LAKEWOOD — It was an early-season arm injury suffered by Evergreen quarterback John Cassell that resulted in junior Jack Curtis stepping into that role and moving Cassell outside to wide receiver. But the move certainly has paid dividends the past two weeks.
The tandem hooked up twice Oct. 26 at Trailblazer Stadium for first-half scores of 18 and 37 yards as Evergreen posted its second straight victory and second shutout of the season 45-0 over host Alameda.
“It adds another element to the offense (and) gives the defense something else to prepare for,” said Cassell, whose caught four TD passes from Curtis the past two weeks. He scored a fifth touchdown in the second quarter on a 39-yard interception return. “It helps our running game and our passing game obviously.”
It’s also helped the Cougars’ 3A state playoff hopes. With a win over Summit on Nov. 2 and a little bit of help Evergreen could reach the postseason for a third consecutive season, a first in school history.
“At least what we’ve got for next week is that we are playing a meaningful game. That’s very important to be in a meaningful game the last week of the year,” Evergreen head coach Rob Molholm said. “We’re in the hunt. There’s four or five other teams in the hunt and there’s about two or three spots left and that’s it. The top 13 are pretty much already sewn up.”
But by doing what it had to do Evergreen (5-4, 3-2 3A Metro West) put itself square in the conversation.
As if the passing game wasn’t enough, Evergreen, behind 12 ball carriers, also had its bread-and-butter ground game to pound out 270 yards, led by Ryan Hays’ 105 yards on six carries. Two of those runs went for touchdowns.
Tosetti scored a 6-yard first-quarter TD and Chase Kelley booted a half-closing 35-yard field goal.
Alameda (2-6, 0-5), which lost its seventh straight — six by shutout — drove inside the Evergreen 10 just once. The Pirates were stopped on downs when quarterback Chris Fersen was sacked by Carter Barnett.