EVART — Take away the second quarter and Evart just about played a perfect game.

Not that a 55-0 Highland Conference victory over Marion Friday night wasn’t close to being perfect.

But the Wildcats were so dominant in the first quarter that they scored three touchdowns on a combined five plays for 21 points and in the third quarter notched three more TDs on only seven combined plays. They had another third period TD and scored 48 of their points in those two quarters and added another touchdown in the fourth with a running clock.

Ironically, a second quarter in which Evart lost the ball four times on fumbles put somewhat of a damper on what otherwise what was close to being a flawless performance.

“I thought we lost focus in the second quarter,” said Evart coach Pat Craven. “We can’t afford to lose focus. We need to get better every play, every series, every quarter, every play. We took a step backwards in the second quarter. We talked about that at halftime. We came out working in the second half. I was proud of them for that.”

Austin Grein rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown while John Danley gained 59 yards and scored three times for the winners, who gained 229 yards on the ground and 109 in the air via five Jacob Fortune completions.

“The first quarter we came out like we should,” said Wildcat outside linebacker Derek Bowen. “In the second quarter we let off some frustration. In the (second half), we stepped it up like we should.”

The Wildcats were able to create a short field to gain their early lead. Brandon Albright recovered a Marion fumble to set up Grein’s 1-yard scoring run two plays later for a 7-0 lead. Jared Pattee’s 30-yard punt return set up Danley’s 7-yard run two plays later. Pattee had a 20-yard return later in the period on a punt and Danley scored from 13 yards away for the six points and 21-0 lead.

“When your defense can give you three and outs and a short field, that’s usually a good night,” Craven said.

But fumbles and penalties cost the Wildcats two or three more scores in the second quarter. Evart regrouped at halftime and poured it on the third with four touchdowns. Jacob Fortune passed 35 yards to Jacob Hopkins while Danley, Jamin Drake and Pattee had scoring runs of 1, 2 and 30 yards. Thomas Hyde had a 4-yard touchdown run in the fourth.

“The defense continues to play well,” Craven said. “They’ve played well all year long. They’re executing our game plan and are being fundamentally sound in the things we ask them to go. That’s a credit to their work ethic and their coachability.”

Evart improves to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the Highland while Marion falls to 1-3 and 0-2 in the league.

Marion had no yards passing and a net 33 rushing in 40 tries.

“I feel like we have a lot of potential but we have to continue to get better,” Craven said. “Our schedule gets more difficult. “We can’t take a day off from practice or a day off from the classroom. We have to keep getting better. But Ii told them our conference is tough and we have to respect every opponent.”

Evart plays at Pine River next Friday.

EVART 55, MARION 0 Marion 0 0 0 0 — 0

Evart 21 0 27 7 – 55

First quarter

E–Austin Grein 1 run (VanBuren kick) 10:09.

E–John Danley 8 run (VanBuren kick), 8:15

E–Danley 14 run (VanBuren kick), 5:31

Second quarter

No scoring

Third quarter

E–Jacob Fortune 35 pass to Jacob Hopkins (Kick fails), 10:41.

E–Danley 1 run (VanBuren kick), 8:05.

E–Jamin Drake 22 run (VanBuren kick), 7:06

E-Jared Pattee 30 run (VanBuren kick), 4:13

Fourth quarter

E–Thomas Hyde 13 run (Devon VanOrder kick), 5:06

Rushing

Evart: 32-229 (Grein 89-83, Danley 7-59, Fortune 5-9, Derek Bowen 2-1, Rick Miller 3-13, Drake 2-12, Patee 2-37, Hyde 3-13.

Marion: 40-33

Passing

Evart (Fortune 5-7-0-109). Marion (0-6).