Usually in a rivalry game, the team that runs the ball the best wins the game.
It was Evergreen who did just that as they ran for 301 yards while racing to a 21-0 lead, and eventually a 34-14 win over visiting Swanton Friday to pick up their first win of the season.
“All season we have been trying to get better every week,” said Viking coach Aaron Schmidt.”The way the league was set up we played some really good football teams, but I think we got better every week and I think it finally showed this week.”
Led by the front line of Sam Worline, Logan York, Landon Vance, Jake Fuller and Cody Sheller, Evergreen ground up yards like a meat grinder chopping up sirloin in an opening five-play drive that ended with Brock Hudik going the final 28 for a 7-0 Viking lead.
After a Swanton punt, it took quarterback Payton Boucher one play to eat up a huge chunk, going 65 yards for a score to double the first quarter lead.
“Swanton is a rival and I think the kids came off the ball with a little extra energy,” explained Schmidt of the fast start. “We were the more physical football team and I believe that was evident on the first drive. After we were able to run the ball as well as we did I felt pretty good about what we wanted to do tonight.”
Jake Riggs’ interception of a Trent Weigel pass set up Evergreen again in Swanton territory, but after getting into the red zone, Hudik’s fumble was recovered by the Bulldogs’ Cole Mitchey to end the scoring threat.
A Landon Vance sack forced anbother Swanton punt and Evergreen went on a 12-play drive.
Hudik’s 21-yard romp on a 3rd-and-11 moved Evergreen into field goal range.
When the snap was high Boucher rolled right and found Hudik at the goal line for a 21-0 edge.
Swanton put a drive together just before half, using a Weigel to Kadin Keivens pass for 11, and another to Mitchey for 23 to get to the Evergreen 9. But a 12-yard sack by Tanner Pollard and then Pollard’s interception killed the scoring chance.
“We pressured the quarterback I think pretty well,” Schmidt said of his defense that compiled four sacks and forced two turnovers. “Our linebackers played well and our defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage. Jake Fuller was all over tonight, Karter Herdman played well had a sack. Tanner Pollard has a pick to end a drive. It was nice to see everyone get in and get into the act.”
Swanton found the end zone in the third quarter on Weigel’s 14-yard strike to Kayden Davis and had a chance to cut into the Viking lead when a Riggs fumble at the Swanton 30 stopped a Viking scoring opportunity.
However, the Vikes forced a three-and-out and Riggs made amends hauling in a 12-yard strike from Boucher for a score that restored the three touchdown margin.
The teams traded touchdowns in the fourth as Weigel drove in from the two, and Hudik went in from nine yards out after another time-consuming Viking drive on the ground.
Hudik ran for 163 yards on 19 carries while Boucher toted the pigskin the same number of times for 138 yards. Boucher also was 5-8 in the air and two scores.
Swanton was held to 20 yards on the ground. Weigel went 18-27 in the air with two picks.
Evergreen finishes with Montpelier at home Friday, while Swanton’s season comes to an end. The Bulldogs were to play Delta, but the Panthers have to play an NWOAL game against Liberty Center.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org