EVANSTON — The Red Devil football team did their part to make for a happy Homecoming with a 3A West Conference 19-14 win over the Green River Wolves on Friday night, Oct. 5.
The Red Devils came out in their dark blue jerseys with red pants to receive the opening kickoff. Evanston started their opening drive from their own 23-yard line and advanced the ball to the Green River 15 on runs from Tyus Cornia and Pablo Escalante and a pass from backup quarterback David Baxter to Kody Smith. The Red Devil drive stalled, however, and the Wolves took over on downs with 6:06 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Wolves had some positive gains but a sack of Wolves’ quarterback Dallen Serrano by Red Devil linebacker Rylie Griggs resulted in a fumble recovered by Evanston’s Bryson Davis with 4:14 left in the first, deep in Green River territory.
A few plays later, with 3:04 remaining in quarter number one, Evanston drew first blood on a one-yard Cornia score. The PAT was no good but the Red Devis had a 6-0 lead.
Green River picked up a first down on an 11-yard James King run that was followed by a Bridger Barker sack of Serrano. Unable to sustain their drive, the Wolves punted to the Red Devils.
Evanston started their second possession from the Green River 45-yard line with 33 seconds left in the first quarter. Three plays later, Evanston scored again on a 39-yard touchdown run by Cornia. The Red Devils attempted a two-point conversion but Cornia was stopped short. With 11:14 left to play in the second quarter, the Red Devils bumped their lead to 12-0.
The Wolves picked up a first down in their second offensive set but were again forced to punt after a Cornia sack of Serrano, taking over at their own 45-yard line. The Red Devils went for it on a fourth down and three yards to go from the Green River 38 but were stopped short and gave up on downs for the second time with seven minutes remaining in the half.
A Davis tackle for loss assisted in forcing Green River’s second punt, resulting in a fair-catch by Smith with five minutes remaining in the second quarter.
The Wolves’ defense stiffened and Evanston was held to a three-and-out with Green River receiving an Evanston punt at their own 22 with 2:56 left in the half. Evanston’s Met Gallegos would make a tackle for loss to force another Green River punt with 1:37 remaining in the second quarter.
The teams traded back-to-back interceptions as Anthony Johnson picked off a Baxter pass and Cris Periman intercepted a Serrano pass within 11 seconds. A holding penalty negated a Cornia first-down run, but Evanston sustained the drive on a Baxter to Periman completion and a run by Cornia to the Green River 19 with 8 ticks left before halftime. Evanston attempted a 36-yard field goal that was blocked by the Wolves and the first half came to a close.
Green River started from their own 27, but a Rigden Wagstaff tackle for loss placed the ball at the Wolves’ 20. Kyle Ivie got most of the yardage back and the Wolves faced a 3rd and one. King picked up a first down for the Wolves and a penalty assisted the Wolves to midfield where they advanced the ball into Red Devil territory. King gained another Wolves’ first down to the Red Devil 30, followed by another Gallegos tackle for loss. Facing a fourth-and-seven from the Evanston 27, Cornia stuffed the run for his third tackle for loss and Evanston took over on downs at their own 26-yard line with a little under six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Evanston utilized the two-pronged rushing attack of Cornia and Escalante to march the ball downfield and the Red Devils were assisted by an illegal hit to move to the Green River 35. Following short runs, Escalante busted through the middle for a 20-yard gain to the Green River 3-yard line and took it the rest of the way, two plays later, for Evanston’s third and final score. Following the successful point-after-touchdown by Escalante, Evanston led 19-0 with 2:49 left to play in the third quarter.
Starting from their own 36, Green River mixed the play-calling with both running and passing plays for positive gains and three consecutive first downs to reach the Red Devil red zone as the third quarter expired. The Red Devil defense rose up and forced a turnover on downs early in the fourth, but back-to-back penalties on Evanston helped Green River force a Red Devil punt with 8:26 remaining in regulation.
The Wolves blocked the punt to take over at the Red Devil one-yard line. Ivie scored on the next play and with a successful PAT, the Wolves avoided the shutout, trailing 19-7 with 8:13 left to play.
Escalante recovered Green River’s onsides kick attempt near midfield for Evanston. The Wolves forced a three-and-out and Evanston booted the ball back to the Wolves. Big runs by King moved the ball to the 40 from deep in Wolves territory and a Serrano run advanced the ball to the Evanston 38. Serrano connected with Seth White to the Evanston 4-yard line and a penalty moved the ball half the distance to the goal line at the Red Devil 2. Serrano scored on a one-yard touchdown run and the PAT was good. With 1:09 left to play, Evanston led 19-14.
The Red Devils’ “good-hands” team recovered another onside kick attempt, again by Escalante. Evanston took a pair of knees in victory formation and held on for the win to rise to 5-1 on the season and 2-1 in Class 3A West Conference play.
In other Class 3A games, No. 3 Star Valley upended the previously undefeated and second-ranked Broncs in Jackson, 32-14. Evanston travels to Jackson next week before hosting Star Valley for the final game of the regular season. No. 1 Torrington rolled over winless Riverton, 51-0, and No. 4 Cody outlasted Powell, 22-10. Douglas pounded Worland, 42-15 and Lander blanked Rawlins, 28-0.
Star Valley is 3-0 to show the way in conference play, with Cody, Evanston and Jackson tied at 2-1 and Powell and Green River at 0-3 in the 3A West.
Elsewhere, the third-ranked Mountain View Buffalos defeated their rival Lyman, 42-14 in the Bridger Valley Bowl to assure themselves of a playoff position.
The Rich Rebels were defeated 17-0 in Randolph by the Duchesne Eagles.