Vikings rout Ottawa Hills behind Hunter Van Wert’s 5 touchdowns


Revenge is always great.

Last year Ottawa Hills ran it up on Evergreen’s freshman and sophomore laden team 55-12 for the Green Bears’ first win in over a generation against the Vikings.

Friday night at Pifer Field first-year coach Aaron Schmidt and his Vikings somewhat settled the score with an impressive 34-3 rout of the Bears as Hunter Van Wert ran through and past the OH defense for 216 yards in 18 carries, and a school record tying five rushing touchdowns.

“Hunter is a very talented young man and obviously very fast,” said Schmidt. “And he’s proven he’s a tough runner too. But he will be the first to tell you or anyone that he could not have done any of that without the guys on the line, his center, guards, tackles and tight ends. It was a group performance.”

Evergreen struck first just over five minutes into the game when Grant Donnald took a short pass from Jack Etue and galloped 43 yards to set up Van Wert’s first score from a yard out to give the Vikes a 7-0 lead.

After an Ottawa Hills punt, it took Van Wert only one play to find the end zone again.

The NWOAL’s reigning 100 meter dash champ found a seam in the line and got a block on the edge from Free Canales, and easily outraced the Bear defense 97 yards to paydirt with 1:54 left in the first quarter to give Evergreen a 14-0 lead.

Ottawa Hills drove to the Viking 18 in 15 plays after the kickoff but Canales put an end to that drive, picking off Green Bear quarterback Jack Werner’s pass in the end zone.

The Bears put together a couple first downs on their next drive before the Viking defense again stiffened in the red zone to only allow a 27-yard Dylan Scheder field goal with 2:55 left in the half.

“Our kids were challenged and I thought we did a good job keeping everything is front of us and I think Coach (Ben) Taylor prepared them very well,” stated Schmidt. “I thought we did a good job against the long ball. Brian Floyd was all over the field, our corners (Canales and Hunter Svoboda) even made tackles for losses on the perimeter which was huge as far as containing their running game.”

From that point it was all Vikings.

Etue hit Jack Krispin and Donnald with consecutive first down passes, setting up Van Wert’s third score from two yards out with 48 ticks left in the half to make it 21-3 at the half.

Van Wert added two more third quarter scores to put the game into the OHSAA 30-point running clock rule.

They first finished off a 94-yard drive in which Etue rolled 31 yards for one first down and Van Wert bolted 22 for another before scoring from 16 yards out.

After a three-and-out, Evergreen went 69 yards in five plays. Donnald had a 13-yard catch and 12-yard run to get Van Wert in position to race 33 yards around the left side, making it 34-3.

Josh Dowling crushed the only Ottawa Hills threat of the second half with an interception.

Evergreen continued to control the ball in the fourth with Trent Coopshaw and Dieago Funk chewing up yardage to keep the Bears offense off the field.

In all Evergreen ran for 324 yards and added another 94 in the air.

Ottawa Hills got 227 total yards in the game but only 73 in the second half.

Evergreen moves to 2-1 during the non-league portion of the schedule. They now play league favorite and state-ranked Liberty Center this week.

By Joe Blystone

For the Expositor