It was a play the Evergreen Park football team had practiced all week, and the coaching staff planned to use it on the first offensive snap of Week 1.
Although the play never quite worked in practice, it certainly did on opening night.
Taking a pitch from quarterback Jack Manso, senior David Torres fired a pass downfield to a wide-open Obadiah White who raced 61 yards for a touchdown late in the first quarter.
Evergreen Park (EP) rolled from there, defeating Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (CHSAS) 41-0 on Aug. 26 at Gately Stadium.
“All week long, we knew that would be the first play we ran,” Torres said. “It never actually worked in practice. I had confidence in Obadiah and just threw it down there.”
The trick play came after an exhausting first 10 minutes of the game for EP against a strong CHSAS running game.
On the game’s opening drive, the Cyclones marched down the field on a ground-churning 15-play drive that ate up almost 10 minutes off the clock.
However, with CHSAS facing a fourth-and-15 on the EP 33-yard line, the Mustangs came through. On an Elijah Jones pass, EP senior defensive back Bomani Robinson swooped in for the interception.
“I had over-the-top coverage on the other side of the field,” Robinson said. “I swooped in, took advantage and got the ball. I had to go get it.”
As for Torres making the decision on the tricky touchdown, he saw what he needed in the defense. He stood his ground, made the throw and took a hard hit on the play.
“They ran a different defense than the one we practiced against,” Torres said. “I saw a linebacker blitzing and thought I was going to get smoked. When the corner came up, that’s what I was looking for. If he did that, I was throwing it.”
Senior lineman Hunter Kummer delivered a sack on CHSAS’ next drive to help force a punt.
On the punt, Darryn Caston fielded the ball at midfield and raced to the left sideline and was gone for a 54-yard touchdown.
EP Coach Jerry Verde was impressed with all aspects of his team’s play.
“You see how talented Darryn is with the ball in space. We did a nice job blocking,” Verde said. “The most impressive thing was the defense blocking on the play after being out there the entire first quarter. It was nice to see.”
Senior running back Jalen Lynch finished with 5 carries for 65 yards and 2 touchdowns (13 and 50 yards) with Myron Harris adding 46 yards and a touchdown, a 28-yard scamper.
Senior kicker Sean Doherty drilled two field goals for the Mustangs, connecting from 22 and 29 yards. His 22-yard kick gave EP a 17-0 halftime advantage.
After the early struggles to stop the run, Verde was pleased with the performance of the defensive line and backfield.
“Until someone comes up and hits you in the mouth, and I mean really, really hits you, you don’t how to react,” Verde said. “We wanted to stay in front of them and wear them down. By the second quarter, we showed more of what we are capable of.”
Junior running back Savone Taylor led CHSAS with 48 yards on 12 carries. Sophomore Jaylen Brooks rushed 9 times for 30 yards.
The Cyclones ran the ball 34 times for 76 yards.
EP returns to action Week 2 hosting CICS-Longwood, and CHSAS will play North Lawndale Charter.