The sixth-ranked Puyallup High School footblal team returned to the state playoffs for the first time in 11 years and was hoping to make a deep run.
Instead, it was its first round opponent, the Monroe Bearcats, who left the field with a 21-14 victory.
The win is the first ever state playoff win for Monroe. They never trailed in the game.
Led by Josh Jerome, a 6-2, 285 pound Eastern Washington commit, the Bearcats had a size advantage up front on both sides of the ball. They used that size to rack up 223 rushing yards in the game.
“Their offensive line is enormous,” said Puyallup head coach Gary Jeffers. “We had a hard time getting off the field. We had a couple of really great fourth down stands. I thought our defense really played well. We were just on the field a lot.”
The Bearcats kept the clock running and the high-paced Vikings offense off the field most of the night. Their offense ran 78 plays to Puyallup’s 53.
“Our goal coming in was to take time off the clock,” said Monroe head coach Michael Bumpus. “Because of their explosiveness, we felt that if we could get into a grinder, into an old school haymaker type deal, we had a chance.”
Isaiah Lewis was a handful for the Vikings, finishing the game with 219 yards on the ground. He had 21 carries for 100 yards in the first half.
Six of his runs went for 10 yards or more.
“Isaiah Lewis, remember that name,” said Bumpus, a former Washington State University wide receiver. “Schools who are sleeping on this kid right now, remember this kid’s name. He’s a gem. He’s a diamond in the rough. He carries us along with that O-line.”
Puyallup’s defense made the first statement of the game. After Monroe drove 75 yards on the opening drive, converting three third downs in the process, the Vikings held firm inside their 5 yard line to preserve the scoreless game.
The Vikings started their first drive quickly, getting to the Monroe 44-yard line in just five plays. The sixth play turned to disaster when Monroe recovered a Puyallup fumble at midfield after a sack.
A scoreless first quarter came to an end with Monroe on Puyallup’s 3 yard line. Ricky Baker scored on the first play of the second quarter.
While both teams continued to make their way into each other’s territory, neither could come away with more points until the final play of the half.
Puyallup’s Jacob Holcomb fired a 21-yard touchdown pass to Darius Morrison, who was double covered in the back corner of the end zone. The two teams were tied 7-7 heading into the locker rooms.
Despite their first drive of the half ending in a fumble, Monroe was still the first to score in the third quarter. Lewis capped off a 61-yard drive with a 3-yard run.
Puyallup answered on the following drive, going 64 yards. Kyle Cramer’s 6-yard touchdown run tied the score at 14.
Monroe responded with a 68-yard drive, milking 4:47 off the clock. Jaedyn Prewitt’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Cole put the Bearcats up for good.
Puyallup drove deep into Monroe territory but an interception at the 5 yard line ended their chances. A 27-yard completion by Monroe on third and 11 sealed their victory with just under a minute left.
“This is what I expected, I didn’t think it was going to be a blowout,” said Bumpus. “I thought it was going to be a hard-fought game and that’s exactly what it was.”
“The kids worked hard together, they believed in each other, we had family on this team,” Jeffers said. “It was a tough fought football game. Our kids fought till the end, it just didn’t quite go our way.”
Monroe (10-1) advances to the quarterfinals to face off against another SPSL foe, Sumner, which defeated Union 42-14.
Puyallup’s 4A SPSL title season ends at 9-2.
M – Ricky Baker 3-yard run (Valentin Gijon kick)
P – Darius Morrison 21-yard pass from Jacob Holcomb (Nathen Cutler kick)
M – Isaiah Lewis 3-yard run (Gijon kick)
P – Kyle Cramer 6-yard run (Cutler kick)
M – Isaiah Cole 14-yard pass from Jaedyn Prewitt (Gijon kick)
Rushing – Monroe: Isaiah Lewis 46-219; Puyallup: Kyle Cramer 22-122, Jacob Holcomb 10-64
Passing – Monroe: Jaedyn Prewitt 18-27-1-183; Puyallup: Jacob Holcomb 8-20-1-88
Receiving: - Monroe: Isaiah Cole 4-59, Efton Chism III 3-41, Isaiah Lewis 3-26; Puyallup: Darius Morrison 7-73