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Earls scores passing, rushing and special teams touchdowns in league victory

PMG PHOTO: DEREK WILEY - Colton senior Seth Ethington runs into Gervais territory late in the first half Friday.

Up against Gervais' ball control double wing offense, Colton's offensive possessions were limited.

But when the Vikings did have the ball, they made the most of it to defeat Gervais 30-14 Friday.

Quarterback Wyatt Earls connected with Seth Ethington for a 51-yard touchdown on Colton's first of three first half possessions. Earls then ran in the two-point conversion to give the Vikings an 8-0 lead.

After the Cougars reached the end zone and added a two-point conversion to tie the game at 8-8, Colton drove deep into Gervais territory, but ran out of time.

"They're a lot better," Colton coach Brynie Robinson said of Gervais, who the Vikings shut out 61-0 last season. "They're a well-coached team."

The Vikings again went right down the field on the opening drive of the second half. Earls reached the end zone on a quarterback sneak and then found Dominic Combest-Day for a two-point conversion to take a 16-8 lead.

"He's the senior leader that we look to," said Robinson of Earls, who completed two passes for 71 yards and rushed for 135 yards. "All the seniors stepped up in a big way. Zach (Roders) had a phenomenal game. Seth Ethington, he was a force defensively as well and so was Zach and Kolby (Benthin) played both ways, too. The seniors definitely led us in this game, for sure."

After Gervais answered with a touchdown, but missed the two-point conversion to get within 16-14, Earls made another big play, returning the kickoff for a 79-yard touchdown, and then kept the ball for a successful two-point try to extend Colton's lead to 24-14.

"You'll take a two possession lead against that offense because that offense is built to drive and take up a lot of time," Robinson said. "That was huge."

Sophomore Travers Rogers added a 1-yard touchdown run to complete the scoring. Rogers rushed for 79 yards on 10 carries.

"I was proud of how we responded in the second half," Robinson said. "I think we understand better Gervais' game plan of milking the clock and we just need to be more intentional about our possessions and really remain focused."

Robinson was pleased with the defense, which kept to the plan for all four quarters.

"Even though they had long drives, there was only one big play we gave up and that was the emphasis this week defensively was to keep everything in front and no big plays," Robinson said. "It was a team effort. It really was."

The Vikings, 4-1 overall and 2-1 in league play, have their toughest games ahead of them, starting this Friday at Culver (4-1).

"They've always been a wrestling community," Robinson said. "They're tough. They're physical. We've got to play well."

Colton also hosts Kennedy (4-1) and Santiam (3-2).

"I'm proud of our seniors and the team," Robinson said. "They definitely stepped up in a big way. We're going to need their efforts for the remainder of the season."

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