Evergreen battled one of the state’s best but a big fourth quarter turnover coupled with two just as big fourth down conversions led to a score that finally allowed Patrick Henry to put away Evergreen, 27-14, in a big Northwest Ohio Athletic League football game at Pifer Field Friday.
The loss was the first in the league for Evergreen, who is 4-2 overall.
Patrick Henry is 2-1 in the league and 5-1 for the season.
The Patriots got off fast as on their first play from scrimmage, Corbin Johnson went 72 yards for a score for a 6-0 lead.
However, the Vikings came right back, playing smash mouth football with a 16-play, 6:40 second drive to paydirt.
First down runs twice from Jack Krispin, then from Jack Etue and Trent Coopshaw pushed the Vikes to the PH 8.
Two incomplete passes and a loss of three pushed Evergreen back to the 11 for a fourth and goal.
Etue lofted a pass to the left corner of the end zone where Krispin cut inside the PH defensive back for the score and Alex Peete’s conversion gave Evergreen a 7-6 lead.
That score stayed until deep into the second quarter when after an Evergreen punt, the Patriots took over at the Viking 48.
TJ Rhamy’s 17-yard pass to Kolton Holloway set up Johnson’s second score of the night from 13 yards out and a two-point catch by Noah Kistner gave PH a 14-7 halftime lead.
Holloway took a screen pass early in the third, slipped a tackle and raced 42 yards to the end zone to boost the PH lead to two scores, 21-7.
Evergreen drove right back into Patriot territory on first down carries by Coopshaw and Krispin and reached just outside the red zone on a 12-yard burst by Etue. However, a holding call pushed the Vikings back into a first-and-22 and the drive stalled.
Patrick Henry had a chance to put the game away as they drove to the Viking 11 late in the third but Will Smithmyer threw Johnson for a two yard loss, Colin Smith batted away a back shoulder pass to Holloway at the goal line and then Payton Boucher knocked down a fourth down pass again at the goal line to keep Evergreen in striking distance.
The Vikings pushed out to the 35, but starting the fourth quarter a missed exchange rolled back to the 22 where Will Seedorf fell on it for PH.
Nick Beemer’s tackle for a loss helped push the Patriots into a fourth-and-18.
Rhamy went across the middle toward Holloway and when a Viking defender whiffed on the pick, the Patriot receiver came down with the ball for a gain of 23 and first-and-goal at the Viking 7.
Rhamy then converted a fourth-and-goal from three yards out to bump the Patriot lead to 27-7.
That score proved critical when Evergreen raced downfield 62 yards in just eight plays for a score.
Jacob Riggs’ leaping catch and run for 44 was the key play, then Etue while rolling left, found Riggs all by himself just over the goal line to slice the score to 27-14.
However, PH recovered the Vikings’ onside kick and ran the last four minutes off the clock.
Patrick Henry totalled 338 yards to 240 for the Vikings, and out-rushed Evergreen 210 to 170.
The Vikings had 15 first downs compared to 14 for the Patriots.
Evergreen next hosts Wauseon (5-1, 2-1 NWOAL) this Friday.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org