Red Devils lose on the road at No. 1 Cody, 48-14

Red Devil defender Cole Robinette battles for a loose ball with Cody’s Warren Sorenson during Friday’s 48-14 loss to the Broncs. Evanston will close out the season Friday at home against Green River; the Red Devils will also honor their seniors prior to the game. (CODY ENTERPRISE/Bob Kennedy)

For the first quarter of last Friday’s game against top-ranked Cody, the Evanston High School football team looked to be up to the Herculean task in front of them, holding the high-powered Broncs to just seven points, their lowest offensive output for a first quarter this season.

It wouldn’t last. Cody showed why they’re the favorite to repeat as 3A state champions this season, scoring 35 points in the second quarter to take a 42-0 lead into halftime, en route to a 48-14 win.

“Defense played pretty well, we just didn’t have enough gas to keep up with them,” said EHS head coach Jim Burton. “We tried to do some new things, but again, we didn’t have enough fuel in the tank to do it. It’s kinda hard – you get limited numbers to travel, and with them having 80 kids on the sideline, it can be difficult.”

Despite the demoralizing first-half score, the Red Devils came out in the second half like they’ve done all season, regardless of what the scoreboard says – ready to play, and play hard. Evanston held the Broncs to just six points in the second half, while scoring 14 points of their own, allowing the Red Devils a modest moral victory to take with them on the long bus ride home.

“It really comes right down to making sure you’re trusting each other, and doing the jobs you need to do,” Burton said about his message to the team at halftime. “The one score Cody had in the second half, we had a miscommunication in the secondary, and they capitalized on it, and got to where they had the running clock. Other than that, just that workman-like attitude.”

“Offensively, we’re getting to 4th-and-1 situations, and in a couple of those situations, the coach needs to go for it,” Burton added. “But I’m pretty proud of the way the kids fought back in the second half – there’s no quit in this group.”

Cody scored what would be their final touchdown of the night on the first play from scrimmage in the second half, a 65-yard touchdown pass from the Broncs’ All-Everything quarterback Luke Talich to Trey Thomasson, to make it 48-0. Evanston spoiled the shutout midway through the fourth quarter, a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Aiden Liechty. Dylan Liechty’s extra point made it 48-7; the Red Devils scored again a short time later, a 13-yard touchdown run by Braunson Sims, who was in at quarterback for Cohen Morrow. Dylan Liechty’s extra point made it 48-14, and that’s how the game would end.

Offensively for Evanston, Karter Randall was the leading rusher, with 71 yards on the ground. Brady Roberts toted the ball 19 times for 44 yards, while Aiden Liechty carried the ball six times for 25 yards and a touchdown. Sims had one carry for 13 yards and a touchdown.

Under center, Morrow completed two passes for 38 yards; he also threw an interception. Kai Barker hauled in one pass for 35 yards, while Randall finished with one catch for three yards.

Defensively, Kai Barker finished with 14.5 points, followed by Drew Barker, with 12.5. Sims had 11 points, Cole Robinette finished with 9.5 points and Kenyen Muir tallied eight points. Roberts finished with 7.5 points, while Morrow and Randall had seven points each.

“Our big guys – the offensive and defensive line – really stepped up when we needed them to, especially in that second half,” Burton said. “Carsen VanGieson, Braxton Bauer, Kenyen Muir on defense – they played well. Kai Barker had another great game defensively, as did Cohen Morrow. Cole Robinette, Drew Barker and Braunson Sims also stepped up, played some defense. It was nice to get some of those younger kids involved, and get them going. We have a lot of good young kids on the roster that will be coming back for us next year to step in for the seniors that are going to leave, so we’re excited about that.”

Eliminated from the playoffs thanks to Powell’s loss to Jackson, the Red Devils will close out the season Friday against Green River, a rivalry that’s picked up some steam the last few seasons.

“The big thing is execution – we cleaned up a lot of the penalties against Cody, but now it comes down to, ‘Hey, we’re in the right place – we need to make a play.’ That’s what is going to be the big difference against Green River. We have a little bit of a rivalry going on with Green River – they’re our closest conference opponent, and if they win, they get into the playoffs. I don’t mind playing spoiler.”

It’s also Senior Night for Evanston, who will try tosend their seniors off on a winning note.

“Our seniors are a good group of kids – hard workers, on and off the field,” Burton said. “They’re my first class that’s gone all the way through with me, so it’s special. They’re pretty good kids.”