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Saturday, March 2, 2024
March 2, 2024

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Defense helps out the offense for Evergreen in 62-14 rout of Hockinson

Plainsmen return three interceptions for touchdowns

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
2 Photos
Junior Makhi Miller carries the Evergreen banner onto the field ahead of his teammates before a game against Hockinson at McKenzie Stadium on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023.
Junior Makhi Miller carries the Evergreen banner onto the field ahead of his teammates before a game against Hockinson at McKenzie Stadium on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023. (Tim Martinez/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

After a lackluster Week 1 performance, Evergreen quarterback Jayden Crace was looking for a faster start on offense for the Plainsmen against Hockinson.

A couple of early miscues kept the Plainsmen from doing that Friday, but the defense more than made up for that.

Evergreen forced eight turnovers, returning three interceptions for a touchdowns in a 62-14 rout of the Hawks on Friday at McKenzie Stadium.

“Our defense came up big with I think three scores,” Crace said. “That was huge. They say defense wins football games. We love it when our defense plays great.” 

After Evergreen fumbled the ball away twice in the first six minutes, the offense finally got rolling with James Bethune scoring a 5-yard touchdown run with 4:27 left in the first quarter.

After a quick stop by the defense, Bethune scored his second touchdown as Evergreen took a 14-0 lead at the end of the first second.

The second quarter is when Evergreen’s defense blew things open. 

A fumble recovery by Ryder Keplar set up Evergreen’s third touchdown. Then on back-to-back possessions, Elijah English returned an interception 36 yards for a touchdown and Jakai Clardy brought back another interception for a touchdown, putting Evergreen up 36-0.

Mark Williams’ interception set up Evergreen for a short field, allowing Crace and the first-team offense to call it a night midway through the second quarter after Crace hit Keplar for 15-yard touchdown pass for a 42-0 lead.

Friday’s win was the kind of confidence boost the Plainsmen were looking for after scuffling in a 14-12 win over Eisenhower last week in Yakima.

“I felt like we had a good week, not necessarily bouncing back; we had a good W last week,” Crace said. “It was a tough game. We came back, recovered and knew what we needed to do. We just came into this game with mindset of all gas, no brakes. Regardless of slow start or not, we just realized that we got to keep on the gas.”

James Bethune rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns, including a 64-yard score. Jayden Crace completed 8 of 11 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown.

“I felt like we moved the ball well,” Crace said. “We were faster. We were definitely in-check the whole game. We didn’t check out until the last second of the game. The whole game the whole team was locked in.”


Hockinson 0  0 14 0—14

Evergreen 14 42 0 6—62

First quarter

E —  James Bethune 5 run (Kevin Jimenez kick)

E — Bethune 5 run (Jimenez kick)

Second quarter

E — Mark Williams 4 run (Crace run)

E — Elijah English 36 interception return (Jimenez kick)

E — Jakai Clardy 38 interception return (Jimenez kick)

E — Ryder Keplar 15 pass from Jayden Crace (pass failed)

E — James Bethune 64 run (Jimenez kick)

E — Tony Hopson 1 run (Jimenez kick)

Third quarter

H — Kasen Niemitalo 39 pass from Aiden Donowitz (Trevor Holmes kick)

H — Carter Cameron 13 pass from Donowitz (Gage Prepula kick)

Fourth quarter

E — Keplar 55 interception return (kick failed)


RUSHING — Hockinson: Shey Yarbrough 8-29, Jake McKee 5-8, Andon Stenersen 4-9, Aiden Donowitz 2-6, Xavier Maitland 4-10, Nelsen Thompson 4-16. Evergreen: James Bethune 10-143, Terrance Saryon 1-(-1), Jayden Crace 6-11, Jaysuan 7-28, Mark Williams 1-4, Tony Hopson 1-1, Christine George 2-1, Dylan Stensrude 1-(-8), Damian Perez 1-0, Austin Chapman 1-4, Braydon James 2-(-7), team 2-(-28).

PASSING — Hockinson: Aiden Donowitz 6-14-2-94, Andon Stenersen 1-4-2-4, Robert Matheson 0-1-1-0. Evergreen: Jayden Crace 8-11-0-97, Tony Hopson 1-2-0-(-4), Braydon James 1-3-0-23.

RECEIVING — Hockinson: Carter Cameron 4-41, Kasen Niemitalo 1-39, Zachary Chung 1-10, Brody Bonife 1-8. Evergreen: Anthony Lamberth 3-28, Ryder Keplar 3-31, Arthur Ban 1-14, Terrance Saryon 1-24, Malachi Nash 1-(-4), Ebrahim Jagne 1-23.