VANCOUVER — The Evergreen Plainsmen made sure there would be no late-game dramatics from the Hudson’s Bay Eagles.
Oh there was plenty of drama Friday night.
This year, though, the Plainsmen got to celebrate a Class 3A Greater St. Helens League football victory.
The Evergreen defense shut down Hudson’s Bay for the final three quarters and beat the Eagles 12-7 at McKenzie Stadium.
Nadil Hodzic caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from Brian Perez — one play after Hodzic recovered a loose ball on a kickoff — and Ely Del Angel, a freshman, kicked two field goals to give the Plainsmen all the offense they would need.
“We wanted revenge,” Hodzic said, recalling that Bay beat the Plainsmen on the final play of the game last season. “We kept telling ourselves this is our first step toward Week 10. That’s our goal.”
That would be a playoff berth. Any league win helps in that cause.
It also helps to have a defense on the rise and an offensive line that was up for the challenge.
Sometimes the best defense is keeping the ball away from the other team. From the 3-minute mark of the third quarter until the final minute of the fourth quarter, the Evergreen offense snapped the ball 23 times, while Hudson’s Bay offense had four plays.
“We could feel the pressure on us all the time,” lineman Alex Rodriguez said. “We knew it would be a dogfight. We stepped it up.”
Serge Rusnak, a defensive lineman, was a bit more descriptive.
“We knew we were going to get punched in the face, and we punched them right back,” he said.
One of those four Hudson’s Bay plays was a loss of 14 yards on a third-down snap that went awry. That led to the Eagles in punt formation from midfield, and Evergreen’s Dylan Goodpaster went unblocked to tackle the Bay punter for a loss of 12 more yards and a loss of downs.
“We played good defense all three games,” Goodpaster said, noting there were a few miscues last week against Heritage. “Today we just played like we usually do. That’s how we play.”
Evergreen got a first down to kill more clock before the Eagles took over at their own 20 with 51 seconds left in the game.
A host of Plainsmen were in the area, with Nick Rossmeisl getting in there for a sack on first down. Later, Evergreen’s David Crawford intercepted a fourth-down pass to seal the deal.
No late touchdown for the Eagles this year, but still a close one.
“I think I need another bypass,” Evergreen coach Terry Hyde said.
Of course, he had a happy heart after the game went final.
Rae Farr was in on a big play in the third quarter, getting a tackle for a loss of 3 yards to stop Bay’s momentum. The Eagles would punt there, trailing 12-7, and would not see the ball for another nine minutes.
“I think this is a strong start,” Farr said. “We’ve got a long way to go, but this is the best team I’ve been a part of, it’s the closest team I’ve been a part of, and this is going to be the most successful team I’ve ever been on.”
Turnovers played a huge role in this one.
After Evergreen’s first field goal made it 7-3, the Plainsmen recovered the short kickoff when the ball bounced away from the Eagles. It was Hodzic who made the recovery, and on the next play, quarterback Triston Fich found him for a 30-yard touchdown and a 9-7 lead.
Evergreen’s Miguel Cruz intercepted a Bay pass at the 2-yard line in the final minute of the first half, preserving the two-point lead.
And Jerontae “Boogie” Burns had an interception to open the second half. His long return led to another field goal and a 12-7 advantage.
“I did it for my family,” Burns said. “We are family. We are coming to play this year. We’re going to get the job done. Just wait on it. This season is going to be good.”
In the first quarter, it looked like Bay’s defense would prevail. The Eagles forced back-to-back three-and-outs to open the contest. Brian Perez found Quadrese Teague on a 48-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead.
That, however, would be it for Bay’s offense, at least from a scoring perspective.
Instead, it was Evergreen that scored the first knockdown of this league schedule.
Evergreen 12, Hudson’s Bay 7
Hudson’s Bay 7 0 0 0 — 7
Evergreen 0 9 3 0 — 12
HB – Quadrese Teague 48 pass from Brian Perez (Nicholas Campbell kick)
Eve – Ely Del Angel 26 FG
Eve – Nadil Hodzic 30 pass from Triston Rich (kick failed)
Eve – Del Angel 27 FG
RUSHING: Hudson’s Bay: Toa Kaumatule 6-22, Marcus Cadiz 11-31, Perez 1- (minus 5), Team 2- (minus 26). Evergreen: Eli Vaa-Leiataua 3-8, Zyell Griffin 6-13, Daniel Moltisanti 15-44, Fich 4-2, Trent Hemann 9-20, Miguel Cruz 1-3.
PASSING: Hudson’s Bay: Perez 11-23-3-164. Evergreen:Fich 13-22-1-124
RECEIVING: Hudson’s Bay: Kaumatale 1-14, Cadiz 2-19, Teague 3-67, Myles Artis 2-11, Julio Vara 1-9, Carter Morse 2-44. Evergreen: Moltisanti 1-2, David Crawford 4-31, Hodzic 8-91.
This week’s scores
|Mountain View||55||Battle Ground||22|
|Bainbridge||44||King’s Way Christian||0|