EVANSTON – A well-executed second quarter laid the foundation for a Puncher victory against Evanston on Thursday, Sept. 2. The Puncher offense scored three touchdowns in the 12 minutes before halftime while its defense wreaked havoc on the Red Devils’ line of scrimmage.
The Punchers held the line through most of the second half and scored another touchdown in the fourth quarter to seal the victory, 26-6.
Both the Puncher offense and defense underwent several changes this week, but the team rose to the occasion, said head coach Ryan Visser.
“Overall, I was happy with the effort the team came out and played with,” he added. “We had a few kids not able to make the trip and guys had to step up in their place and play big. Thomas Barron played his first game at quarterback. He did a good job keeping his cool and carrying out our game plan. Koy Walton had a big game at wide receiver, helping settle in Thomas. He made some big time catches. Our offensive line and running backs kept turning out the rushing yards.”
Visser also gave a shoutout to his defenders.
“Our defense played assignment football and held tough throughout the game. A standout was Brayden Hymas who did a great job controlling his gap all game.”
The first quarter ended scoreless. Finding their footing in the second quarter, the Punchers turned on the pressure.
Evanston held possession as the second quarter opened. Quick on their feet, seniors Dustin Martin and Jaron Petty caught Evanston’s receiver before he made any gain.
Senior Jaspur Brower caught the Red Devils’ carrier behind the line of scrimmage, forcing Evanston to punt.
The ball landed in Red Devil territory. Junior Jovany Munoz ran the ball over Evanston’s 20-yard line. Junior Thomas Howard charged down the middle to the 10-yard line.
Barron looked for an opening on the next play. Senior Dom Snively dashed through a gap in Evanston’s defensive line and ran up the right side. Barron then sent the ball into the air. Snively received the pass and ran the remaining yards into the end zone.
A good kick by senior Jafet Martinez raised the score to 7-0 in Big Piney’s favor.
The Big Piney defense shut down Evanston’s next drive, forcing another punt that placed Big Piney 36 yards from the end zone.
Punchers on the front line held Evanston back, giving Barron the breathing room to fire a sequence of passes. As Barron stepped back for the second pass, Walton raced down the field into the end zone wide open to receive the ball and score Big Piney’s second touchdown. Martinez kicked the ball between the goal posts and the score stood at 14-0 in Big Piney’s favor.
The Big Piney defense continued to hammer away. Barron and Petty caught the Red Devils’ receiver behind the line of scrimmage.
The Red Devils’ punt landed near the 50-yard line. Junior Thomas Howard, sophomore Karsyn Gurr and Munoz drove the ball forward. Barron handed the ball off to Munoz. Munoz tucked the ball and swept 35 yards up the right to score a touchdown.
Howard, Hymas and senior Matthew Evans held the Puncher defensive line until the halftime buzzer sounded. The score was 20-0 in Big Piney’s favor.
Evanston opened the second half in possession. The Red Devils’ quarterback stepped back, looking for an opening. Hymas charged straight through the line of scrimmage to make a sack and end Evanston’s drive.
Later in the fourth quarter, Gurr recovered a fumble, placing the ball in Big Piney’s possession.
The Red Devil defense managed to stall Big Piney’s drive. Answering back, the Puncher defense stopped Evanston in its tracks with tackles by Howard, Petty, Hymas and Gurr.
Howard, Munoz, Gurr and Barron relentlessly moved the ball down the field. Barron completed a pass to Walton waiting in the end zone to score another Puncher touchdown.
Evanston managed to drive the ball into the end zone as the final minutes ticked down. The Punchers shut down the Red Devils’ attempt to score additional points.
The Red Devils again took possession in the final seconds but were halted by a sack from Brower.
A home game was scheduled against Thermopolis on Friday, Sept. 10. Due to COVID-19 protocols in Hot Springs County, it has been postponed.