Cougars end season with win

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By Brian Forbes

LAKEWOOD — Trent Butler couldn’t help but stop what he was saying and laugh.

Running across the turf at Trailblazer Stadium following Evergreen’s season-ending victory over Ridge View Academy was head coach Mike Sellers. In hot pursuit was senior Brandon Gustafson, armed with a cooler of ice water.

“I think it could have gone a lot better, but for the most part, a win is a win, and that’s how you want to go out,” Butler said before stopping to watch Gustafson finally hit his target. “Obviously, everyone is having fun.”

In a season where the Cougars (4-6) played good enough to win in many games, only to lose, they capped it off by playing bad enough to lose, only to win.

Evergreen’s defense forced four turnovers and pitched its first shutout of the season to earn the Cougars a 7-0 Class 3A Metro League victory over the Rams. The offense put up enough points to win but also turned the ball over seven times.

And the 4-6 mark was an improvement upon last year’s 3-7 season that saw a 3-2 start end with a five-game skid. The Cougars, however, were only a few well-executed plays away this season from beating Frederick in Week 1, Elizabeth in Week 2, Centaurus in Week 3 and perhaps giving Summit a scare in Week 9.

Those extremes were again on display Oct. 30 as good and great plays would be followed by the unfortunate and unlucky.

Butler had the ball stripped away twice, but he would finish with a game-high 93 yards rushing on 26 carries against the fast and hard-hitting Rams (3-7).

Quarterback Trevor Olson ran for 36 yards and threw for 121, including a 23-yard touchdown strike to Maciah Herbert in the first quarter. Olson was intercepted three times — once on a fake punt attempt — and lost a fumble after being sacked early in the second quarter.

Herbert caught three passes for 46 yards and Butler caught two passes for 16 yards.

“It was a tough season, but it’s a good way to go out,” senior Josh Ryon said.

Ryon had two catches for 59 yards and also came up with two interceptions as the Evergreen defense refused to budge not matter how dire the situation.

The Rams started four drives inside Cougars territory, including the Evergreen 10 and 35. Those drives were killed via quarterback sacks, including Rory Finnegan’s shot that ended in a 9-yard loss just before halftime. The Cougars swarmed, harassed and maintained a strong commitment to taking charge in the trenches and stopping the run.

The Rams, who had scored 30 points against Valor Christian the week prior, were held to just 88 yards on the ground and 21 in the air.

And the smiles and the excitement once the horn sounded was a testament to all the Cougars. And it was also proof of an old saying: All is well that ends well.

To view this and other sports stories online, visit www.canyoncourier.com. Contact the Canyon Courier sports department at 303-933-2233, ext. 15, or by e-mail

at sports@evergreenco.com.