EVART — A strong ground attack lifted Evart to a 34-33 non-league football victory over Harrison on Thursday.

Three Evart ball carriers, including Austin Grein, exceeded the 100-yard mark. Grein hit 100 right on the nose while John Danley netted 159 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown and Brady Hasse picked up 114 yards.

“We have three talented running backs,” said Evart coach Pat Craven.

Harrison scored with four minutes to play to cut Evart’s lead to 34-33. The Hornets went for the two points. But the Harrison running back was tackled by Josh Renne short of the goal-line to preserve the Evart lead. Renne caused a fumble on the play, recovered by the Wildcats.

“Everybody was running hard and running good,” Grein said. “The blockers were doing what they were supposed to do and we were hitting the holes.”

“I thought our kids showed a lot of guts,” said Craven. “They kept pushing. I was proud of them.”

Evart has been using the fullhouse T in the backfield.

“We’ve run that quite a bit, that’s our main offense,” Grein said. “My dad played here and they were running the T back then too. It’s a more powerful offense that spreads people out. Everybody is in the box together. There’s a lot more blockers.”

“I thought we continued to improve up front,” Craven said. “I’ve been pleased with our offensive line play. They continue to play better.”

Grein, a junior, said he worked out quite a bit in the summer and has been working on his speed.

Tyler Wirth had 12 tackles for Evart defensively while Larry VanBuren added eight tackles.

Wirth, a senior, is outside linebacker an tight end for Evart.

“I think we played as hard as we could,” he said. “We have a lot of powerful running backs. Our linemen and linebackers are really getting into it. We need to work harder on our defense. Our running game was a key for our success on Thursday.”

Wirth had a few passes thrown to him in the season opener. “The last game, my role was to block and open a hole for our No. 2 back to get through,” he said, adding that his role on defense has been “stopping the run game.”

Grein also plays on a defense that’s has allowed 67 points in its first two games.

“We need quite a bit of work,” Grein said. “It’s a work in progress.”

Evart, 1-1, is home Friday against Beal City, 1-1, in Highland Conference action.

“They’re a perennial powerhouse in our league,” Craven said. “They’ll bring some power football over and try to run, run, run. It will be a huge challenge for our defense. We’ll have to pick it up a notch and keep the score as close as possible. They’re very disciplined and tough. We’ll have to play very disciplined.”