Evansville holds off Edgerton
But the tide didn’t fully turn for visiting Edgerton here Friday night, as Evansville High held on for a 14-7 Rock Valley North football victory.
With 1:34 remaining, the Blue Devils (2-3, 1-2) appeared poised to seal their 13th victory over the Crimson Tide (4-1, 2-1) in their last 14 meetings. But when Edgerton senior Donovan Nelson exploded into the backfield and threw Colin Benedict for a 3-yard loss on fourth-and-inches near the goal line, the Tide had new life.
“From one yard, we should’ve scored,” Evansville coach Ron Grovesteen said. “When you give Edgerton the ball and a chance, anything can happen.”
Six plays later, “anything” happened on third-and-10 from Edgerton’s 15. Tide quarterback Trevor Kinnett play-actioned and saw Tyler Oren down the heart of the field with a couple steps on both Evansville safeties
Kinnett launched a spiral that Oren hauled in just inside Blue Devils’ territory. Fifty-two yards later, the defense caught Oren in game-saving fashion. But as 40 seconds remained from almost-certain doom, the Tide had first-and-10 at the Evansville 33.
Three plays and no progress later, Kinnett rolled right on fourth-and-10, pumped once and took off for his and his team’s life. The nimble quarterback slipped an arm tackle and was knocked out of bounds at the 15.
But holding was called, evoking a reaction from the Edgerton coaching staff that resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The Tide failed to convert on fourth-and-35, essentially ending the game with 20 seconds left.
“It’s unfortunate that a call 30 yards away from the play makes a difference in the outcome of the game and takes it away from the kids,” Edgerton coach Mike Gregory said.
After a scoreless first half, Evansville senior James May electrified his team with a 47-yard kickoff return, going untouched before reaching the Edgerton 45.
“Great players make great plays in big games, and he’s a great player,” Evansville running back Tom Bjugstad said.
The teams traded turnovers deep in Edgerton territory. Evansville recovered a fumble at the Tide 15, and Bjugstad swept right, patiently setting up his blocks and scoring the game’s first points.
“I got a bunch of help,” Bjugstad said. “Jacob Wollinger got an amazing kickout block. All I had to do was get in the end zone.”
A 19-yard pass from Kinnett to Adam Gregory tied the game in the third quarter. It came on a rare non-play-action pass, which floated over two defenders deep in the right half of the end zone, where Gregory leaped and hauled it in.
The winning score came on a three-play drive in the fourth quarteer. Adam Stamm found May wide open down the left sideline to the 2, and Bjugstad punched it in from there.
The Tide had ample opportunities in the scoreless first half.
“We missed some opportunities and never had anything we could consistently go to,” Gregory said. “You’ve gotta take advantage of your opportunities, because in a close game like this that ends up being huge.”
And in a conference as competitive as the Rock Valley, impact victories are equally huge.
“We’ve got a lot of teams ahead of us, but this is the Rock Valley,” Grovesteen said. “Nobody’s out.”
EVANSVILLE 14, EDGERTON 7
Edgerton 0 0 7 0—7
Evansville 0 0 7 7—14
Scoring summary: Ev—Tom Bjugstad, 15 run (Jacob Wollinger kick). Ed—Adam Gregory, 19 pass from Trevor Kinnett (Cal Lintvedt kick). Eve—Bjugstad, 2 run (Wollinger kick).
Statistics: First downs—Ed 13, Ev 6. Rushing—Ed 41-93, Ev 28-88. Yards passing—Ed 119, Ev 77. Passes—Ed 22-8-3, Ev 13-5-1. Fumbles—Ed 3-2, Ev 1-1. Penalties—Ed 6-60, Ev 3-35.