MONROE — The No. 8-ranked Bearcats wasted no time erasing any thought of late-game drama or competitive intrigue during its matchup with fellow Wesco 4A league unbeaten Glacier Peak.
Monroe during the first 2 minutes, 20 seconds scored twice, converted consecutive two-point conversions, recovered an onside kick and the Grizzlies hadn’t touched the ball.
How’s that for a fast start?
“That was our goal, just to set the tone,” Monroe coach Michael Bumpus said. “It’s our homecoming, so these boys are playing with a lot of emotion, and it was a feel thing. I thought the boys could handle it. They were handling the moment. We had momentum going, and why not?”
Quarterback Jaedyn Prewitt threw four touchdown passes, senior Isaiah Cole made a triumphant return from an offseason ACL injury and the Bearcats defense harassed Glacier Peak league-leading passer Ayden Ziomas all night to earn a 57-0 homecoming win Friday night at Monroe High School.
Prewitt finished 13-of-18 for 243 yards with TD passes 15, 28, 37 and 50 yards. Twice he connected for scores with his favorite target, sophomore wideout Efton Chism III, who caught four balls for 138 yards. Standout back Isaiah Lewis ran for 147 yards and a score on 14 carries, but the feel-good story of the night was the return of Cole, who was playing for the first time since injuring his knee during offseason 7-on-7 competition.
Cole caught a screen pass and scored from 15 yards out in the first quarter before picking off a Ziomas pass and returning it 60 yards for his second TD of the first half.
“It’s been a long process,” said Cole of his journey back to playing football. “I’m happy to back. I wouldn’t rather be with any other team. I love my boys; they’re my brothers.”
While the blowout win is just another in a growing list of lopsided Bearcat victories, Bumpus called this one the most complete. Besides strong offensive and special teams play, Monroe’s defense completely overwhelmed Glacier Peak (2-1 Wesco 4A, 3-2).
Ziomas completed just 2-of-16 passes for 69 yards, and combined with backup QB Colton St. Jean, GP was 2-of-23 passing. Much of the credit goes to a stifling pass rush and secondary work from the likes of Brett Silvey, Chism III and Lewis.
Chism III got the Bearcats (3-0, 5-0) started, capping off a four-play, 80-yard touchdown drive with a 37-yard TD reception from Prewitt. The sophomore, who is enjoying an incredible season, broke at least four tackles on his way to the end zone.
Silvey recovered an onside kick on the ensuring kickoff, and four plays later the Bearcats again were celebrating in the end zone thanks to Cole’s 15-yard catch-and-run.
Minutes later the senior’s pick-six extended Monroe’s lead to 22-0 with 4:57 to play in the first quarter. The interception was one of the many headaches Monroe’s defense gave Ziomas, who started the game 0-for-9.
With Ziomas under constant pressure and missing wideouts, the Grizzlies’ offense struggled mightily, amassing only 34 total yards of first-half offense.
A Blake Rybar 2-yard TD run gave Monroe a 28-0 lead with 9:33 to play in the second quarter, and on the following possession wide receiver Jason Cyr used his height to out-jump a Glacier Peak cornerback and haul in a 28-yard touchdown pass from Prewitt to put the Bearcats on top 36-0 with 4:49 to go until halftime.
Chism III ended the Bearcats’ 42-point first half with a 50-yard TD pass from Prewitt — the senior QB’s fourth during the first 24 minutes. Chism III broke free behind the Glacier Peak secondary, caught a pass right in stride and sprinted across the goal line to prompt the second half running clock.
“The running game scares a lot of people,” Prewitt said, “and if they are going to open up the passing game for us then we are going to take advantage.”
A 35-yard fumble return for touchdown by Lucas Rhodes gave the Bearcats a 50-0 lead with 10:12 to play in the third, and a 16-yard Lewis TD put Monroe in front 57-0 at the 1:06 third-quarter mark.