Evergreen played keepaway for as long it could Friday night in its 4A Greater St. Helens League matchup against Skyview at the Kiggins Bowl.
Eventually, though, the Storm got a hold of the football. And when they did, they struck with a vengeance.
Skyview scored 27 fourth-quarter points to pull away for a 44-7 victory.
“It was frustrating at first,” said senior Xavier Norman, who ran for 72 yards and a touchdown and also had a team-high 14 tackles (two for loss) for the Storm (5-2, 2-1). “But once we could get the ball, our offense could get into a rhythm, and we knew our line would block for us.”
Evergreen went back to the future to stall the Skyview attack for the better part of three quarters, dusting off the double wing and keeping possession for 23 1/2 of the game’s first 36 minutes.
But the Plainsmen (2-5, 0-3) coughed the ball up five times, including three in the decisive fourth quarter.
“We were finally able to capitalize on a couple of turnovers there,” said Storm coach Steve Kizer. “But they had a great game plan tonight. They kept the ball away from us, executed really well, and stuck with it.”
It was Evergreen coach Charles Anthony’s decision to go for it on fourth-and-two from his own 13, trailing just 17-7 with 10:45 to play, that finally turned the tide in Skyview’s favor.
Willie Lopez led the charge to stop Jamaree Jones inches short of the first-down stick, and two plays later, Jabari Marshall scored the first of his two fourth-quarter touchdowns to kick off the onslaught.
“It took us awhile to figure out what they were doing,” Kizer said. “But we changed our technique a little on defense at halftime, and we always felt we could run the ball on them.”
After Skyview dropped a pair of passes on its opening possession in the steady rain, the Storm turned to its running game. Jordan Berni finished just 7-of-12 passing for 93 yards, while a trio of running backs combined for 225 yards.
The Plainsmen scored first, capping a 16-play, 70-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run by quarterback Anthony Thomas with 9:12 left in the second quarter.
The Storm quickly answered with a nine-play drive, with Berni scoring on a 12-yard bootleg around right end.
Skyview only got the ball one more time in the half, but again it struck quickly to grab a 14-7 halftime lead.
After back-to-back holding penalties negated long plays, Berni got the cornerback to bite on a pump-and-go route and hit Spencer Miles in stride for a 45-yard TD pass with 51.3 seconds left before halftime.
SKYVIEW 44, EVERGREEN 7
Evergreen 0 7 0 0–7
Skyview 0 14 3 27–44
Ev — Anthony Thomas 6 run (Conner Finnegan kick)
Sky — Jordan Berni 12 run (kick blocked)
Sky — Spencer Miles 45 pass from Berni (Jabari Marshall run)
Sky — Carter Johnson 27 FG
Sky — Marshall 6 run (C.Johnson kick)
Sky — Kalvin Johnson 1 run (C.Johnson kick)
Sky — Xavier Norman 3 run (kick failed)
Sky — Marshall 23 run (C.Johnson kick)
RUSHING — Evergreen — Thomas 25-93, Justice Murphy 24-85, Jamaree Jones 16-48, Te’Kwon Wallace 1-3. Skyview — Marshall 9-82, Berni 3-16, K.Johnson 12-71, Norman 11-72, Kyle Ponciano 1-0, Antonio Sparrow 2-16.
PASSING — Evergreen — Thomas 0-1-1-0. Skyview — Berni 7-12-0-93.
RECEIVING — Evergreen — None. Skyview — Jacob Dennis 2-19, Miles 1-45, Daniel Thompson 1-13, Norman 1-5, K.Johnson 1-1, Ponciano 1-10.