ELMA — While longtime and loyal Elma High football fans will long have memories of Davis Field, which hosted its last football game Friday night, they may want to forget the final game.
With a shot to clinch at least a share of their first Evergreen 1A League title since 2005, the Eagles laid an egg on their home field, falling to arch-rival Montesano in the annual Civil War clash, 42-14, before a standing-room-only crowd of about 1,500 fans.
While the sixty-something-year-old grandstands are scheduled to be torn down this summer, it was the Bulldogs who tore through Davis Field on Friday night.
From the end of the first quarter on, the Bulldogs dominated the game — especially on the offensive line — wracking up just over 300 yards rushing in the first half with junior running back Anthony Louthan leading the way and senior backfield mates Jacob Sampair and Noah Ewing chipping in numerous big plays on Senior Night for the Bulldogs, who were originally supposed to host this game.
And Montesano needed this win. Forks, which could have knocked the Bulldogs out if Elma had won, edged out Hoquiam, 10-7.
As it stood, Tenino (5-1, 5-4) came away with a 37-27 victory over Rochester for its first league title in football since 1986. This moved Montesano, with a tiebreaker edge over both Elma (4-2, 5-4) and Rochester (4-2, 6-3), up to the league’s No. 2 spot and a home game at Aberdeen’s Stewart Field next Friday night against Kalama.
Louthan ran for 323 yards and three touchdowns to power the Bulldog rushing attack, with Sampair adding 106 yards on 14 carries and two scores.
Elma, which had a shot at claiming a share of the league title with a win and the No. 1 league seed with Tenino’s win, will now be the league’s No. 4 team and will get a road game this weekend against TricoLeague champion LaCenter.
The Bulldogs drew first blood on Friday night, scoring on their second possession. The drive was highlighted by a 22-yard run by Sampair, followed by a 30-yard Louthan bolt a few plays later. On third and 3 from the Elma 4-yard line, Louthan scored his first touchdown of the night on a run up the middle. His extra-point attempt failed, and Monte led 6-0 with 4:23 left in the first quarter.
The Eagles took over and made one of their rare excursions into the red zone, but turned the ball over on downs at the Montesano 4-yard line.
Montesano took over and drove the length of the field — the big-play a 51-yard scamper by Louthan — in eight plays. This time Sampair scored on a 1-yard run and Louthan ran in the two-point conversion for a 14-0 Monte lead a minute into the second quarter.
But Elma responded on its next drive, mostly on the strength of solid running by senior Todd Swinhart. Quarterback Ryan Collin scored on a quarterback keeper with 7:36 left in the first half. The extra point narrowed the score to 14-7 in favor of Montesano.
From there, the Bulldog defense dominated, rarely allowing Elma to threaten their end zone.
Meanwhile, the Montesano offense continued to chew up yards in big chunks.
The Bulldogs’ next drive was highlighted by nice passes from quarterback Ewing to Sampair (for 17 yards), to Louthan for 16 yards on a crossing route and then a quick sideline toss to sophomore Keegan Darst, who slipped a tackle and bolted down the far sideline for a 23-yard TD catch-and-run. The extra point was missed, but the Bulldogs held a 20-7 lead with 3:05 left in the first half.
On their ensuing possession, the Eagles worked their way to the Monte 36-yard line, but an Elma passe was tipped by Montesano’s Sampair and teammate Logan Truax came down with the interception.
Montesano moved back into Elma territory on a 31-yard run by Louthan and scored a few plays later on Sampair’s 2-yard TD burst. Sampair then made a leaping catch in the corner of the end zone on the two-point try for a 28-7 lead with just 30 seconds left in the first half.
The Bulldogs picked up right where they left off, taking the second-half kickoff and going 67 yards in three plays, a 20-yard run by Sampair was followed by a 49-yard Louthan TD run. The extra point made it 35-7 just over a minute into the second half.
Elma managed to sustain a drive late in the third quarter and narrowed the margin on a 1-yard TD run by Collin. The successful extra point made it 35-14 in favor of the Bulldogs with 15 seconds left in the third quarter.
On their next possession, the Bulldogs drove methodically downfield and Louthan broke off a 31-yard run on 4th-and-1 to the Eagle 2-yard line. From there, he ran it in untouched on first down. The extra point was good for a 42-14 score and some playing time the rest of the way for the second teams of both squads.
With the victory, the Bulldogs clinched a postseason berth, as the Eagles had done the week before.
The Daily World contributed to this story.