James Bethune, who excels in the classroom, too, is hoping to help Evergreen bounce back this week against rival Mountain View
The Evergreen Plainsmen gained a lot of confidence in the first three weeks of the high school football season.
Then last week, facing their toughest opponent to date, they struggled in a loss to Glacier Peak.
Down, but not out, the Plainsmen know they still have everything in front of them as they head into their first league game of the season. They know the playoffs are a possibility. They know a league championship is a possibility.
They know they can still accomplish all of their goals.
For running back James Bethune, the goals are a bit different, but in the most positive way. Of course, he wants his Plainsmen to defeat rival Mountain View in Week 5 to open Class 3A Greater St. Helens League play. Of course, he wants Evergreen to finish strong this regular season and make it to the playoffs in November.
But he wants something even more special for the Plainsmen.
“I want good sportsmanship, and I want us to be together as a family,” Bethune said.
He said those words after a tough performance Friday night. Even in defeat, even after the Evergreen rushing attack — so strong in the first three weeks — was held in check all night by Glacier Peak.
Sportsmanship and unity remain keys to this Evergreen season.
“He’s a fantastic kid, kind of a quiet leader, and he is a great teammate,” Evergreen coach Christian Swain said.
Bethune had back-to-back 100-yard games for the Plainsmen in Weeks 2 and 3. Again, the rushing attack did not have it against Glacier Peak, but Bethune is confident the offense will respond.
“I just think we need to be more focused and more ready,” Bethune said. “We need a little more juice to pump it up.”
The Plainsmen won a close game in Week 1, then won Weeks 2 and 3 by a combined score of 105-14.
The 21-0 loss to Glacier Peak could be a blessing in disguise, the Plainsmen say.
“I’m pretty sure it can help us,” Bethune said of the loss to the Grizzlies.
While 21-0 does not look good on the scoreboard, it was 14-0 until the final minute of the game, and until then, the Plainsmen were one or two plays away from making this a one-score game.
Swain told his players after the game that it was not an effort issue, it was simply execution. The effort, he said, was there from everyone.
Stick together, he said. And that’s what Bethune was talking about after the game, too. Keep that family feeling, even after a tough result.
Swain said Bethune is one of the most competitive players on the team. That competitive spirit is in the weight room and during 7-on-7 contests, too. It turns out, Bethune is just as competitive in the classroom. Bethune, a junior, is in the National Honor Society program. To be eligible, a student must have excellent grades, but the student also must be a leader at school and have a strong character.
Swain said that describes Bethune.
Bethune said he takes pride in his academics, and appreciates that his coach recognizes his commitment to the classroom. Bethune’s favorite classes are math and U.S. history.
“I challenge myself every single class I take,” Bethune said.
On the field, the challenge for the Plainsmen will be to find its groove on offense again when they take on Mountain View.
Bethune knows what he has to do Friday night.
“My goal is to run my hardest, run over somebody, and just play my best,” he said.
Notes: Evergreen vs. Mountain View is the second game at McKenzie Stadium on Friday night. The game is tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. … This will be the 50th meeting between Evergreen and Mountain View. The Thunder lead the series 27-22. Evergreen won last year’s meeting 20-14. Thanks to Bryan Levesque for the research on the rivalry.
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