”
“Montesano played pretty good and they’re better than we are,” Elma head coach Jim Hill said. “I’m pretty disappointed in our performance.”
Both teams knew what the other side was going to do. Unfortunately for Elma, it couldn’t do anything to stop Montesano’s potent rushing attack. And, it all started at the line of scrimmage.
Rushing behind offensive linemen Drew Helms, Jacob Sampair, Evan Bialkowsky, Nathan Nussbaum and Cody Sampair, Bulldog running backs Elliot Mendenhall and Tucker Ibabao had plenty of running space to roam. Quarterback Matthew Jensen also benefited from the space, as well as time to throw against Elma’s defense.
On four first-quarter drives, Montesano ran 23 times for 199 yards and three touchdowns. Elma did get a bit of work in on defense, holding the Bulldogs on fourth down at the Eagles’ 4-yard line with just under six minutes left in the quarter.
The Bulldogs’ first drive was initially stopped at the Monte 38-yard line, but a running-into-the-punter penalty on the Eagles restarted the drive. Three plays later, Mendenhall scored from 8 yards out for a 6-0 lead.
Elma could have slowed down Montesano by keeping the ball on offense, but only produced one first down and 8 yards overall in the frame. The Bulldogs flipped the field after being stopped at the 4-yard line, holding the hosts to a three-and-out.
From the Elma 30, it took just five plays, capped by an Ibabao 4-yard touchdown run with 4:04 left to get onto the board. A hook-and-ladder 2-point conversion — Jensen pass to wide receiver Ben Ohashi, who flipped to Mendenhall — made it 14-0.
Montesano made it 20-0 late in the quarter on an 80-yard drive. Ibabao’s 27-yard sprint through the middle, including a hurdle of an Elma defender, highlighted the drive. Shad Rogers’ 10-yard run up the middle scored the touchdown, his only carry of the quarter.
Ibabao ran for 87 yards on nine carries in the first quarter, with Mendenhall adding 40 yards and Jensen 62 yards. Ibabao finished the first half with 140 yards and capped his night with a 71-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter for a 211-yard night on 16 carries.
“The biggest part of our improvement this year as a team has come from our offensive line and that’s a tribute to coaches Brian Hollatz, Jeff Klinger and Eric Stanfield,” Coach Jensen said. “(The linemen have) come amazingly far this season. We thought we’d have to be balanced, with (Elma) trying to stop the run. The line opened holes and our running backs ran really hard, Tucker especially.”
With the running game firmly established, Montesano mixed in the passing game in the second quarter. Matthew Jensen threw two touchdowns in the frame — a 17-yard strike to Mendenhall early and an 8-yard pitch-and-catch to Ohashi late. The senior signal caller finished with 106 yards passing on 7-of-9 attempts and two scores and 64 yards rushing and one touchdown, a 9-yard keeper midway through the second.
Jensen’s toss to Ohashi established a 41-0 halftime score and secured the 40-point mercy rule running clock throughout the second half.
Ibabao’s scoring run 2 1/2 minutes into the second half ended Montesano’s first-team efforts and its scoring.
Elma’s passing game was present, but the deficit and field position made it tough for the hosts to gain traction. Quarterback Layne Sutten was sacked four times, three in the first quarter, and finished with a respectable 71 yards on 11-of-24 attempts, one touchdown and one interception.
The Sutten touchdown throw was the final play of the game, a 7-yard toss to Alex Carillo to break the shutout.
Running back Brian Maslen found room to run in the second half against Monte’s second unit defense to gain 100 yards on 25 carries on the night.