By Tim Donohoo
For the Courier
PARKER — Evergreen senior running back Joe Danni rushed for 90 yards on 14 carries and scored two touchdowns to lead the visiting Cougars to a hard fought 23-20 victory over Lutheran on Oct. 5 at Sports Authority Stadium.
Coach Rob Molholm’s squad ran out to a 10-0 first-quarter advantage on the strength of a Nash Norton 27-yard field goal and a 3-yard touchdown jaunt by Danni around the left side with 4 minutes, 41 seconds left in the opening quarter.
In the second quarter, Evergreen put together an impressive 10-play, 63-yard drive, using up 4 minutes and 48 seconds of the clock. During the drive, Danni made a strong run for 23 yards, setting up his 2-yard scoring run for a 17-0 lead.
Molholm was very happy with the Cougars’ effort in the first half.
“Our team played lights out in the first half. It was one of the best first halves I have ever seen an Evergreen team play. Just unbelievable. I couldn’t have been more impressed,” Molholm said.
Both teams went back and forth in the third quarter until Lutheran junior signal-caller James Willis fired an incomplete pass at the 4:34 mark on 4th-and-5 from the Evergreen 25-yard line.
Three plays later, Cougar senior quarterback Jack Curtis took off running around the left side and scored from 47 yards out to give Evergreen a 23-0 lead with 3:22 left in the third quarter.
Evergreen’s ensuing kickoff was a squib kick that landed on the Lutheran 48-yard line. Following an 8-yard pass from Willis to junior wide receiver Alex Nemmers, Willis hooked up with junior wideout Joshua Clausen for a 44-yard touchdown play to cut the Cougars lead to 23-6.
Lutheran scored 12 seconds into the fourth quarter when Clausen leaped high in the air to snatch a Willis pass from 25-yards out. Senior kicker Stas Kjergaard added the extra point to narrow Evergreen’s lead to 23-13.
The big play for the Cougars came with 7:04 left in the game. Willis fumbled the snap from center and proceeded to throw an errant pass into the arms of Cougars junior defensive lineman Greysen Lincoln, who ran the ball back to the Evergreen 24.
“Defensively, it was all 11 men who fought and scratched and I have to give them all a lot of props. We were very aggressive in this game,” Molholm said.
Evergreen’s record now stands at 5-1 overall, 3-0 in the 3A Metro West and Lutheran falls to 4-2 overall, 1-2 in the league.