By Brian Kalish
August 30, 2019
Weston– Much of D.C. Everest’s tilt against Oshkosh West on Friday night felt a little bit like a case of anything you can do, I can do better. When West opened the game with a long, time-consuming drive that resulted in a touchdown, Everest answered with a long, time-consuming touchdown drive of their own in the second quarter. When Everest produced a crucial, score-saving fumble deep inside the red zone on defense, West turned around and did the exact same thing. Big play after big play by Everest was matched by big play after big play by West. And vice versa.
In a game of seemingly unending one-upmanship, it was the Evergreens who ultimately outmaneuvered and outlasted their opponent to come away with an impressive 21-14 victory.
The win lifts Everest to 1-1 on the season, while West falls to 0-2.
Three factors were key in Everest’s victory: the big-time receiving ability of Bryan Halambeck, the heady play of quarterback Ethan Ostrowski and the collective grit of the Evergreens’ defense.
Simply put, the Wildcats’ defense had no answer for Halambeck or Ostrowski.
Halambeck was on a roll from the outset and produced an evening’s worth of highlights both running precise routs, producing impressive run after the catch yards, and bailing out the offense on broken plays.
“Sometimes it wasn’t quite there and the plays broke down a little bit, but we just kept going and trusted Ethan that the ball would be there every time,” Halambeck said. “And it was there every time. The line had great blocking and gave him tons of time.”
No play was bigger than when Halambeck snared a 35-yard touchdown pass from Ostrowski with 2:08 to go in the third quarter to give the Evergreens a 14-7 lead.
“I told (Everest coach) Strehlow and Ethan to give me one,” Halambeck said. “They trusted in me and threw it up and I ran, turned around, and the ball was right there. I just went up for it, caught it, and it was a great feeling.”
The excitement from Halambeck’s touchdown grab was short-lived for Evergreen fans.
On the ensuing kickoff, West’s Nate Carlin knifed through Everest’s kickoff coverage for a 85-yard touchdown run, knotting the game at 14-14.
And that’s when Ostrowski stepped up. After inflicting damage on the Wildcats’ defense with his arm for much of the game, Ostrowski used his legs to seal the deal, engineering a drive where he rushed five times for 47 yards, capped off by a one-yard touchdown scamper to give his team a 21-14 lead.
“I just knew as an offense we had the heart,” Ostrowski said. “We know we’ve always got to push through and get better each week.”
Finally, Everest’s defense came up big, snuffing out a potential game-tying drive by the Wildcats late in the fourth quarter. The Evergreens’ defense produced with a stop on a fourth and five just outside of the red zone to effectively end the game.
“That was huge for our defense,” said coach Strehlow. “(West) started the game and they went right down the field on us. To get that stop at the end was huge. What a great confidence builder and getting our team to understand they can play with some of the better teams in the state.”
Up next for Everest is Appleton North, who will visit Stiehm Stadium in Week 3 with a 1-1 record after suffering a 31-7 setback against Franklin in Week 2.
2:15, Oshkosh West, Bryce Hinn 2 yd run 7-0
7:28, Everest, Delton Zuleger 2 yd run 7-7
2:08, Everest, Halambeck 35 yd reception 14-7; 1:56 Oshkosh West, Nate Carlin 85-yard kickoff return 14-14
10:50, Everest, Ostrowski 1 yd run 21-14