By Nate Thompson
The Wildcats turned in an impressive defensive showing in the second half against Ravenna on Thursday, keeping big-play quarterback David Thompson under wraps and limiting the Bulldogs to 99 combined yards in the third and fourth quarters in their 35-7 victory.
Montague improved to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the WMC, while Ravenna fell to 1-1 and 0-1.
“Every day at practice we talked about Thompson – Thompson’s the guy, Thompson’s the threat,” said Montague receiver/linebacker Josh Weesies. “The guys got that in their heads today and we were able to shut him down. It was good.”
Thompson, Ravenna’s 6-foot, 195-pound senior quarterback, managed 72 yards rushing on 18 attempts, but was kept out of the end zone. He was also limited to 31 yards passing, all in the first half.
Thompson was 0-for-6 passing in the second half, when he had little time to set his feet and find open receivers.
Meanwhile, Montague first-year signal caller Dylan Stever had his second solid contest to open the season. He completed 11-of-21 passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns, after throwing six TD passes last week.
Montague had a 14-7 lead at halftime, then Stever led Montague’s biggest drive to start the third quarter.
The Wildcats had great field position following a nice kick return, and Stever finished it off, connecting on a 15-yard touchdown pass to Kenyan Johnson to give Montague some breathing room.
Stever and the ‘Cats put the game away early in the fourth when the quarterback connected with his favorite target – Weesies – on a 15-yard touchdown pass to put Montague up 28-7.
“I thought he did a really good job tonight,” Montague coach Pat Collins said of his senior quarterback. “We weren’t able to execute offensively like we’d like to, but we had a lot of new guys out there. We’re only going to get better. Obviously, Dylan can really spin the ball, and his decision-making is helping our offense produce.”
Montague’s Bryce Stark broke off a 91-yard touchdown run with 2:09 remaining to put the finishing touches on a one-sided second half.
The game was closer in the first half. Ravenna moved the ball effectively on the ground, but was plagued by costly mistakes and an inability to convert in the red zone.
Montague, on the other hand, made the most of its chances before halftme. It picked up a pair of big runs by speedy junior Eddie Caviedes late in the first quarter, and Stever’s one-yard sneak put the Wildcats up 6-0.
On Ravenna’s ensuing offensive series, the Bulldogs fumbled right into the hands of Montague’s 300-pound junior nose tackle, Frankie Gurerrero, giving the Wildcats outstanding field position.
On the very next play, Weesies elevated over a Bulldogs defensive back in the corner of the end zone to haul in a 25-yard touchdown pass. Stever then connected with Weesies on a quick slant for the 2-point conversion, putting Montague up 14-0.
“Dylan’s my best friend,” Weesies said. “In my opinion, he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the state. We had some trouble (with turnovers) during the summer in 7-on-7s, and coach sat him down and talked with him. We told him, ‘We’re here to catch the ball. Just get it to us.’ He’s been great so far.”
Weesies led a balanced cast of Montague receivers with four catches for 63 yards, while Caviedes was the most consistent performer on the ground with 76 yards on 14 carries.
Ravenna got on the board midway through the second quarter on a one-yard touchdown plunge from Camron Passenier, cutting the Wildcat lead to 14-7, but its offense never managed another serious scoring threat.
“Our defense was solid in the second half,” Collins said. “It was team defense (in slowing down Thompson). We really didn’t put just one guy on him. He’s such a good athlete that he’s capable of breaking one at any time. But everyone knew where he was at, and we had more than one guy on him on almost every play.”