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Kelso’s 28-7 win over Evergreen sets up 3A GSHL tiebreaker

Hilanders keep season alive with wire-to-wire win, stop Plainsmen from clinching No. 2 seed and postseason berth

By Will Denner, Columbian staff writer
Published: October 27, 2023, 10:54pm
10 Photos
Kelso's Aden Mintonye, left, tiptoes along the sideline while being chased by multiple Evergreen defenders during a 3A GSHL football game on Friday, Oct. 27, 2023, at Kelso High School.
Kelso's Aden Mintonye, left, tiptoes along the sideline while being chased by multiple Evergreen defenders during a 3A GSHL football game on Friday, Oct. 27, 2023, at Kelso High School. (Will Denner/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

KELSO — Close losses against the likes of Prairie and Mountain View had the Kelso Hilanders feeling like they were better than their 2-6 record indicated.

They were given the perfect opportunity to prove it Friday against Evergreen needing a win to extend their season beyond Week 9. The Hilanders certainly met the moment.

Kelso led wire to wire in a 28-7 win at Schroeder Field, which helped force a three-team tiebreaker for the second postseason berth out of the 3A GSHL. Kelso, Evergreen and Prairie, which defeated Heritage on Friday, will play a Kansas tiebreaker Monday at Doc Harris Stadium to settle second place.

“Gosh, if you look back on this whole year, we’re a three-point loss at Prairie, we’re a one-point against Mountain View. A year ago, those were just the (opposite),” Kelso head coach Steve Amrine said.

“Our mindset was, we can play with anybody — and we did. And, we finished tonight. That was the big difference.”

Kelso’s top players were among the tone-setters Friday, like senior Oregon State commit Payton Stewart, a wrecking ball on the Hilanders’ offensive and defensive line, plus junior running back Aden Mintonye, who rushed for 141 yards and three touchdowns, including two in the opening quarter to spot Kelso a quick 14-0 lead.

Just as important for the Hilanders were the unsung heroes who performed admirably in place of injured starters, Amrine said.

Kelso was without its second-best lineman Jay Eubanks. Jase Sloan and Tyler Davis filled in for the senior on both sides of the ball, and the Hilanders didn’t skip a beat.

“Those guys jumped in and played hard,” Steve Amrine said. “We played with an edge tonight. We played like we wanted to play football. We’ve seen spurts of that, and we’ve seen spurts of not. It’s been up and down and frustrating at times, but very good tonight.”

Sophomore quarterback Anders Dahl, filling in for junior Tucker Amrine, played free of mistakes in his second start. He tossed one touchdown pass, a 20-yard strike to Easton Marshall on a 4th-and-14 to give Kelso a 21-7 lead at halftime.

“Give credit to the sophomore quarterback Anders Dahl, what an awesome effort,” Steve Amrine said.

Evergreen cut Kelso’s lead to 14-7 to open the second quarter when sophomore Terrance Saryon took a carry for a 49-yard touchdown. But the Plainsmen found themselves playing catch up after two costly mistakes on special teams early.

First, a high snap on an Evergreen punt gave Kelso a short field for its first score, a 5-yard Mintonye touchdown. Kelso recovered its ensuing squib kick in Evergreen territory and marched 40 yards for another short yardage Mintonye touchdown run.

Held without a touchdown in the second half, Evergreen’s best chance at scoring came when it drove inside Kelso’s 10-yard line in the third quarter. Jayden Crace lofted a pass to the end zone for Jakai Clardy for what appeared to be a touchdown, but an official ruled it incomplete for not completing the process of the catch.

Evergreen was stuffed on a 4th down run for a turnover on downs.

“It’s tough to play up here … and it’s tough to beat them up here,” Evergreen coach Christian Swain said of Kelso. “We didn’t play well up here tonight and they had something to do with that; they’re a good football team. (We’ll) just come back Monday and try to get to state.”

The Plainsmen may be tired of hearing the word “tiebreaker.” In a similar situation Week 9 last year to clinch a postseason berth with a win against Kelso, Evergreen dropped a 29-22 decision in overtime, then came up short against Mountain View days later in a Kansas tiebreaker.

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With another chance to reach Week 10 on Monday, the Plainsmen need a quick bounce-back from Friday’s loss.

“It is what it is,” Swain said. “We didn’t want to be in this position. We controlled our own destiny. We didn’t take advantage of it, but we’ll find out if our kids want to keep playing.”

KELSO 28, EVERGREEN 7

Evergreen 0 7 0 0—7

Kelso 14 7 0 7—28

First quarter

K — Aden Mintonye 5 run (Tate Meade kick)

K — Mintonye 1 run (Meade kick)

Second quarter

E — Terrance Saryon 49 run (Kevin Jimenez kick)

K —Easton Marshall 20 pass from Anders Dahl (Meade kick)

Fourth quarter

K — Mintonye 1 run (Meade kick)

Individual statistics

RUSHING — Evergreen: Jayden Crace 11-89, Terrance Saryon 7-72, Amani Jackson 2-14, James Bethune 5-3, Team 1-(minus 11); Kelso: Aden Mintonye 34-141, Easton Marshall 2-38, Anders Dahl 4-12, Blake Parsons 2-11, Laurence Bostic 3-2.

PASSING — Evergreen: Jayden Crace 6-19-1-57; Kelso: Anders Dahl 5-6-0-47.

RECEIVING — Evergreen: Arthur Ban 2-21, Jakai Clardy 2-20, Anthony Lamberth 1-14, Terrance Saryon 1-2; Kelso: Easton Marshall 3-28, Logan Hiatt 1-13, Bryce Collins 1-6.

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