It had been 32 years since the Evergreen Cougars’ varsity football team won on its home turf, but that didn’t seem to mean much on Sept. 16 as the Cougars beat up on the visiting Arvada Bulldogs, 53-12, in the first of three games to be played at Evergreen High School this year.
“This is a special night,” Cougars head coach Rob Molholm said. “Their hearts were so into this because they didn’t want to let anyone down. …You could see that this was very important to them.”
Extra stands were brought in to accommodate some of the fans, but most spectators either brought their own lawn chairs or just stood along the track to watch the event. Announcer Mark Johnson of KOA radio was also in attendance to call the game.
The Cougars hosted one game at the school last season, a loss to Conifer. But as for the game, the Bulldogs really had little shot with how pumped up the Cougars were, even though they did get off to a good start and were in the game at halftime, down only 18-12.
Bulldogs running back Adam Williams shocked the home crowd with a 77-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage. But the Cougars (3-1) responded with a nine-play touchdown drive of their own, capped by a 1-yard run by Jared Thaut. Evergreen took an 8-6 lead with the 2-point conversion.
“I think he gave us the wake-up call we needed. He’s a very good athlete,” Molholm said of Williams.
Fumbles and penalties marred the second quarter for the Cougars, but they would come out rejuvenated in the second half, ripping off 35 unanswered points to rout the Bulldogs.
Leading the way was junior Quinn O’Neill, who intercepted three passes -- two in the second half that he returned for touchdowns of 34 and 26 yards. He also ran the ball five times for 35 yards.
“The quarterback just watched the receivers the whole way so we just had to read his eyes. Once you did that you were right there for the pick,” Quinn said.
The Cougars running game was effective as Evergreen rushed for 296 yards. Senior Nate Travis led the way with 80 yards and two touchdowns, including a 38-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter. The Bulldogs (0-3) rushed for 150 yards, but only 73 yards came on 20 carries after that first run.
Evergreen’s defense forced six turnovers, four of them interceptions. Getting into the act was defensive lineman Harris Chalat, who stepped in front of a screen pass for his first career pick.
“I’ve been playing for 10 years and that was my first one,” Chalat said. “I was pretty excited, but I didn’t know what to do.”
EVERGREEN 53, ARVADA 12
ARVADA 6 6 0 0--12
EVERGREEN 18 0 21 14--53
A: Adam Williams 77 run (kick failed)
E: Jared Thaut 1 run (2-point conversion)
E: Nate Travis 1 run (Owain Hickey kick)
E: Hickey 33 field goal
A: Bo Vincelet 7 run (run failed)
E: Travis 38 run (Hickey kick)
E: Quinn O’Neill 34 interception return (Hickey kick)
E: Trent Tosetti 8 run (Hickey kick)
E: Thaut 15 run (Hickey kick)
E: O’Neill 26 interception return (Hickey kick)