Evergreen controls its own playoff destiny

Evergreen opened the season with a solid win over Columbia River and now the Plainsmen will meet Heritage in Week 2.

Plainsmen can clinch playoff berth with one more win

Evergreen Plainsmen (4-3, 2-1 3A GSHL)

Week 1: Evergreen 26, Columbia River 13
Week 2: Heritage 34, Evergreen 7
Week 3: Evergreen 12, Hudson’s Bay 7
Week 4: Evergreen 9, Black Hills 6
Week 5: Prairie 28, Evergreen 23
Week 6: Evergreen 56, Fort Vancouver 13
Week 7: Union 49, Evergreen 6

Next: vs. Kelso, 4:30 p.m. Friday at McKenzie Stadium

The Plainsmen get back to games that really matter after falling in a non-league game against Union.

Sweet return:

Zyell Griffin got Evergreen its points last week with an 88-yard kickoff return.

Obviously there was some good blocking here. Long returns rarely happen without good blocking.

But what stood out to me was that the hole that Griffin took was small. He had to “squeeze” himself into that spot, then get through that area, and he was off to the end zone.

It takes a lot of courage and faith to run into a small hole. Often times, those holes get swallowed up quick by the coverage team. In this case, no defender got past the blocking, and Griffin’s faith in his teammates was rewarded with a long TD.

Evergreen needs one win in its final two games to clinch a playoff berth. Here, Jerontae Burns (5) battles for yardage in a game earlier this season against Heritage. Photo by Mike Schultz
Evergreen needs one win in its final two games to clinch a playoff berth. Here, Jerontae Burns (5) battles for yardage in a game earlier this season against Heritage. Photo by Mike Schultz

Defensive gems:

OK, there weren’t many for Evergreen in this one. But Evergreen did force and three-and-out on the first possession of the second half.

On the first-down play, Jacob Tillman ran down the ball carrier. Tillman did not get the tackle, but he caused the loss of a yard on the play when he turned the ball carrier into the grasp of Alex Rodriguez.

There was a similar result on second down.

This time, Tillman chased the ball carrier from the other side, caught the ball carrier and brought him down with the help of Alex Alexander for a short gain.

Next play, the Evergreen defense swarmed over a short pass and tackled the receiver well short of the line to gain.

Back to league:

Now it’s time for the Plainsmen to get back into league play. They have a huge one Friday against Kelso. Both teams are 2-1 in league play.

Evergreen is looking to win one or both of the next two games in order to avoid a three-way tie for third place. That happened last year with Evergreen, Prairie, and Hudson’s Bay, and if there are no “surprises” in the final two weeks, those three just might have to have another tiebreaker.

Coach Speak:

What did Terry Hyde think of the Week 7 game against Union? “Glad that chapter in Evergreen football is finally over.”
(The coach noted earlier in the season that the game is not a favorite of his, having to take on a Class 4A non-league game just before the two biggest league opponents on the schedule.)

MVP on offense: Well, in this case, special teams,’’ Hyde said. “Zyell Griffin for his 88-yard kickoff return for touchdown.

MVP on defense: Alex Alexander for his 10 tackles, 7 unassisted, with two for loss.

Thoughts on Week 8 vs. Kelso: “Traditional Kelso team,’’ Hyde said. “Physical and disciplined.”

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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