When Evergreen added Glacier Peak to its non-league football schedule this season, the Plainsmen hoped the game would offer a test to prepare them for 3A Greater St. Helens League play.
The Plainsmen certainly got what they wished for Friday at McKenzie Stadium, though they would’ve liked a better performance against the Class 4A Grizzlies of Snohomish.
Glacier Peak posted a 21-0 win, the most points given up this season by a stout Evergreen defense, and the Plainsmen’s offense, limited to just 139 total yards, never got on track.
“Part of it was, we just didn’t play very well tonight, especially offensively. We need to go back and kind of clean those things up,” Evergreen coach Christian Swain said. “A little bit better competition than the last couple weeks that we played, and they (Glacier Peak) were a little bit tougher up front than we’ve seen. That was really good for us going into league play to see that.”
Glacier Peak’s Francis Crocker rushed for a game-high 185 yards and two touchdowns, bookending the game with a 3-yard score on the Grizzlies’ opening drive two minutes into the first quarter, plus a 1-yard plunge late in the fourth.
The Grizzlies returned the opening kickoff to Evergreen’s 24-yard line, and it was one of several instances in which Evergreen’s defense was put in a tough spot.
The Plainsmen did their part for most of the second half, in particular, by forcing Glacier Peak to punt on its lone drive of the third quarter, before turning the Grizzlies over on downs midway through the fourth.
Evergreen’s offense was unable to capitalize when its defense delivered the ball back. The Plainsmen were turned over on downs to begin the fourth. Their final drive ended with an Isaiah Olson interception, the second of the game for the Glacier Peak sophomore.
“It’s 14-0, (Glacier Peak) gets down here and we get a stop, and I’m (thinking), ‘Man, they are really scratching,’” Swain said of Evergreen’s defense. “I was really happy to see how hard they battled, but they were on the field all night. When you leave your defense on the field the entire night, eventually they’re going to run out of gas.”
The Plainsmen were without several key players including senior offensive lineman Fox Crader, an Oregon commit, who was injured in a practice earlier this week and watched Friday’s game from the sideline. Swain said the team is hoping to return Crader for next week’s 3A GSHL opener against Mountain View. Arthur Ban, a senior tight end and San Diego State commit, also didn’t suit up Friday for what Swain called a “coach’s decision.”
Evergreen senior Anthony Lamberth led all Evergreen offensive players with 54 receiving yards on seven catches.
The Plainsmen (3-1) suffered their first loss of the season after opening with wins against Eisenhower, Hockinson and Kentlake, but they have little time to dwell on the result.
Next week’s game against the Thunder, also 3-1, will be Evergreen’s biggest game of the season to date. The Plainsmen’s biggest takeaway from Friday’s game, according to Swain, is improving their execution and overall mental focus.
“I feel like we’ve got a good group; we just got to keep working at it,” Swain said.
GLACIER PEAK 21, EVERGREEN 0
Glacier Peak 7 7 0 7—21
Evergreen 0 0 0 0—0
GP — Francis Crocker 3 run (Aiden Larsen kick)
GP — Adama Loum 25 pass from Lucas Entler (Larsen kick)
GP — Crocker 1 run (Larsen kick)
RUSHING — Glacier Peak: Francis Crocker 29-185, Isaiah Owens 8-44, Lucas Entler 3-10, Ervie Nguyen 1-4, Aaron Andrews Jr. 2-0; Evergreen: James Bethune 3-5, Terrance Saryon 1-(minus 1), Jayden Crace 7-7, Amani Jackson 3-22.
PASSING — Glacier Peak: Entler 5-10-0-55; Evergreen: Crace 14-21-2-107.
RECEIVING — Glacier Peak: Adama Loum 1-25, Isaiah Cuellar-Bell 1-3, Owens 1-0, Benjamin Williams 1-15, Nicholas Torgeson 1-12; Evergreen: Anthony Lamberth 7-54, Saryon 3-24, Jakai Clardy 3-17, Thaddeus Pruitt 1-11.