MONTESANO — The Grays Harbor skies held off just long enough to let the opening ceremonies conclude and naturally dumped on the opening kick-off of the Montesano-Hoquiam 1A Evergreen League football game.
“You have to block out the elements in a game like this, and that is not easy to do especially with high school kids. For us it was trying to come out and operate without messing up,” said Montesano head coach Terry Jensen.
In spite of the occasional bungle from both sides in the slippery contest, Montesano did just that and was able to come away with a 35-0 win on the Grizzlies’ home turf — Olympic Stadium — on Sept. 20.
The Bulldogs are 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the Evergreen 1A League, as are Elma and Rochester, each winning their opening league games this past Friday night.
For Montesano, there might have been a little redemption, having lost to the Grizzlies early last season, as the Bulldogs opened up their initial series with a Noah Ewing to Tristan Darst touchdown pass against a lackluster Hoquiam defense just minutes into the game. The score was accentuated with a 2-point conversion pitch-out to Jacob Sampair, and the Bulldogs were leading, 8-0.
Running back Anthony Louthan accounted for just over 200 yards of the team’s total offense of 420 and a pair of scores. Senior running back Jacob Sampair finished just short of 140 yards rushing on 20 carries and a touchdown plus a 2-point conversion. Ewing took in the final score for Montesano, squeezing through the line from 2-yards out.
As the Grizzly defense had trouble containing the Montesano offense, both teams experienced the saturated conditions of Olympic Stadium. Several fumbles were encountered on both sides as the teams had to deal with continual rain, though most were recovered by the team that let it slip away.
The Grizzlies did amass 170 yards on offense.
Montesano led the Grizzlies at the half, 15-0, but the Bulldogs looked weary.
“We talked about that a little bit at halftime and we were just not excited. It’s Friday night and you don’t get too many of those in a year and they came out and played really really well in the second half,” said Jensen.
With another 20 points during the second half, the Bulldogs got their revenge for last season’s loss.
Montesano will host Woodland at Aberdeen on Sept. 26, a Thursday night at 7 p.m. Scheduling conflicts prompted the midweek game to ensure a full schedule for the Bulldogs.