BOTHELL — A youthful Monroe High School football team suffered some lumps Thursday night, falling 38-14 to the Woodinville Falcons in a non-league game at Pop Keeney Stadium.
The Falcons, ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press 4A state poll, used their relentless running game to dominate time of possession and wear down the Monroe defense. Woodinville (2-0) ran the ball 64 times for 338 yards, and overall the Falcons had 74 offensive plays compared to just 42 for Monroe.
Monroe (0-2) was able to stay close early, thanks in large part to stiff defensive stands deep in its own territory. But because of the large amount of time the defense was on the field the Bearcats were unable to sustain their defensive efforts late into the game. Woodinville only led 10-7 at halftime, but four consecutive touchdowns over a 16-minute period spanning the third and fourth quarters turned the game into a rout.
Overall Monore was outgained 400-173.
This was a game between two teams that advanced in the 4A state playoffs last year — Woodinville finished as the state runner-up, Monroe reached the quarterfinals — but suffered heavy losses due to graduation. This was a chance for both teams to gauge how they’ve replenished. For the Bearcats, who have just eight seniors listed on their roster, there’s work to do to catch up to the level of previous years’ teams. Meanwhile, Woodinville reaffirmed its early-season ranking by knocking off a state team from last year.
Monroe had its chance in the third quarter. Trailing 17-7, the Bearcats put together their best sustained offensive drive of the game, reaching the Woodinville 6-yard line. But Monroe was stuffed on a fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak, and the Falcons responded with a 94-yard touchdown drive that essentially put the game out of the Bearcats’ reach. It was a decisive moment, but given the slant of the game the Bearcats would have had a difficult task even had they scored there.
Joey Johnson, Woodinville. The diminutive junior running back carried 30 times for 173 yards and two touchdowns.
Nolan Downs, Woodinville. The senior running back carried 12 times for 82 yards and two TDs, and also had an interception.
Blake Rybar, Monroe. The junior running back was Monroe’s lone source of offense, rushing 16 times for 106 yards.
Trey Lane, Monroe. The sophomore receiver returned a kickoff for the touchdown that made it a 10-7 game late in the second quarter, fielding the ball along the left sideline on a bounce at full speed, darting past the first line of defense, then outlasting the rest of the coverage as he rumbled into the right corner of the end zone for a 74-yard score.
Both teams begin league play next week, and both do so in the most difficult manner possible.
Monroe opens Wesco 4A play by hosting the league’s traditional power, Lake Stevens, which is ranked No. 6 in the 4A state poll. The last time the Bearcats beat the Vikings was in 2012. Lake Stevens beat Monroe 38-12 last year in the final week of the regular season to claim the league championship.
Meanwhile, Woodinville begins Kingco 4A play with a trip to Mount Si, which is the third-ranked team in the 4A state poll. So neither team receives an opportunity to ease itself into the league schedule.