Cougars use pass, defense vs. Rams

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Evergreen overcomes three turnovers in a homecoming victory

By Michael Hicks

Green Mountain never really stopped Evergreen’s bread-and-butter running game, said head coach Rob Molholm, but it was his team’s miscues that led the Cougars to a more passing attack early in its homecoming game Sept. 19 at Evergreen High School. Whatever the case, it worked.

Dylan Reifeis was 11-of-21 passing for 169 yards and two touchdowns, and the Cougars defense, as dominant as it has been all year, shut down 4A Green Mountain for a 23-3 victory.

“We knew that we could do both, but it was just what was going to work at the time,” Molholm said. “I think the running game opened up because we did throw it so much in the beginning.”

Evergreen (4-0), ranked sixth in 3A, turned to the pass after failing to convert an early 4th-and-8 at the Green Mountain 43 on a fake punt and losing a first-quarter fumble, the first of three turnovers for the Cougars.

After falling behind 3-0 on a 47-yard Ian Jonsson field goal to close the first quarter, Evergreen turned to Reifeis, who hit five consecutive passes to open the second quarter, finalizing a 58-yard drive with a 5-yard strike to Marcus Cassin. He later hit Keenan O’Hearn on a 44-yard fly pattern down the right sideline midway through the third quarter to extend EHS’ lead to 14-3.

“We’ve got four really good wide receivers,” said senior running back Tanner Cassin, who finished with nine carries for 94 yards, including 76 of those yards in the fourth quarter. The others Cassin noted were Connor Solawetz and Seth Ausman. “They could all be up for all-conference. We’ve got, possibly, an all-state quarterback. I don’t think they could stop us.”

Evergreen later added a safety early in the fourth and followed that up with a 3-yard James Hardy TD run.

The first touchdown, however, would be all the Evergreen defense would need. The Cougars, who’ve allowed just 25 points all season, including 18 against the defense, stymied Green Mountain’s offense besides the field goal, which came on the Rams’ third possession to start near midfield after the botched fake punt attempt.

“Our defense just has a mindset that we’re not going to let anybody push us. Nobody is going to push us around even if they outweigh us by 50 pounds each on the line,” senior linebacker Brian Reed said. “Our defense is our strong point on this team. We want everybody to know that.”

The closest the Rams (1-3) sniffed the red zone was when they got to the Evergreen 23 before quarterback Dylan Jacob was sacked by Cole Petrovics late in the first quarter, setting up Jonsson’s field goal.

Contact Michael Hicks at sports@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.