For state-ranked Woodland, it was an emphatic statement.
For reigning state champion Montesano, it is back to the drawing board.
Eli Whitmire accounted for more than 300 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns as unbeaten Woodland thumped Monte, 47-3, in a non-league football game Thursday night at Aberdeen’s Stewart Field.
Fourth-ranked among state 1A teams, the explosive Beavers improved to 4-0 for the season. They avenged a 49-7 drubbing at the hands of Monte last year — a victory that turned around the Bulldogs’ eventual state 1A championship season.
Ninth-rated Montesano (2-2) was on the losing end of a mercy-rule contest for the first time since the 40-point running clock provision was introduced three years ago. The final 10:41 was played under that regulation.
Accustomed to owning the edge in team speed, the Bulldogs was unable to match Woodland’s quickness in this one.
Whitmire, a relatively diminutive junior, had entered the contest having scored literally half the time he had touched the ball this season. He didn’t quite match that ratio Thursday but nevertheless proved unstoppable once he found open space.
He scored on swing passes from Hunter Huddleston that covered 55 and 73 yards, went the distance on a 54-yard option pitch and concluded his night by tallying on a 71-yard punt return.
In addition to his kick returns, Whitmire wound up with 112 yards rushing and 152 yards receiving.
Montesano coach Terry Jensen called the Beavers a potential state championship team but acknowledged that his club has yet to jell.
“They’re definitely the best team we’ve faced,” Jensen said. “We had a tough time matching up with them speed-wise. Our goal going into the game was to limit their big plays and they crushed us on that in the first half.
“They outplayed us and out-coached us, they did everything better than we did,” the Montesano coach added. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re making a lot of mistakes that are not characteristic of our program.”
Montesano moved the ball better than the score indicated, actually possessing a 14-10 advantage in first downs. The first half, however, represented a veritable perfect storm for the Bulldogs, who were victimized by long scoring plays, a blocked punt, fumbled kickoff return and a pick-six.
The Beavers needed only three plays following the opening kickoff to grab a permanent lead.
Taking a simple swing pass from Huddleston, Whitmire found a crease down the left sideline and was off to the races on a 55-yard pass-and-run. Dillan Beckwith tacked on the conversion.
The Beavers, who were not forced to punt until the third quarter, were slowed in the first half by three fumbles and 77 yards in penalties. Monte’s Riley Olsen recovered the first bobble on the Woodland 25-yard line midway through the opening quarter.
After Anthony Louthan’s 14-yard pass to Tristan Darst netted one first down, the Bulldogs stalled on the Beaver 4. Louthan booted a 21-yard field goal.
The Beavers then erupted for three touchdowns — Huddleston’s 73-yard pass to Whitmire and Huddleston’s scoring runs of 10 and 11 yards — in the final 3:56 of the quarter to go up 28-3.
Whatever comeback hopes Montesano may have retained vanished in the closing 2 1/2 minutes of the first half. Good gainers by Louthan and Jacob Sampair enabled the Bulldogs to reach the Woodland 8-yard line, but Trevor Huddleston intercepted a Louthan pass and returned it 97 yards for a backbreaking touchdown and a 34-3 halftime lead.
Montesano’s defense was more effective in the second half but Whitmire’s 54-yard scoring run (on a perfectly-timed option pitch from Huddleston) and 71-yard punt return brought the mercy rule into play.
Alternating between halfback and quarterback, Louthan rushed for 96 yards on 21 carries.
The Bulldogs return to Evergreen 1A League play Friday at Forks.
Wood 28 6 0 13 — 47 Monte 3 0 0 0 — 3
First Downs 10 14
Net Rushing 165 193
Net Passing 168 34
Total net yardage 333 227
Passing 6-7 7-18
Had Intercepted 0 1
Fumbles Lost 3 2
Yards penalized 92 21