Defense paces Vikings in 41-7 win


By Joe Blystone - For the Expositor and Enterprise



Evergreen’s Joseph Okos, left, and Grant Richardson, right, come together for a sack of Montpelier’s Grant Girrell Friday night. The Vikings defeated the Locomotives to move to 2-0 on the season.

Evergreen’s Joseph Okos, left, and Grant Richardson, right, come together for a sack of Montpelier’s Grant Girrell Friday night. The Vikings defeated the Locomotives to move to 2-0 on the season.


Max Householder | AIM Media Midwest

Evergreen wide receiver Riley Dunbar breaks loose upfield for a 56-yard touchdown in the second half versus Montpelier Friday.


Max Householder | AIM Media Midwest

Evergreen linebacker Camden Schlueter tackles Montpelier’s Kamron Smith.


Max Householder | AIM Media Midwest

In a courtroom at the end of a trial, when closing arguments are finished, the Defense Attorney always states, “the defense rests.”

Friday night Evergreen’s defense was far from at rest as the Vikings wreaked havoc and created chaos, allowing a minus 6 yards on the ground and scoring three consecutive Viking touchdowns in a 41-7 crushing over the Montpelier Locomotives.

The Vikes are now 2-0 on the young season.

“Our defense played aggressive, ran around and tackled well,” said Viking coach Evan Karchner. “I told them a lot of times when you do that good things might happen. When you are around the football sometimes it squirts out and rolls your way and (you) score some points.”

Evergreen took the opening kickoff and went 70 yards in nine plays, capped by Hunter Vaculik’s six yard touchdown run to take a 7-0 lead.

At that point, Evergreen turned to a special teams play and the aforementioned defense to pad the score.

Colton Robertson’s 31-yard punt return set up a short 13-yard drive where Vaculik carried in from a yard away to make it 14-0 early in the second.

Montpelier stopped the Vikings when Riley Dunbar missed a field goal, then again when Vaculik threw a pass into the arms of the Locos’ Gavin Zyjewski at the goal line.

However after that second offensive misfire, Ryder Hudik nearly single-handedly blew the game open in the next 90 seconds by way of two game-changing plays.

Three plays after Zyjewski’s pick, Hudik stepped in front of a Grant Girrell pass in the flat and took two strides into the endzone from five yards out to give Evergreen a 21-0 lead.

Then on the next series, Girrell connected with Braden Smith across the middle, but when Smith was rocked by Ben Ruetz, the pigskin came loose and Hudik was there for the scoop and score to open the gap to 27-0.

“That’s big for Ryder and big for his confidence,” exclaimed Karchner of his junior corner. “People who know Ryder, know he’s a pretty quiet guy but if you were going to pick a guy who will do exactly the right thing all the time and do what you ask and you only have to coach it one time, he is one of those guys. I always believe that if you are one of those kind of guys good things happen and tonight it happened a couple times.”

Diesel Stoykoff created the next Viking score on a strip sack of Girrell and Robby Pennington was there to corral the bouncing ball and carried it to paydirt from a couple yards away to make it 34-0 with 8:54 to go in the third, initiating the running clock rule.

Dunbar capped the scoring when he took a short pass, split two defenders and galloped 56 yards for a touchdown with 2:43 left in the third.

Montpelier got their touchdown in the fourth when Girrell hit Brayden Brink from 32 yards away with just over 11 minutes left in the game.

Evergreen outgained Montpelier 278 to 138.

Vaculik ran for 115 yards while Girrell threw for 144 for the Locos on 13 of 24 passes.

Besides the three touchdowns off turnovers, the Vikings sacked Girrell six times, with Grant Richardson getting credit for 3 1/2 of those.

Stoykoff had three more tackles for a loss on top of forcing a touchdown-scoring fumble.

Evergreen travels to unbeaten Ottawa Hills Thursday, a game moved up a day because of the officiating shortage in the state.

Evergreen’s Joseph Okos, left, and Grant Richardson, right, come together for a sack of Montpelier’s Grant Girrell Friday night. The Vikings defeated the Locomotives to move to 2-0 on the season.
https://www.swantonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/23/2022/08/web1_Okos-and-Richardson-sack.jpgEvergreen’s Joseph Okos, left, and Grant Richardson, right, come together for a sack of Montpelier’s Grant Girrell Friday night. The Vikings defeated the Locomotives to move to 2-0 on the season. Max Householder | AIM Media Midwest

Evergreen wide receiver Riley Dunbar breaks loose upfield for a 56-yard touchdown in the second half versus Montpelier Friday.
https://www.swantonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/23/2022/08/web1_Dunbar-breaks-free.jpgEvergreen wide receiver Riley Dunbar breaks loose upfield for a 56-yard touchdown in the second half versus Montpelier Friday. Max Householder | AIM Media Midwest

Evergreen linebacker Camden Schlueter tackles Montpelier’s Kamron Smith.
https://www.swantonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/23/2022/08/web1_Schlueter-tackles-Smith.jpgEvergreen linebacker Camden Schlueter tackles Montpelier’s Kamron Smith. Max Householder | AIM Media Midwest

By Joe Blystone

For the Expositor and Enterprise