It was the first great decision in what he hopes is a career full of them as the man in charge in Hinton.
The Bobcats forced four turnovers Thursday night in Hinton, intercepting three passes and forcing a fumble on special teams, as they rolled to a 36-7 win over Class AA PikeView in The Battle for the Bluestone.
“I mean Coach (David) Smith does a great job with these guys,” a giddy Evans said. “These guys have bought in and just sold out to him. That’s what’s happened. We couldn’t do it without him or the whole staff. We can’t – I mean when you give up seven points you’re going to win. That’s all there is to it. We had some miscues on offense and put the ball on the ground a few times but that’s some stuff we can clean up. The thing I was proud of is we had zero personal foul penalties and that’s huge for us. We’re trying to create a new look down here and it’s not going to be bad football. But again I can’t say enough about the defense. It’s fun to call an offense behind that.”
As Evans noted, turnovers hurt Summers early. After the Bobcats moved the ball seemingly at will during their second drive, an unexpected snap followed by a fumble gave PikeView life on offense.
Fortunately for the Bobcats their defense took it away. Still they weren’t out of the clear. At the end of a run down to the Panthers’ 15 on their next drive, Kalob Black fumbled and the Panthers were there to recover once again. While the PikeView defense forced stops, the offense couldn’t hold up its end of the bargain as drops and overthrown passes kept it out of a rhythm.
Though some credit goes to the Summers defense.
When plays broke down the defense was there to bring PikeView quarterback Peyton Greer, a converted receiver, down before he could do too much damage. Standing out amongst the group in the first half was Andre Merriam-Harshaw who piled up two sacks before the intermission.
“I just have a read because they don’t expect me to come from corner blitzes,” Merriam-Harshaw said. “The quarterback was looking to No. 88 (Dylan Blake) and he did a great job, but he wasn’t seeing me from the backside so that’s where I was able to get it done.”
The tide eventually turned as the Bobcats got out of their own way. When they did they were nearly impossible to stop.
Duke Dodson cracked the goose egg with an 11-yard touchdown run at the 2:46 mark of the second quarter and it took approximately 21 seconds of gametime for Summers to strike again. A PikeView fumble on the ensuing kickoff was recovered by the Bobcats at the PikeView 40 and Merriam-Harshaw went to work on offense. Consecutive runs of 25 and 15 yards resulted in the Bobcats’ second score of the night.
The Panthers’ hopes bottomed out once more in the half as Black picked off a pass at the Summers 47 with 2:09 left, giving Summers one more scoring opportunity. It capitalized.
A screen pass from quarterback Brandon Isaac to Dodson picked up 27 yards and Black added 17 more on the ground to get Summers to the PikeView four. Attempts to run it in were unsuccessful, but Isaac was able to get the offense lined up and spike the ball with 2.7 seconds left for one more play.
The Bobcats made it count as Black punched it in from three yards out as time expired to put his team up 20-0 at the break.
“We got wore down,” PikeView head coach Jason Spears said. “We had a big goal line stand and all of a sudden here comes a turnover. That’s one thing about it. We tell these guys we’ve got to give our defense a break. We have the opportunity to sub out now, but the problem is when you’re on the field that long it’s tough to get back in there and make tackles. But on offense we just didn’t execute. I thought Coach Blankenship had a great gameplan, we just didn’t execute.”
PikeView found a spark in the second half as Greer punched it in himself from a yard out, but the Panthers continued to struggle even after recovering another fumble – their third of the night. A 33-yard touchdown run from Merriam-Harshaw made it a three-score game again in the third and another interception from Black in the fourth deflated PikeView.
“When I saw them throwing the ball I noticed more what they were doing,” Black said. “When they got down we knew they were going to do that more. So I was just watching it and reading where they were going with both times.”
Summers put the game to bed late in the fourth when freshman defensive back Ryan Oliveros returned an interception 23 yards for a touchdown with 5:41 left in the game, clinching Evans’ first career win as a head coach.
“This is awesome, but hats off to the kids,” Evans said. “They played their butts off. We didn’t do anything. This was their night and it’s all about them.”
As a team the Bobcats rushed for 446 yards with Dodson and Black compiling 119 and 108, respectively. Merriam-Harshaw led all players with 199 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.
“Well first off our blocking was amazing,” Merriam-Harshaw said. “And we got some good lead blocks from Duke. The line was playing good especially on belly, which was a really good drive all over. It’s just good blocking all over. I can’t do anything without the line.”
Contact Tyler Jackson at email@example.com, call him at 304-731-5542 and follow on Twitter @tjack94
PV: 0 0 7 0 – 7
SC: 0 20 8 8 – 36
SC – Dodson 12 run (PAT failed); 2:46
SC – Merriam-Harshaw 15 run (Merriam-Harshaw run); 2:25
SC – Black 3 run (conversion failed), 0:00
PV – Greer 1 run (Riffe PAT); 9:45
SC: Merriam-Harshaw 33 run (Dodson run), 2:24
SC: Oliveros 23-yard interception return (Merriam-Harshaw run); 5:41
Rushing – PV: Austin Shrewsberry 6-14, Peyton Greer 9-30, Dylan Blake 1-29; SC: Andre Merriam-Harshaw 20-199, Duke Dodson 15-119, Black 11-108, Evan McGuire 1-(Minus-4), Brandon Isaac 2-(minus-7), Ben Lane 5-31.
Passing – PV: Peyton Greer 7-23-91-3, Braydon Dalton 0-1-0-0; SC: Brandon Isaac 2-3-35-0.
Receiving – PV: Dylan Blake 3-87, Nathan Riffe 2-3, Shrewsberry 1-0, Dalton 1-1 ; SC: Alex Hudgins 1-7, Dodson 1-28.