OTTAWA HILLS — Two weeks ago after having three touchdowns called back in a opening week win, Evergreen coach Evan Karchner cautioned that those mistakes would hurt the Vikings in a tight game.
Those miscues reared their ugly head again as a penalty brought back a kickoff return for a touchdown, two drives were cut short by turnovers, and a pick six going the other way were key as the Vikings fell to Ottawa Hills 35-21 in a battle of early-season unbeatens Thursday.
Ottawa Hills jumped out to a fast 13-0 lead on Rocco Pillarelli’s two opening-quarter touchdown runs of 39 and one yard on the Bears first two drives.
However, the Vikings came storming back.
Riley Dunbar’s leaping 41-yard catch over Jackson Snyder led to Hunter Vaculik’s two-yard scoring run to make it 13-7 on the last play of the first.
Dunbar victimized Snyder again the next series when he took a slant from Vaculik, blew through the tackle attempt and raced 30 yards for a score to put the Vikings up 14-13 at the half.
Evergreen was poised to take a bigger lead on the opening series of the third, driving into Bear territory, but a fumble ended that drive.
Chase Miller found Sam McCaffery for a 28-yard touchdown strike and Miller’s two-point scoring run put Ottawa Hills up 21-14 with 8:59 left in the third.
Evergreen drove to the Bear 19 but came up empty after a fourth down incompletion.
However after Emilio Duran shanked an 11-yard punt, the Vikings struck again, and again it was Dunbar high-pointing Vaculik’s aerial for a 22-yard TD to knot the game with 16 seconds left in the third.
But after Evergreen grabbed possession following another stop, McCaffery came up with the game-changing play when he picked a pass and went 32 yards for the go-ahead score.
Colton Robertson seemingly knotted the game when he ran the ensuing kickoff back 95 yards for a score, but a hold nullified that six pointer and the Vikings came up with nothing on the drive.
Ottawa Hills got an insurance score when Miller hit McCaffery with a 68-yard strike with 3:19 left.
Evergreen outgained Ottawa Hills 381-310.
Vaculik threw for 176 yards with two scores, and ran for another 113 and a touchdown but was picked three times and was guilty of a fumble.
Miller was 10-20 for 192 yards and two touchdowns.
Evergreen returns home against Delta Friday, Sept. 9.