Pinpointing where things went wrong for the Evergreen Cougars was virtually impossible, senior quarterback John Cassell said. There were too many possibilities.
A wide left 25-yard field goal attempt from Chase Kelley in the first quarter. A botched snap in the second quarter on a punt attempt, which led to a Classical Academy fumble recovery by Peter Troupe in the end zone. An inept passing attack that saw Cassell go 0-for-8 in the first half. It was all too much as the visiting Titans avenged a loss to the ninth-ranked Cougars last year with a 31-0 victory Sept. 7 at Evergreen High School.
“Everywhere. The defense didn’t step up, the offense didn’t do anything. I mean we scored zero points. We didn’t have anything right,” Cassell said.
It’s Evergreen’s first shout loss since a 45-0 defeat to D’Evelyn on Oct. 10, 2009 and first loss at EHS since a 47-0 hammering by Conifer in the 2009 Mountain Bowl. The Cougars (1-1), coming off a 26-0 Zero Week victory at Weld Central, had won seven straight on their home turf.
“We’re just not at the physical level I’d like for us to be at right now. We tackled very poorly today,” Evergreen head coach Rob Molholm said. “We’re not going to win games doing that. On a single play we’d have three, four, five missed tackles.
“I think a lot of kids learned today. I don’t know if everybody learned, but I think a lot did. I’m disappointed in myself. I usually have physical, violent practices, but because of all the injuries we didn’t tackle as much. We’re not going to win unless we tackle and block. We didn’t block very well, we didn’t tackle very well, we didn’t run very hard at times. We made a lot of mistakes.”
Evergreen has had to band-aid its offensive line. The Cougars played without starters Nick Rodgers (out for the season) and Erik Hooks (ankle). Then they lost Josh Toler in the first half with an undisclosed injury. Even still, Evergreen only trailed 10-0 at halftime.
But Classical Academy, despite turning the ball over at the EHS 2 on its opening drive of the second half, scored touchdowns on its next two drives — a 9-yard pass from Jantzen Ryals to Andrew Register and a 2-yard Justin Miller scoring run — to lead 24-0 after three quarters. The Titans (2-0) added a 22-yard Ryals to Troy Francis touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“I feel like we came out in the second half flat when we should’ve come out pumped up. We were very much in the game at halftime and should’ve done better,” senior linebacker Trey Tosetti said.