MONTESANO — Rallying with a stout finish wasn't the problem.
But the start was.
Outscoring eighth-seeded Montesano 15-3 in the second half, No. 9 Toppenish made a big charge to take this one to the final seconds but came up short 24-22 in the first round of the Class 1A state football playoffs Friday night.
Down 21-7 at halftime, the Wildcats shaved the deficit to one score when Santana Luna hauled in a 14-yard touchdown pass from Josh Perez with 3:44 left in the third quarter.
Montesano's response proved crucial as the Bulldogs knocked through a 22-yard field goal to start the fourth quarter.
After an interception and turnover on downs foiled their next two possessions, the Wildcats finally cashed in with 2:09 left when Timmy Torres scored on a short run and Perez threw a two-point conversion pass.
Montesano then recovered an onside kick attempt and ran out the clock on its home field.
Perez finished 23 of 39 for 226 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. The Wildcats outgained Montesano 313-182.
In the program's 33rd state appearance and 16th in a row, Montesano (9-2) advances to next week's quarterfinals to face the winner of Saturday's Cascade Christian-Royal game.
Toppenish finished its season at 8-3.
Topp — Shane Rivera 13 pass from Josh Perez (Isaac Villanueva kick)
Monte — Kaleb Ames 29 pass from Jayden McElravy (Felix Romero kick)
Monte — Ames 1 run (Romero kick)
Monte — McElravy 1 run (Romero kick)
Topp — Santana Luna 14 pass from Josh Perez (Villanueva kick)
Monte — FG Romero 22
Topp — Timmy Torres 2 run (Nick Cortes Jr. pass from Perez)
RUSHING — Topp, Torres 8-32, Anthony Ozuna 4-23, Perez 9-20, Luna 1-9, Izaiah Maldonado 2-2, Adrian Villanueva 1-1. Monte, McElravy 20-51, Gabe Bodwell 9-36, Ethan Blundred 3-10, Bode Poler 3-1.
PASSING — Topp, Perez 23-39-3-226. Monte, McElravy 9-13-1-84.
RECEIVING — Topp, Maldonado 9-78, Rivera 5-47, Luna 4-41, Villanueva 3-42, Torres 2-1, Cortes Jr. 1-17. Monte, Ames 3-47, Tyler Johansen 3-9, Poler 2-19, Blundred 2-9.
EATONVILLE 28, ZILLAH 0: At Spanaway, Ky Nation scored on two breakaway plays in the second quarter spark the fourth-seeded Cruisers at Art Crate Stadium.
The 13th-seeded Leopards turned the ball over on downs inside Eatonville's 10 three times, including late in the first period when the game was scoreless.
Eatonville (8-1) advances to the quarterfinals to face No. 12 Freeman, a 28-7 winner over King's.
Zillah, which tied for the SCAC West title, finished 7-4.
Eaton — Ky Nation 59 run (Job Kralik kick)
Eaton — Nation 50 pass from Kralik (Kralik kick)
Eaton — Dylan Norman 7 run (Kralik kick)
Eaton — Rolla Schrimpsher 12 pass from Kralik (Kralik kick)
TOLEDO 48, KITTITAS 21: At Kelso, Geoffrey Glass rushed for 164 yards and three touchdowns to lead the fifth-seeded Indians, who scored six of their seven touchdowns on the ground.
Kittitas' Josiah Skindzier caught two touchdown passes from Josh Rosbach, including a 72-yarder on the second play of the game. Rosbach threw for 133 yards and ran for 27.
Toledo (9-1), which ran for 362 yards, moves on to next week's quarterfinals to face No. 4 Chewelah.
Kittitas, the EWAC West runner-up, finished 7-4.
In other first-round games, EWAC West champion Goldendale fell to Raymond-South Bend 22-7 and ended its season at 8-3.
Kitt — Josiah Skindzier 72 pass from Josh Rosbach (Marin kick)
Tol — Geoffrey Glass 12 run (Smith kick)
Tol — Glass 2 run (run failed)
Tol — Ethen Carver 13 run (Zane Ranney run)
Tol — Carver 18 run (Smith kick)
Tol — Austin Norris 6 run (Smith kick)
Kitt — Skindzier 30 pass from Rosbach (Marin kick)
Tol — Glass 1 run (kick blocked)
Tol — Trevin Gale 8 pass from Norris (Smith kick)
Kitt — Littler 16 run (Marin kick)
RUSHING — Kittitas, Littler 8-43, Rosbach 9-27, Skindzier 8-15. Toledo, Glass 27-164, Norris 11-59, Ranney 8-52, Gale 10-45, Carver 6-42.
PASSING — Kittitas, Rosbach 3-15-0-133. Toledo, Norris 4-8-1-74.
RECEIVING — Kittitas, Skindzier 2-102, Marin 1-31. Toledo, Glass 2-41, #24 1-25, Gale 1-8.