But after Thursday's 29-7 victory against River Ridge at Fouts Field, a presumed weakness is turning out to be a strength. With Chehalis winning the battle in the trenches, the Bearcats rushed for 177 yards, passed for another 152 yards and had a 329-192 edge in total offense.
"I wasn't sure how we'd do up front, but our O-line has really come through," Chehalis quarterback Griffin Squires said. "They're really opening the holes."
Squires, a returning starter who is being recruiting by Eastern Washington and Idaho, completed 10 of 18 passes, including a 46-yard touchdown pass to Lucas Strobach for a 22-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
"Our biggest question mark was our offensive line," Chehalis coach Bob Wollan said. "They have really come through."
Chehalis drove inside River Ridge's 20 three times and River Ridge's defense stopped them. On the Bearcats' first possession, they faced fourth-and-3 from the Hawks' 10-yard line and dropped a pass in the end zone.
"We moved the ball up and down the field pretty well, but we've got to do a better job of getting into the end zone," Wollan said.
Chehalis, which led 22-0 at halftime, improved to 3-0. River Ridge, which has been outscored 87-20 this season, dropped to 0-3.
For now, River Ridge coach Steve Schultz isn't measuring progress in wins and losses.
"Even though the scoreboard doesn't show it, we're getter better," Schultz said. "We're better than we were last week. These are great young men. I'm proud of them."
River Ridge's Ross Creamer, who was making his first start at quarterback, continued to show improvement. After completing 4 of 10 passes for 33 yards in the first half, Creamer completed 7 of 8 for 97 yards in the second.
Creamer's 25-yard touchdown pass to Amir Dunn with 1:43 left in the game snapped a streak of 10 scoreless quarters for the Hawks.
"Ross Creamer has been a quarterback for three weeks," Schultz said. "He's getting better. Right now, we're keeping things simple."
Creamer switched from wide receiver to quarterback this season and was thrown into the starting role when Josh Rood broke his collarbone during the second series of last week's 31-0 loss to North Thurston.
"I love quarterback," Creamer said. "It's a matter of experience. There's so much more for the quarterback to know."
It was Chehalis' young defense that got the Bearcats on the scoreboard first. On third-and-7 from the Hawks' own 8, Creamer fumbled when he was blindsided as he dropped back to pass.
Defensive lineman Mason Witters pounced on the fumble in the end zone for the game's first score with 6:43 left in the first quarter.
"Hitting is contagious," Wollan said. "Guys were feeding off it. If you don't hit, you can't be good."
By halftime, Chehalis had its 22-0 lead and had a 243-55 edge in total offense, and the Bearcats' defense had allowed just two first downs.
"I was impressed with our young defense," Wollan said.
Midway through the third quarter, Squires scored on a 14-yard run on fourth-and-3, capping a seven-play, 52-yard drive to give the Bearcats a 29-0 lead.
Next up for Chehalis is Tumwater, which is undefeated going into tonight's home game against Aberdeen.
"I'll be studying a lot of film this week," Squires said.