Jamerson Turner knew his team needed a lift with the score tied at halftime. It took him only 11 seconds to provide Evans with just the boost it needed.
Turner returned the opening kickoff of the second half 71 yards for a touchdown, starting a second-half scoring barrage for the visiting Knights in their 42-26 victory over Westside on Friday night.
"At halftime, we talked about getting some momentum as fast as we could," said Turner, who also rushed for 82 yards and two touchdowns. "I was thinking that I could do it on that play."
The special teams score was one of three non-offensive touchdowns for the Knights (5-1, 5-1 Region 3-AAAA). The night's opening score came on Tevin Nelson's 77-yard punt return before Evans' offense even got on the field, and Glenn Cassedy returned a fumble 25 yards late in the third quarter to put the Knights ahead by 21 points.
The night featured a duel at running back between Evans' Jonathan Finch and Chris Hunter for Westside (3-3, 3-3 Region 3-AAAA). Hunter finished with 157 yards on 20 carries, adding 46 receiving yards, while Finch carried 14 times for 139 yards and added 20 receiving yards.
"I felt much healthier than I did the last few games. It was great to be able to give my team some momentum," said Hunter, who punched in touchdowns of 2 and 3 yards. "Let me also give a shoutout to Jonathan Finch."
"You expect something like that. Chris had a lot of good runs, and I did too," said Finch, who scored the Knights' final touchdown early in the fourth quarter. "Our offense was kind of frustrated in the first half, but we calmed down and finally got the flow as the game went on."
The Knights put up 164 of their 237 rushing yards after halftime to wear down the Patriots' defense.
Westside lost the ball four times on two interceptions and two fumbles, while Evans had two turnovers on a fumble and an interception.
EVANS 42, WESTSIDE 26
PLAY OF THE GAME: Looking to make a statement out of halftime, Evans' Jamerson Turner broke a 14-all tie when he returned the opening kickoff of the second half 71 yards for a touchdown.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Turner also notched a pair of rushing touchdowns, finishing with 82 yards on eight carries.
WHY EVANS WON: The Knights scored twice on kick returns and once on defense. Meanwhile, the running game, led by Jonathan Finch , got stronger as the game progressed. Finch carried 14 times for 139 yards and a touchdown and added 20 yards receiving.
WHY WESTSIDE LOST: The Patriots hung tough before halftime, and running back Chris Hunter amassed 203 total yards to keep Westside close. However, the Patriots could not keep up with the Knights' torrid scoring pace.
NEXT: Josey at Evans; Westside at Butler, Friday.