This was supposed to be Tenino’s best chance at ending two decades worth of Montesano frustration.
Many believed the Bulldogs’ defense this season had taken a step back from its usual platinum standard, and would be tested by the Beavers’ deadly quarterback-receiver combination of Mac Shaw and Devante Harris.
Yes, Montesano’s defense isn’t duplicating the numbers of recent teams, but when the bar is set so high, even if you fall a touch short you’re still pretty exceptional.
The visiting Bulldogs were able to bottle up Harris, holding Tenino’s multiple-threat speedster out of the end zone for the first time this season, and hounded Shaw throughout en route to a convincing 50-7 victory over the Beavers in 1A Southwest Washington Evergreen play on Friday.
“That’s a championship team, a championship program we faced tonight,” Tenino coach Jeff Zenisek said. “They do it the right way.”
Shaw and Harris were both held well below their seasonal averages as Shaw completed 11 of 24 passes for 59 yards with two interceptions with Harris grabbing three catches for 21 yards.
“We came into this game expecting to win,” Zenisek said. “I don’t think we got outplayed. We made far too many mistakes. Mistakes that we should be making the first couple weeks of the season, not this late in the year.”
Shaw, who was sacked four times, did find success on the ground, rushing for 157 yards on 22 carries and setting up his own 1-yard scoring plunge with a 69-yard run.
However, by the time Shaw got the Beavers on the scoreboard early in the fourth quarter, the game was already decided.
Tucker Ibabao scored on runs of 15 and 33 yards, helping the Bulldogs establish a 31-0 lead through three quarters.
The Beavers struggled offensively in the first half as they trailed 24-0 at halftime.
Shaw, who entered the contest averaging more than 300 passing yards a game, completed just 3 of 5 passes for 17 yards in the opening half – two of those completions coming on short-gaining shuffle passes.
The Bulldogs were equally successful preventing Harris from getting going early, holding the senior to just one reception for 5 yards and 1 yard rushing on five carries in the first half.
Matthew Jensen ran it in from 1 yard out and hit Elliot Mendenhall on a 21-yard TD pass during Montesano’s 17-point second quarter, which Anthony Louthan capped by drilling a 29-yard field goal.
The Bulldogs, who have not lost to Tenino in more than 20 years, have outscored the Beavers 419-47 in the last nine games combined while posting four shutouts.
Montesano improved to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in league with losses coming to No. 5-ranked 1A Hoquiam (41-14) and No. 6-ranked Cascade Christian (28-25).
Despite the setback, Tenino (5-2, 3-1) can still claim a share of the league title but would need to knock off undefeated Hoquiam on the road next week and have a handful of scenarios occur for that to happen.