EVANSTON – It wasn’t the Homecoming game the Evanston High School football team had hoped for.
But the Red Devils knew their Week 4 matchup against Star Valley wasn’t going to be easy. Far from it.
The Braves, the two-time defending state champions, proved once again Friday why they are the top-ranked team in 3A after rolling to a 62-7 win against Evanston.
“They’re a really good team… props to the whole team,” said Tyus Cornia, who scored the lone touchdown for the Red Devils. “They definitely deserve to be No. 1 in the state.”
Star Valley (3-0, 1-0 3A West) jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and the Braves didn’t slow down from there.
They dominated the second period, putting up 27 points in the first five minutes and 45 seconds in the period to establish a 41-0 lead with 7:15 to play in the first half.
“I think fundamentally, we really broke down,” Evanston coach Patt Fackrell said. “I think they were kind of surprised by the physicality.”
The Braves were playing without two of their top running backs, which suffered injuries during Week 1. But their supporting cast showed they were more than capable of getting the job done.
Hunter Jacobson and Josh Dawson both ran for two scores, while quarterback Payton Erickson threw for two touchdowns. Ronnie Kay and Will Johnson both had rushing touchdowns, and Gavin Patterson returned a punt for a score to lead the way for the Braves.
“We preach brotherhood all the time, and obviously we have a bunch of big, fast and talented kids, and that's important,” Star Valley coach Dale Anderson said. “But what I think what has made them so successful is the selflessness and the brotherhood. They play hard for each other. I’m super proud of the way they did that tonight.”
Despite falling behind early, Evanston (1-3, 0-2 3A West) appeared to get things going when the Red Devils picked up their second first down of the contest with 5:52 to play in the second quarter.
Two plays later, Cornia broke free for a 75-yard run to bring the Red Devils within 34 points with 4:58 to play in the first half. But Evanston needed more than that in order to make up some ground, trailing 41-7 at that point.
The Red Devils put themselves in a good position to do more damage when Reid Goss made a diving interception to give Evanston possession at its own 12-yard line with 2:23 to play in the second quarter.
The Red Devils weren’t able to capitalize, and the Braves remained on cruise control.
“Star Valley is a really good football team,” Fackrell said. “I think we have a lot to work on. I think as we get to watch our film, I think we’ll really get to see where we’re having our big breakdowns. Those are some of the things we’re going to have to really fix.
“There’s a ton that we’ll have to learn. We have to get back to the fundamentals. We have to get back to blocking and tackling.”
The Red Devils know they have a lot of season left, and they plan to make the most of it.
“We needed to come out with more fire,” Evanston co-quarterback Seth Lloyd said. “We were dead. We only started playing in the fourth quarter. We should have come out and wanted to tackle and win that game. We definitely need to go out and practice and see what we need to improve on and get back into it. “
Fackrell didn’t hesitate to say he was disappointed with the way his team competed, but he does not want this contest to affect the remaining games.
“We can’t let this dictate our season,” Fackrell said. “We still have a lot of football left, and that’s what we’re really going to have to focus on.”
His players agree.
“We just need to bounce back and be a strong football team, connect as a family and come back for next week,” Cornia said. “It was a tough loss, but hopefully we can come out strong next week.”
SV: 6:01 – Hunter Jacobson 6-yard run; Noah Hutchinson kick. 7-0, Star Valley
SV: 2:41 – Ronnie Kay 4-yard run; Hutchinson kick. 14-0, Star Valley
SV: 11:10 – Josh Dawson 14-yard run; Hutchinson kick. 21-0 Star Valley
SV: 10:05 – Payton Erickson 9-yard pass to Josh Dawson. Hutchinson kick. 28-0, Star Valley
SV: 8:19 –Hunter Jacobson 53-yard run. Hutchinson kick. 35-0, Star Valley
SV: 7:15 – Payton Erickson to Josh Dawson. Kick failed. 41-0, Star Valley
E: 4:58 – Tyus Cornia 75-yard run. Jess Richins kick. 41, 7 Star Valley
SV: 6:47 Gavin Patterson 44-yard punt return. Hutchinson kick. Star Valley, 48-7
SV: 4:46 – Josh Dawson 75-yard run. Hutchinson kick. Star Valley, 55-7
SV: 1:16 – Will Johnson 18-yard run. Hutchinson kick. Star Valley, 62-7
Star Valley 62, Evanston 7
SCORE BY QUARTER
Evanston – 0 7 0 0 – 7
Star Valley – 14 27 14 7 – 62
NOTE: A more in-depth story will appear in Tuesday's paper.