There may not be a more grateful 3-0 football team in the state than Evansville.
After going 0-9 last year, the Blue Devils are enjoying early-season redemption.
Evansville jumped out to a three-touchdown lead against visiting Jefferson and rolled to a 40-8 victory over the Eagles to improve to 3-0 in the Rock Valley Conference on Friday night.
Senior running back Matt Forster ran for three touchdowns and had an interception, while Carson Hill racked up 142 total yards and a touchdown to propel Evansville to its first 3-0 start since 2015.
“To go 3-0 feels so amazing after the season we had last year; its’ just awesome,” Hill said. “After an 0-9 season, you just want to win even more.”
The Blue Devils were the aggressor from the opening kick, going 91 yards on 9 plays, capped by Forster’s 3-yard touchdown run.
Forster added another 5-yard touchdown run and intercepted a Logan Wagner past in the first 12 minutes of the game to propel the Blue Devils to a 14-0 lead.
Matt Kostroun later made it 21-0 with a 13-yard scamper in the second quarter.
“We tried to get a lead on them quick, so it turns the table on Jefferson quickly,” Evansville coach Ron Grovesteen said. “It’s better to have a team like Jefferson chase you instead having to chase them because of how well they run the ball.”
The Eagles were indeed forced to chase a 21-point deficit until running back Jeffrey Zeh cut into the deficit with a 21-yard run in the second quarter. The Eagles added a 2-point conversion to cut it to 21-8.
But the Eagles’ optimism was brief as the Blue Devils came right back with a Hill 16-yard touchdown run to make it 28-8 just before halftime.
“You can see all their skills guys from last year are better now,” Jefferson coach Steve Gee said. “We got steamrolled and kind of lost it by the end of the first quarter. This will be a good test for us to see how we respond after going 2-0 and then losing this way.”
Forster and the Blue Devils didn’t let up in the second half, with the senior tallying his third touchdown with a 17-yard surge up the middle to make it 34-8.
Tyr Severson later put the finishing touches on the decisive victory with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Sulley Geske in the fourth quarter.
That left the Blue Devils with plenty of time to enjoy the victory and earn a spot at the top of the Rock Valley Conference standings.
“The Rock Valley is up for grabs,” Grovesteen said. “Anybody can beat anybody this year.”
By winning their first three conference games, the Blue Devils are quickly becoming the team to beat in the Rock Valley Conference.
EVANSVILLE 40, JEFFERSON 8
Jefferson 0 8 0 0 — 8
Evansville 14 14 6 6 — 40
E — Forster 3 run (Forster kick)
E — Forster 5 run (Forster kick)
E — Kostroun 13 run (Forster kick)
J — Zeh 21 run (Neff run).
E — Carson Hill 16 run (Forster kick).
E — Forster 17 run (kick failed).
E — Geske 14 pass from Severson (kick failed).
First downs — J 13, E 18. Rushing — J 48-238, E 31–215. Passing — J 7-4-1, E 10-7-1. Yards passing — J 14, E 175. Fumbles — J 2-2, E 4-1. Penalties — J 2-20, E 6-55.