Cougs crush Entiat on the gridiron to return to state tournament
November 14, 2018
The Lyle-Wishram Cougars are back at the state football playoffs after last Saturday's thrashing of Entiat, marking the second straight year in two different classifications that the Cougs have reached the big dance.
With an offensive explosion and a stifling defensive effort over the second half, the Cougs cruised to a 77-22 win over the Tigers and will now face the Naselle Comets on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Woodland High School in the quarterfinals of the 1B State Gridiron Classic.
The Cougs are back after reaching the Class 2B tournament last year as an 11-man team. Last season, they fell in the opening round to Liberty, which went on to lose by one point in the championship game.
But with a trip to the quarterfinals on the line Saturday at the Apple Bowl in Wenatchee, the Cougs dominated from start to finish, scoring 11 touchdowns and limiting the Tigers to three scores, including just six points over the second half.
The Cougs started off early with some big plays, but the Tigers also were able to use the big play to their advantage.
After stopping the Tigers on their opening possession, it didn't take the Cougs long to find the endzone. After getting the ball, junior Brandon Montoya put the first points on the board after his 57 yard touchdown sprint, following it up with the two-point conversion run and an 8-0 lead about three minutes into the game.
However, the Tigers answered not too long after with an 87 yard touchdown reception that evened the score at eight after a successful two-point pass.
The Tigers would score again in the second quarter, but before then, the Cougs were able to build a two-possession lead which they held for the rest of the game.
Montoya scored two more touchdowns on the ground – one from eight yard out and the other from 86 – as the first quarter came to a close with the Cougs up 22-8. They added another score midway through the second quarter when senior Sam McCullough completed a 36 yard touchdown pass to senior Kurtis Billette for a 28-8 lead, but Entiat responded with another big play that went for a score. A 53 yard touchdown pass and two point conversion by the Tigers about two minutes after Lyle scored cut the Cougs' lead to 28-16, but that was the closest they came for the rest of the game.
Lyle-Wishram added two more touchdowns before the half on a one-yard run from Billette along with a 13-yard scamper from Montoya that gave the Cougs a comfortable 40-16 lead at the half, although they didn't let up with the three-score lead.
About a minute after receiving the kick to start the second half, Billette connected with McCullough for a 54 yard touchdown and not too long after found Montoya from 52 yards out for two quick touchdowns to open the half.
Those touchdowns, along with a two-point conversion run from Montoya and PAT kick from Billette made it 55-16 Cougs.
The Tigers scored once more on a 12 yard passing touchdown midway through the third but that was it.
Billette threw for three more touchdown passes – 70 yards to Montoya, 12 yards to freshman David Bernier, and six yards to senior Hunter Dawson – as the Cougs closed the Tigers out with the 77-22 win.
Last Saturday's win was Lyle-Wishram's third game in eight days. They have a week to recover and prepare for Naselle, a team that finished 9-1 overall and hasn't lost since Sept. 1.
The Cougs should be more than prepared though after playing the toughest schedule among eight-man teams. They played a couple 11-man games and some tough eight-man opponents, including Oregon's St. Paul, which still hasn't lost and is playing in the Oregon 1A semifinals this weekend. The 14 points Lyle-Wishram scored against St. Paul back on Oct. 18 was the second- most points scored against them throughout the regular season.
Other first round eight-man matchups will be Crescent vs. Almira-Coulee-Hartline, last year's state champ, Quilcene vs. Sunnyside Christian, last year's runner-up, and Neah Bay vs. No. 1 seeded Odessa.
The Cougs beat Crescent 60-0 on Sept. 15.
The entire Class 1B eight-man bracket can be viewed at http://www.wiaa.com/ardisplay.aspx?ID=1791.
Led by a heavy dosage of Montoya and a barrage of big plays, the Lyle-Wishram Cougars corralled the Garfield-Palouse Vikings 38-16 during Tuesday's play-in game, keeping their season alive for at least one more game.
Traveling over 260 miles east to Palouse last Tuesday morning, a back-and-forth first quarter turned into a Cougar blowout after the visitors held the Vikings scoreless over the final 36 minutes.
The Cougs struck first on a big play from Montoya. He ran the ball into the endzone from 54 yards out to put the Cougs up 6-0 after a failed two-point conversion, but it wasn't long before the Vikings answered. They went up 8-6 a few minutes later on a rushing score of their own, but another quick Cougar strike helped them regain the lead.
Quarterback Kurtis Billette found DaSean Leslie for a 30 yard score and Montoya ran in the two-point conversion to get the lead back at 14-8.
There was one more score in the high-powered first quarter, another rushing touchdown from the Vikings followed by two more points on the conversion, but after that it was all Cougs.
Trailing by two at 16-14, the Cougs rolled off a handful of big plays that helped put the game away.
Midway through the second, Montoya broke free for an 80 yard rushing touchdown that gave the Cougs the lead (20-16) for good going into halftime.
Montoya added back-to-back rushing scores from 55 and 20 yards respectively in the third and Sam McCullough put the game out of reach in the fourth with his 45 yard rushing score.