Top-seeded Evansville found itself playing from behind after the first quarter of its WIAA Division 4 playoff opener Friday night.
The Blue Devils turned things around from there.
They scored the final 29 points over the next two quarters, downing eighth-seeded Walworth Big Foot 35-14 on Ron Grovesteen Field.
Evansville, which improved to 9-1, will face fifth-seeded Lakeside Lutheran in a second-round game next Friday. Big Foot finished the season with a 4-6 record.
Three weeks earlier, the Chiefs trailed Evansville 21-0 after the first quarter. But this time, a touchdown pass from Basil Demco to Owen Martin and an 11-yard rushing touchdown from Cole Vance made it 14-6 Big Foot after the opening eight minutes.
Evansville got within six points on a safety, and the Blue Devils’ defense pitched a shutout from that point forward.
Evansville took a 15-14 lead into halftime thanks to a 10-yard pass from Tyr Severson to Jaden O’Bel and a Matt Forster extra point.
The Blue Devils pulled away with a three-touchdown third quarter. Senior receiver Sulley Geske caught touchdown passes for 25 and 62 yards. Along with a 45-yard touchdown to begin the game, Geske finished with four catches for 146 yards and three scores.
Severson, a junior, completed 13 of 28 passes for 281 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. Forster also rushed for 86 yards and the final touchdown.
Martin hauled in eight passes for 126 yards and a touchdown for the Chiefs.
EVANSVILLE 35, BIG FOOT 14Walworth Big Foot 14 0 0 0—14
Evansville 6 9 20 0—35
Scoring: Sulley Geske 45 pass from Tyr Severson (pass failed). BF—Owen Martin 49 pass from Basil Demco (Jack Grunow kick). BF—Cole Vance 11 run (Gurnow kick). E—Safety. E—Jaden O’Bel 10 pass from Severson (Matt Forster kick). E—Geske 25 pass from Severson (Forster kick). E—Geske 62 pass from Severson (kick blocked). E—Forster 2 run (Forster kick).
Statistics: First downs—Big Foot 15, Evansville 23. Rushing—Big Foot 33-132, Evansville 38-166. Passing yards—Big Foot 189, Evansville 281. Passes—Big Foot 22-15-1, Evansville 28-13-2. Fumbles—Big Foot 3-2, Evansville 1-0. Penalties—Big Foot 13-125, Evansville 9-60.
River Valley 42, Brodhead/Juda 0—The seventh-seeded Cardinals were outscored 21-0 in both halves and fell in a Division 4 first-round playoff opener.
Brodhead/Juda finished the season with a 4-6 record.
Full stats from this game were not submitted.