Evart clinches playoff spot with rout over Mesick
EVART – It rained during Evart’s homecoming football game Saturday afternoon.
But the Wildcats proved to be too tough to let anything dampen their attempts for their sixth win of the season and automatic qualification for the state playoffs.
Evart took advantage of four Mesick fumbles on the visitors’ first four possessions and built a 42-0 halftime lead en route to a 49-14 victory over the Bulldogs.
John Danley scored two touchdowns and the Wildcats gained 224 yards on a balanced rushing attack, led by Derek Bowen with 46 yards.
“Obviously it’s not good weather, but I thought our kids were focused and played hard and we clinched our sixth victory and a playoff spot,” said Evart coach Pat Craven. “We got our No. 2s and 3s a lot of playing time. They deserve it. They work hard in practice every day also.”
It will mark Evart’s first appearance in the playoffs in five seasons. They close the regular season at home against Highland Conference foe Manton next week. Their first-round playoff game will be Oct. 26 or 27 at a site and against an opponent to be announced Sunday.
“It feels great, we’ve been working for that all season,” said Evart quarterback Jacob Fortune. “I feel we played really well (Saturday) especially for the weather conditions.”
Mesick threw two touchdown passes late in the fourth quarter with reserves getting their chance to see some gametime. Mesick had 50 yards passing and 63 rushing, most of that in the fourth quarter. The second half was conducted under a running clock.
Steady rains in the first half made it tough for both teams to hang onto the football, especially Mesick.
The Wildcats took advantage with scoring runs of 2 and 42 yards by Danley and Bowen and a 4-yard TD pass from Fortune to Austin Grein.
In the second quarter, the Wildcats blew it open on scoring runs of 9, 19 and 1 yard by Danley, Jared Pattee and Fortune.
The Wildcats ended the scoring late in the game on Jamin Drake’s 24-yard touchdown scamper. Larry VanBuren was 7-of-7 in extra-point attempts.
“I wanted to take care of the football,” Craven said. “I felt we could do a better job of that. It’s a monsoon so what are you going to do? Overall, I was pleased with the kids’ effort.”
Craven was emphasizing to his players afterwards that a win over Manton also would improve prospects for a favorable seeding when the playoff schedule is announced.
“We want to be better this week than we were last week,” Craven said.
“We have to stay focused and play as a team,” VanBuren said.