Too many penalties, three of which brought back Evergreen touchdowns.
There was a Ridgemont quarterback, namely Jayden Streets, that spent much of the night running for his life but still threw for 238 yards and a couple of scores.
But in the end, the cure all for a less than stellar night was the Viking offensive line that opened up holes for a school record 654 total yards in a 58-24 rout of Ridgemont to push Evergreen to 2-1 on the football season.
“I feel like we played good enough to win,” Evergreen coach Aaron Schmidt said after. “The kids played hard, but there were times we could have been better. Offensively I don’t have a lot of qualms. Defensively we were tentative and a step slow on our reads at times. We have a lot of things we need to fix if we want to continue to be successful with league play beginning next week.”
Five hundred fifty-nine of those yards came on the ground in just 40 rushes – also an Evergreen record – as the Vikings rang up 34 first downs on the night.
Jack Krispin got the Vikings rolling in the first possession, capping a seven play 68-yard drive with a 5-yard run to put Evergreen up 7-0 less than three minutes in.
Then the senior linebacker intercepted a tipped Streets’ pass on the Gophers’ first play to give the Vikes possession on the Ridgemont 26 yard line.
It took one play for Evergreen to find the end zone as Jack Etue found Jacob Riggs slicing through the middle to double the gap at 14-0.
However, on the second play after the kickoff, Streets lofted a pass that Jadon Miller outplayed Etue on, for a 74-yard pitch and catch, that with the ensuing two-pointer, kept the Gophers close at 14-8.
After a Viking punt return for a score was called back, it took all of four plays for Evergreen to respond. Krispin and Etue gobbled up 50 yards on the ground, with Etue going the last seven for a 21-8 margin with 5:50 still left in the first.
After a Gopher punt, Nick Beemer capped the next Viking drive catching a pass in the flat and rambling 21 yards for a score and a 28-8 first quarter advantage.
After Krispin’s 14-yard roll to the end zone made it 34-8 early in the second, the game got sloppy. Evergreen penalties, along with a 24-yard completion from Streets to Tyrese Patterson with a 15-yard personal foul tack on, set up a Streets short TD run to get Ridgemont within 34-16.
That lasted for one play as Etue followed blockers into the second level and went 60 yards for a score, pushing the gap to 41-16.
Evergreen had one more chance in the half after Etue picked Streets deep in Evergreen territory, but another touchdown was called back and the Vikings ran out of clock at the Gopher 18.
Logan York and Landon Vance forced sacks on the first two Gopher drives of the second half that turned into fumbles that Vance and Levi Moore recovered to set up Viking scores.
Krispin’s 33-yard run set up his own one yard plow to paydirt, then Payton Boucher’s third down conversion with a 12-yard run set up Alex Peete’s field goal to push the gap to 51-16.
Joe Mitchey’s interception set up the last Evergreen touchdown, Ben Ruetz’ 32-yard scamper around the left side.
Ridgemont’s last touchdown came when Streets, escaping Evergreen rushers, found Smalley behind the secondary for a 19-yard strike.
Four Viking ball carriers recorded more than 60 yards as Etue had 259 in 15 carries with Krispin getting 138 in just 14 attempts.
Ruetz added 63 and Boucher 60.
“It was good to see those two (Boucher and Ruetz) perform in the second half,” Schmidt said. “Krisp always runs hard and Jack (Etue) is shifty and makes people miss but it was good to see all of them perform.”
Etue threw for 95 more on 6 of 10 in the air.
Ridgemont only got 27 yards on the ground. Streets was 14 for 25 in the air for his 238 yards.
“I’ll say it again, I’ll take an ugly win over a pretty loss any day,” said Schmidt. “It’s a ‘W’ in the win column and that’s always a good thing.”
Evergreen (2-1) opens NWOAL play at Swanton (1-2) Friday night.
Reach Joe Blystone at email@example.com