Last week, Evergreen turned to its big-player performers.
On Friday, the Plainsmen leaned on its defense up front. And that’s just fine with junior lineman David Kailea.
“I just knew we had to explode up front,” Kailea said. “You know, defense wins games. Up front we’ve just got to be dogs up there, explode on whatever we see.”
It was Kailea who exploded on Heritage quarterback Isaac Washington with a sack at midfield that helped seal Evergreen’s 12-6 win over the Timberwolves Friday at McKenzie Stadium.
“It was a really good feeling,” Kailea said. “You know you could just go upfield and get the quarterback. Getting those sacks is just a big thing to get. It makes me so happy.”
After passing for more than 300 yards in the win over Prairie, the Plainsmen turned more to their ground attack against Heritage.
“That was predicated on what they gave us,” Evergreen coach Christian Swain said. “They played back and tried to keep everything in front of them. They played off, so we had to run the ball.”
O’Shay Jackson rushed for 66 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown run with 1:40 to play that put the Plainsmen up 12-6.
“We were focusing more on short run game,” Jackson said. “Last week, we put the ball in the air, but this week we knew it was going to be a smashmouth football game. We knew were going to have to put it on the ground. I knew I had to come and deliver, and the O-line did great with the blocks. We just executed.”
While Evergreen dominated possession, the first half ended scoreless.
But the Plainsmen struck first in the third quarter on Tejuan Conde’s 21-yard touchdown pass from JJ Woodin.
Then Heritage countered with a 15-play drive that ended with Alex Anderson’s 32-yard touchdown pass from Isaac Washington on fourth down to tie the game, 6-6 with 8:32 left in the fourth.
“They’re tough,” Swain said of Heritage. “Coach did a great job. They had a great defensive game plan, and their kids played I hard. I was just proud of our kids just finding a way to win.”
After both teams stopped each other on downs, Evergreen drove for the winning score with Woodin’s 40-yard pass to Jaylen Fite setting up Jackson’s winning touchdown. Fite finished with seven catches for 135 yards.
“That backside post was special,” Swain said.
And now Evergreen gets a week to rest before returning to play Skyview.
“I don’t know when the last time Evergreen was 2-0,” Swain said.
The answer is 2004 when the Plainsmen marched unbeaten to the 4A state title.
“I’m really happy,” Swain said. “I’m just glad to get out of here with a win.”
EVERGREEN 12, HERITAGE 6
Heritage 0 0 0 6—6
Evergreen 0 0 6 6—12
E — Tejuan Conde 21 pass from JJ Woodin (kick failed)
H — Alex Anderson 32 pass from Isaac Washington (kick blocked)
E — O’Shay Jackson 7 run (run failed)
RUSHING — Evergreen: Jackson 14-66, Woodin 13-45, Jaylen Fite 1-4, Jonathan Landry 1-(-1). Heritage: Kedyn Bolds 13-82, Andrew Cowley 16-61, Washington 9-6, Bodee Parker 3-5, Wyatt Scott 1-5.
PASSING — Evergreen: Woodin 12-22-0-191. Heritage: Washington 4-8-0-61; Khalil Osbin 1-3-0-1.
RECEIVING — Evergreen: Fite 7-135, Conde 3-40, Landry 1-13, Jackson 1-3. Heritage: Anderson 1-32, Kaleb Lamere 1-9, Cowley 1-1.