As the postseason puzzle comes together in the 3A Greater St. Helens League, Kelso is worried only about the piece it controls.
“Win again,” said quarterback Hunter Letteer. “That’s all we’ve got to do.”
Kelso did that in emphatic fashion Friday, beating Evergreen 42-10 at McKenzie Stadium.
Letteer threw three touchdown passes and the Hilanders defense allowed just two first downs in the second half, in which Evergreen was outscored 21-0.
Connor Noah rushed for 106 yards and had two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving. He also had one of Kelso’s two interceptions.
After losing home games to 3A GSHL-leading Mountain View and 4A GSHL-leading Skyview, Kelso earned a win that put it in control of its postseason destiny.
The Hilanders (5-2, 2-1) can wrap up second place in the 3A GSHL and a playoff berth if they beat Heritage at home next week.
Letteer believes Kelso is entering the season’s homestretch as a battle-tested and better team because of those two losses.
“We learned how to be together, play together and go through the hard things as a team,” Letteer said. “We came out here as brothers and we fought.” Evergreen fell to 3-4 overall and 0-2 in league play. Kyle Norton entered Friday with 756 rushing yards, the most of any player in Southwest Washington. He was held to 74 yards on 16 carries.
Quick strike — Kelso extended its first-quarter lead with a big play. One snap after an Evergreen punt, Zeke Smith got behind Evergreen’s defense and hauled in a 48-yard touchdown pass from Letteer to put the Hilanders up 14-3.
Reclaiming momentum — Evergreen stayed in the game with a big play of its own. Trailing 21-3, Jayden Crace found Jordan Peters deep for a 55-yard touchdown pass. That allowed the Plainsmen to enter halftime with momentum and only trailing 21-10.
Drive-capper — Kelso put its stamp on the second half and the game with a 94-yard touchdown drive on its first possession of the third quarter. Noah capped it with a 1-yard TD run after his six previous carries on the drive accounted for 47 yards.
KELSO 42, EVERGREEN 10
Kelso 14 7 7 14—42
Evergreen 3 7 0 0—10
E – FG, Oscar Carillo Gonzalez 32
K – Reece Collins 10 pass from Hunter Letteer (Mason Smith kick)
K – Zeke Smith 48 pass from Letteer (Smith kick)
K – Conner Noah 13 pass from Letteer (Smith kick)
E – Jordan Peters 55 pass from Jayden Crice (Carillo Gonzalez kick)
K – Noah 1 run (Smith kick)
K – Colby Cooper 13 pass from Letteer (Smith kick)
K – Chase Dillehay 12 run (Smith kick)
RUSHING – Kelso: Conner Noah 17-106, Colby Cooper 3-19, Hunter Letteer 5-(minus-9), Judah Calixte 4-58, Bannick Allen 2-6, Chase Dillehay 3-40. Evergreen: Kyle Norton 16-74, Jayden Crace 6-(minus-8), Royall Wilson 1-1, Shaudez Grant 3-10, Jonathan Landry 5-(minus-1), Ernest Oliver 1-2, Felix Estrada 2-22.
PASSING – Kelso: Hunter Letteer 14-23-169-0, Colby Cooper 0-1-0-0. Evergreen: Jayden Crace 7-20-128-2.
RECEIVING – Kelso: Zeke Smith 4-83, Colby Cooper 3-23, Reece Collins 2-22, Conner Noah 4-32, Tyler Hays 1-12. Evergreen: Kyle Norton 2-29, Jonathan Landry 3-36, Jordan Peters 2-63.