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Evergreen rolls over Rochester, 41-12

Eli Vaa-Leiataua rushes for three touchdowns in non-league win

By Micah Rice, Columbian Sports Editor
Published: September 21, 2018, 7:43pm

On the third play from scrimmage, Evergreen running back Eli Vaa-Leiataua broke loose for a 41-yard touchdown run.

It was a fitting start. Little went wrong for Evergreen in a 41-12 non-league win over Rochester on Friday at McKenzie Stadium.

Evergreen (2-2) got contributions from its usual playmakers. Vaa-Leiataua rushed for 161 yards and three touchdowns. The senior now has 598 yards and six rushing touchdowns in four games.

“We as a team decided to come out really aggressive in the first quarter,” Vaa-Leiataua said. “We feel like we haven’t been doing that as a team. So we decided to train hard in practice and go right on the snap.”

The Plainsmen also had others step up. Rayn Preston started at quarterback for Ryan Blaize (concussion). The senior completed 11 of 13 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns.

Preston didn’t learn until Tuesday that he would play quarterback for the first time since his sophomore year.

“At first I was a little nervous,” Preston said. “But I’ve got to step up and take on the challenge for my team.”

Vaa-Leiataua, who rushed for 98 yards in the first quarter, helped his quarterback settle in to a rhythm quickly.

“That helped me a lot,” Preston said. “It helped me get into the groove of everything. It helped me get my mind right and get my mojo.”

Evergreen’s defense also rose to the challenge, twice forcing turnovers on downs inside their own 10 yard line. The Plainsmen allowed 274 yards to Rochester (1-3), a Class 2A school that suited up only 21 players Friday.

With 3A Greater St. Helens League play starting next week against Kelso, Evergreen hopes to build on Friday’s win.

“This win sets a really good note for us heading into next week,” Vaa-Leiataua said. “We’ll get pushing in practice. It doesn’t end here. We’ve got to keep pushing and hopefully get to the playoffs.”


Rochester    0          0          0          12—12

Evergreen    6          22       7          6—41

First quarter

E – Eli Vaa-Leiataua 41 run (kick failed)

Second quarter

E – Zyell Griffin 10 pass from Rayn Preston (Vaa-Leiataua run)

E – Vaa-Leiataua 2 run (Eli Del-Angel kick)

E – Trent Hemann 10 run (Del-Angel kick)

Third quarter

E – Vaa-Leiataua 11 run (Eli Del-Angel kick)

Fourth quarter

R – Patrick Riley 34 pass from Daniel May (run failed)

E – Tae Marks 25 pass from Preston (run failed)

R – Riley 18 pass from May (run failed)


RUSHING – Rochester: Daniel May 9-87, Tristen Johnson 9-(minus-5), Enrique Sanchez-Hope 11-26, Hayden Dahl 1-(minus-4), Grayson Johnson 5-46. Evergreen: Eli Vaa-Leiataua 19-161, Cam Smith 6-39, Zyell Griffin 4-64, Rayn Preston 2-10, Gideon Macabeo 3-4, Trent Hemann 5-23, Tae Marks 1-7.

PASSING – Rochester: Daniel May 6-15-1-124. Evergreen: Rayn Preston 11-13-0-156.

RECEIVING – Rochester: Patrick Riley 5-95, Cody Weddle 1-29. Evergreen: Eli Vaa-Leiataua 2-23, Zyell Griffin 4-59, Jaylen Fite 2-5, Luke Allen 1-36, Tae Marks 1-25, Cam Smith 1-8.