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Cougars show grit in loss

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By Brian Forbes

LAKEWOOD — It’s a hard days work to be a spoiler in football.

The Cougars showed they had enough grit and skill to fit the part against Summit had they just shown up on time.

A rough first quarter dug a hole the Cougars could never quite escape as they harassed the Tigers to the end of a 42-26 Class 3A Metro League defeat Oct. 24 at Trailblazer Stadium.

“That first quarter was absolutely horrible, but we started to pick it up in the second quarter, and second half I thought our kids really stepped up,” Cougars coach Mike Sellers said.

Evergreen (3-6) let the Tigers (8-1) return the opening kickoff for a touchdown, turned the ball over on the next drive and trailed 21-0 in a first quarter where the Tigers picked up 12 first downs.

The Cougars would surrender another kickoff return early in the second quarter before they slowly began to take control up front defensively and pass efficiently.

Quarterback Trevor Olson completed 16 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted three times.

Olson’s most reliable target was Maciah Herbert, who had nine catches for a whopping 190 yards and two touchdowns. Herbert hauled in touchdown passes of 60 and 74 yards.

“The past two games I’ve been scared to catch the ball,” Herbert said.

No more.

Behind two short touchdown runs by Trent Butler, the Cougars trailed 28-13 at halftime and got the ball to begin the third quarter. They needed just one play as Olson hit Herbert down the center of the field for a 74-yard score.

Evergreen’s coaches elected to go for the 2-point conversion, which failed, and trailed 28-19.

The rest of the third quarter and nearly halfway through the fourth was a war of attrition. The Cougars were tough up front and got a sack on fourth down by Greg Hoffman and an interception by Josh Ryon to kill two Tigers’ drives.

“We didn’t want to come out and be scared,” Herbert said. “We came out in the fourth quarter and brought it.”

But Olson’s second interception and subsequent return put the Tigers on the Evergreen 9 where they would score three plays later.

Evergreen answered in one play as Olson hit Herbert for a 60-yard score.

The Cougars attempt at an onside kick failed and the Tigers were able to drive for another touchdown with 56 seconds remaining.

Evergreen concludes its regular season Oct. 30 in a rematch against Valor Christian, which has won three of its past four games. The Cougars defeated Valor 34-15 on Sept. 19.