EVANSTON — The Evanston Red Devils dropped their first game of the season, which was also a 3A West Conference setback, when they fell to the Cody Broncs, 46-26, on Friday night at Spike Vannoy Field in Park County.
Junior speedster and returning all-state running back Charlie Beaudrie had a career night, scoring touchdowns on runs of 37, 20, 4 and 60 yards from scrimmage, along with adding an 85-yard kickoff return, in addition to a two-point conversion, accounting for 32 of Cody’s 46 points.
“He’s a heck of a football player in all phases of the game,” Red Devil head coach Pat Fackrell told the Herald, “as a safety, a running back and a kick returner.”
Fackrell and his staff had scouted Cody well and were very aware of Beaudrie’s explosiveness and breakaway speed.
“That’s something that is rather difficult to replicate in a practice setting, that kind of speed,” Fackrell added.
“He’s an outstanding runner, but we took bad angles and didn’t wrap up.”
The game started off well for the Red Devils who scored on their opening possession on a six-play 75-yard drive, capped off by a 5-yard Tyus Cornia touchdown run, which was set up by a 39-yard Pablo Escalante run up the middle. Escalante also booted the PAT and Evanston had the first and as it turns out, their only lead of the night, 7-0, with 9:23 left in the opening quarter.
Cody quarterback Hunter Hays was sacked on consecutive plays by Jesus Quintero and Bryson Davis, forcing a Cody punt on the Broncs’ first possession, but Cody held Evanston to a three-and-out.
Beaudrie took charge on a 17-yard run and Cody was later assisted by a penalty on the Red Devil defense, which spotted the ball at the Red Devil 37-yard line and Beaudrie took it to the house from there. Hays missed the PAT and Evanston still led by one, 7-6, with 4:47 left in the first quarter.
The Red Devils were unable to establish their offense and punted to Cody. The Broncs began from their own 39 and utilized a combination of run and pass to sustain their drive. Again, assisted by a penalty on Evanston, Cody scored on a 20-yard run by Beaudrie, who also reached the end zone on a subsequent two-point conversion. With 1:16 left in the opening quarter, the fifth-ranked Broncs took the lead over the third-ranked Red Devils, 14-7, and Cody never looked back.
Red Devil quarterback Seth Lloyd was sacked by the Cody defense at the Evanston 33, forcing another punting situation for the Red Devils.
Starting from their own 18-yard line, Hays would connect with Beaudrie for 53-yard passing strike that placed the ball at the Evanston 4-yard line and Beaudrie took it in from that point to put the Broncs up 21-7 with 9:20 left in the first half.
Evanston countered on a 28-yard Cornia touchdown run on a drive originating from the Red Devil 26. Escalante’s point-after-touchdown was good and Evanston pulled to within one score with 4:22 remaining in the half at 21-14.
The Red Devils had a chance to add to their tally before the first half came to an end, but a 39-yard field goal attempt by Escalante was unsuccessful.
Evanston recovered an undesigned onside kickoff to begin the second half at the Cody 23. Cornia carried to the 12 and Escalante did the rest with a touchdown plunge to draw within one point. The PAT attempt was mishandled and the Broncs maintained the lead, 21-20, with 10:58 left in quarter number three.
Cody’s next drive ended in a missed 34-yard field goal with 7:25 left to go in the third.
The Bronc defense forced another Red Devil punt and Cody took over at their own 34-yard line. On a third down and four situation from their own 40, Beaudrie put his breakaway speed on display, scampering 60 yard for paydirt with 3:28 left to play in the third quarter. The PAT attempt was no good, but the Broncs were up, 27-20, and that’s how the quarter would end.
Evanston marched down the field and had the ball at the Cody 22, facing a third and 14, when Evanston back-up quarterback David Baxter was sacked and the resulting fumble was picked up and returned for a score by Jeff Williams with 10:05 left in regulation. The PAT was no good, but Cody padded the lead to 13 points, up 33-20.
Cody recovered an onside kick at the Red Devil 38 and six plays later, the Broncs scored again on a Jakoby Vipperman 5-yard touchdown run to go up 39-20.
Angel Rodriguez returned the ensuing kickoff 30 yards to the Evanston 45-yard line and the Red Devils answered the Cody score on a 12-play, 55-yard drive, culminated by a 1-yard run by Cornia. The Evanston tailback was stopped short on a two-point conversion attempt and Cody remained in command, 39-26, with 2:43 left in quarter number four.
The Broncs’ final score came on an 85-yard kickoff return by Beaudrie with 2:29 remaining that sealed the deal for Cody.
The Red Devils are now 4-1 on the season and tied for second in the 3A West Conference with Cody at 1-1, though the Broncs have the benefit of the tie-breaker, with their head-to-head victory over the Red Devils. Jackson and Star Valley are tied for first at 2-0 in the conference standings and are 5-0 and 4-1 on the season, respectively. The two teams will meet this Friday in the annual “Fall Brawl” in Jackson, where Evanston will travel on Oct. 12, following this Friday’s Homecoming game against Green River.
In other 3A games, No. 1 Torrington had no problem with Douglas, as the Trailblazers remain unbeaten with a 40-14 home win. No. 2 Jackson picked up a 33-23 conference road victory at Green River and No. 4 Star Valley bested the Panthers in Powell by a touchdown, 14-7. Worland also won on the road at Rawlins, 16-7, and Lander defeated cross-county rival Riverton, 35-27, in the battle for Fremont County supremacy.
Elsewhere, the second-ranked Mountain View Buffalos scored the winning touchdown with 51 seconds remaining in Pinedale, to defeat the Wranglers, 21-14, in a crucial 2A West Conference showdown and Lyman picked up a 20-0 win over the Star Valley JV.
The Rich County Rebels won their first game of the season with a 28-14 home victory over the Kanab Cowboys on Saturday afternoon.