BRYAN – The fumbles and interceptions were bad enough.
However, one of those picks led to a 14-point swing, and a blocked punt for a touchdown helped Bryan run out to a big lead and a 42-20 win over Evergreen Friday in NWOAL football.
Both teams are now 4-5 on the season.
After both teams went three-and-out to start the game, Bryan blocked a Viking punt and fell on it in the end zone with 7:54 left in the first quarter for a 7-0 Bryan lead.
On Evergreen’s next possession, a Jack Etue fumble gave the Golden Bears possession at the 44-yard line of the Vikings.
Three Nate Miller completions, the last 17 yards came on one to Connor Arthur to double the Bryan lead at 14-0.
A short Viking punt gave Bryan the ball near midfield and Austin Dean capitalized, breaking a tackle and going 33 yards against the grain on the second play to push the score to 21-0 at the end of one.
However Evergreen stiffened defensively, recording five tackles for a loss in the half, and forced Miller to cough up the ball at the Evergreen 33 where Jack Krispin recovered setting up a Viking drive.
Trent Coopshaw’s 11-yard run and two Etue to Krispin first down passes got the Vikes into the red zone, but Arthur picked Etue in the end zone to snuff out the threat.
Again Evergreen held, forcing a Bryan punt, and Etue’s 34-yard strike across the middle to Jake Riggs got the Vikings inside the 10 with nine seconds left.
However, instead of a score that would slice the lead to a two-score game with the Vikings getting the ball to start the second half, Caleb Kepler provided the back-breaker as he picked the pass in the end zone and went 102 yards down the sideline to make it 27-0 at the half.
The Vikings did score starting the second half as Etue hit Riggs from 26 yards out but Miller responded with touchdown passes to Tyler Rohrer and Arthur to keep the Vikings at bay.
Tristen Cordrey fell on a teammate’s fumble in the end zone leading to one Evergreen score, and Payton Boucher hit Landon Vance for a scoring strike late.
For the game Bryan accumulated 264 yards – including 201 in the air – while Evergreen had 258.
The Vikings close the season hosting Liberty Center (8-1).
Reach Joe Blystone at email@example.com