Most football teams coming off a winless season would consider the following year a success if they simply made the playoffs.
Not the case at Evansville High School.
The Blue Devils punched their postseason ticket Friday night with a dominating 43-0 Rock Valley Conference victory over visiting East Troy. After going 0-9 a year ago, Evansville is 5-0 and comfortably in the driver’s seat atop the RVC standings.
“We’re just getting started,” said junior Josh Pappadakis, who had a sack and a punt block that led to a touchdown in the second quarter. “Every team that we have played has pushed us. We just come back to practice Monday and start working.
“It’s not a celebration coming off a win, it’s just go back to work.”
The Blue Devils wasted no time getting after the Trojans (3-2).
Evansville received the opening kickoff and needed less than three minutes to score. Junior quarterback Tyr Severson tossed up a jump ball on fourth down, and it was hauled in by 6-foot-2 senior receiver Sulley Geske for a 36-yard touchdown.
After the Trojans went three-and-out on their first possession, Geske returned the ensuing punt 55 yards for another touchdown. Just over four minutes in, Evansville led 16-0.
“We got the ball first and wanted to come out and make a statement right away,” said Geske, who caught four passes for 90 yards and a pair of touchdowns and also hauled in a two-point conversion. “Then on the punt return, I just found an open hole and went. It was shorter than I thought, but I ran up and got it.”
Evansville scored twice in rapid succession again in the second quarter.
Carson Hill’s four-yard touchdown pass capped a 12-play drive with 4:57 left before halftime.
On East Troy’s ensuing drive, Pappadakis picked up a third-down sack and then raced in on the punt attempt one play later and blocked it. Mason Young fell on the ball in the end zone, and it was 29-0 at half.
“This is probably the best game I’ve had in all my three years,” said Pappadakis, whose family is moving to Ohio this weekend. “It’s funny, because every single time that series of plays is ran ... on punt block, I usually come out. But it was a scenario where I was in and somehow blocked it.”
Young added a third-quarter rushing touchdown, and Geske hauled in a 42-yard scoring strike early in the fourth.
East Troy came in averaging nearly 23 points per game, but Evansville’s defense allowed just 91 total yards.
“For our defense to hold that team scoreless, that’s a challenge,” Evansville coach Ron Grovesteen said. “Our kids work hard.”
Severson completed 19 of 27 pass attempts for 314 yards and three touchdowns. Hill finished with five catches for 109 yards and a score. O’Bel and Patrick Crull each had a team-high seven tackles, and O’Bel also had an interception.
“Us seniors, and everyone on the team, we’ve been working so hard for this after last year,” Geske said. “We call this our revenge tour. We’re trying to get revenge on what happened last year.”
That tour resumes when Evansville plays at Whitewater next Friday.
EVANSVILLE 43, EAST TROY 0
East Troy 0 0 0 0—0
Evansville 16 13 7 7—43
Scoring: Ev—Sulley Geske 36 pass from Tyr Severson (Geske pass from Severson). Ev—Geske 55 punt return (Jaden O’Bel pass from Severson). Ev—Carson Hill 4 pass from Severson (run failed). Ev—Mason Young fumble recovery in end zone (Matt Forster kick). Ev—Young 8 run (Forster kick). Ev—Geske 42 pass from Severson (Forster kick).
Statistics: First downs—ET 7, Ev 19. Rushing: ET 22-28, Ev 26-120. Passing yards—ET 63, Ev 334. Passes—ET 23-8-1, Ev 28-20-0. Fumbles—ET 1-0, Ev 3-1. Penalties—ET 5-40, Ev 10-85.