MONTPELIER — For the second straight week, it took a little bit for Evergreen to get going, but once the Vikings got rolling they made big plays in all three phases — offense, defense, and special teams in another 100 degree heat index night to bury Montpelier 44-12 to go to 2-0 on the season.
The Vikes reached the red zone on their first possession but a Payton Boucher pass into the end zone was picked off by Jacob Lamontagne to kill the scoring chance.
The Vikes got the ball right back when Ash Walz coughed up the ball and sophomore defensive lineman Diesel Stoykoff pounced on the loose ball at the Loco 27 to put the Vikes in scoring territory.
“Diesel is one of those high energy type of guys for us,” explained coach Aaron Schmidt. “He’s always moving around, he’s vocal, he just does a nice job keeping that energy for us.
“That kind of set the tone after coming back after a negative, turning it into a positive.”
This time Evergreen cashed in four plays later when Boucher slammed in from the one to put Evergreen up 7-0.
The Vikings pitched a three-and-out — again with Stoykoff with a tackle for a loss — to create a fourth-and-long, but Lamontagne, in punt formation, went around a hard-charging Viking defender and picked up 23 yards to keep the Loco drive going.
Lamontagne finished the drive with a four yard burst, but the extra point was missed to allow the Vikings to keep a 7-6 lead.
Two possessions later, Evergreen began a series of consecutive scoring drives.
The first was keyed when Boucher fired one downfield with sophomore Riley Dunbar on the receiving end of a 51-yard aerial to get Evergreen into the red zone.
After a holding penalty, Boucher nailed sophomore Ryder Hudik going down the left sideline for a score and a 14-6 Viking lead.
Evergreen got one more before halftime after another three-and-out.
This time yet another sophomore, Grant Richardson, was on the receiving end of a Boucher scoring toss, this time from 25 yards away to give Evergreen a 21-6 lead at the break.
The third quarter was “special” for the Vikings as they forced a punt on the opening Montpelier series, and Dunbar went around the left side and raced 70 yards to paydirt and a 28-6 advantage.
The Vikes forced a punt on the next series and when the snap was high, the Locos had to fall on the pigskin in the end zone for a two point Viking safety.
After the free kick, Evergreen struck again as Boucher threw his third TD pass to his third different receiver, this time to senior Landen Vance from 16 yards away.
“Last week North Baltimore didn’t really give our outside receivers much attention and tonight it looked like the same, so we wanted to make sure we featured them at practice and then let them know we will come to you,” explained Schmidt of his team’s diverse attack.
“Grant Richardson had a couple catches and a touchdown, Ryder had a rough one last week and had some redemption this week. He never waivered and I was really proud of him.”
With the clock running because of the OHSAA 30-point rule, Lamontagne momentarily pulled the Locos back under that limit when he found a crease on the left and went 72 yards for a touchdown. However, the Vikings answered back before the end of the third as Connor Hewson went left and behind a great block on the edge, rambled 64 yards to again push the spread past the 30-point mark at 44-12 heading into the fourth.
Once more, Schmidt expressed that his team was up to the challenge with the oppressive heat conditions.
“We kicked their butts this week and told them that conditioning would be a deciding factor. They didn’t like doing it but they did like the result tonight.”
Thanks to Lamontagne’s big run, Montpelier gained 225 yards on the ground but threw for just 13 as Evergreen recorded three sacks.
Evergreen accumulated 323, including 194 in the air as Boucher went 11-17.
Evergreen hosts Ottawa Hills, a winner over Swanton, this Friday.