MONROE — After a sluggish start against Snohomish last week, the Monroe football team was looking for a better start against visiting Jackson on Friday night.
It could hardly have been much better.
Monroe led 21-0 less than six minutes into the game, 35-7 after one quarter, and the Bearcats never let up the rest of the way, burying the Timberwolves 62-20 in a Wesco 4A contest.
“We took a step forward,” said first-year Monroe coach Brett Jay, whose team improved to 4-0. “I thought we came out better than we had the first three games. And that was one of our goals, to come out strong.”
The game was played in occasional rain, but the drippy weather did little to slow the Bearcats. Monroe had eight offensive possessions in the first half and scored touchdowns on the first seven. The team’s only non-scoring possession of the opening half was a single play to run out the clock before halftime.
The Bearcats not only scored often, they scored quickly. Two of their first-half touchdowns came on the first play from scrimmage. Three other scoring drives needed just two plays to reach the end zone.
In addition, Monroe had a defensive TD in the first half with an interception return. It gave the Bearcats three one-snap scoring plays in the first half and six first-half TDs on a total of nine snaps.
The only two scoring marches of the first half lasting longer than two plays were a five-play, 85-yard drive to start the game, and a seven-play, 48-yard drive later in the first period.
“We started off fast,” Monroe quarterback Andrew Zimmerman said. “Last weekend against Snohomish it took us about the first quarter to get going. This time we came out hot and never looked back.”
On a night when plenty of Bearcats played well, two in particular stood out. Zimmerman, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior, passed the ball 14 times and completed 11 for 266 yards and four touchdowns. He went to the sidelines after the opening offensive drive of the second half, which was played with a running clock given the 41-point halftime lead.
Also leaving the game after the initial series of the second half was 6-0, 200-pound sophomore running back JJ Jerome, who had nine carries for 151 yards. The elusive Jerome had touchdown runs of 8, 31, 9 and 36 yards, all in the first half, and tacked on a 25-yard TD reception early in the third quarter.
In their four victories this season, the Bearcats have steadily been more convincing from one game to the next. They defeated Oak Harbor by two points in the opener, Stanwood by 14 points in Week 2, Snohomish by 26 points last week, and now a 42-point margin against Jackson.
“We’re trying to get better one play at a time,” Jay said. “I can’t tell you how hard our young men are working day in and day out, and hard work pays off.
“We’re tough and we’re gritty,” he added, “and we’re trying to play together … and play as a family.”
Monroe still has some tough games ahead, of course, but this is obviously a team with plenty of potential.
“It’s a team that believes,” Zimmerman said. “We’re just a bunch of believers. We believe in our coach and the coach believes in us. Everyone’s buying in.”
At Monroe H.S.
Jackson 7 7 6 0 — 20
Monroe 35 20 7 0 — 62
M—Jacob Jerome 8 run (Tanner Ohlsen kick)
M—Jerome 31 run (Ohlsen kick)
M—Dillon Fargo 16 interception return (Ohlsen kick)
M—Isaiah Cole 27 pass from Andrew Zimmerman (Tanner Ohlsen kick)
J—Keynan Foster 39 pass from Alex Cheesman (Chandler Woolley kick)
M—Tristan Lund 56 pass from Zimmerman ( Ohlsen kick)
M—Zach Zimmerman 47 pass from Andrew Zimmerman (kick blocked)
M—Jerome 9 run (Ohlsen kick)
M—Jerome 36 run (Ohlsen kick)
J—Peyton Sheppard 9 pass from Cheesman (Woolley kick)
J—Sheppard 28 pass from Cheesman (bad snap)
M—Jerome 25 pass from Andrew Zimmerman (Tanner Ohlsen kick)
Records—Jackson 0-2 league, 1-3 overall. Monroe 2-0, 4-0.