EVART – Evart’s football team missed the playoffs by one win this season but ended with a winning record of 5-4 thanks to Friday’s 27-22 victory at Manton.

Brady Hasse scored the only touchdown of the second half late in the game for the winning points.

Hasse had 46 yards rushing while Ausstin Grein had 85 yards and John Danley 36 yards, plus a rushing touchdown. Lang passed 39 yards to Danley for the Wildcats’ other score.

Lang was 4-of-9 in the air for 80 yards.

Andrew French had 11 tackles for the Evart defense. DevinVanorder had a quarterback sack to give Evart the ball late in the game and set up a long scoring drive.

“We had some bad misfortune,” said Evart coach Pat Craven. “But the kids stuck with the game plan and played hard. We were able to pull it out at the end.

I liked how hard the kids played and how into it they were. At the time, we were hoping we’d have an outside shot for the playoffs and our kids worked hard at that. They never lost sight of that goal. They kept that in the back of their minds at the end. I was proud of them. I was really proud of our seniors and their leadership abilities. They did a lot of good things.”

Evart was 4-5 last year. Teams with six wins or more automatically qualify for the playoffs. Teams at 5-4 can still make it with enough computer points. The Wildcats fell short in that area.

The line play of athletes like seniors Lance Prichard and Joshua Renne ignited the Wildcats to a winning record.

Prichard plays tackle both ways and is on the varsity his second season.

“I’ve improved quite a bit,” he said. “Against McBain, I didn’t get many tackles because the guys were so big.”

To beat Manton Friday night “we need to maintain good ball control and not give up any points and maintain the line of scrimmage,” Prichard said ahead of time. “We’ve played well defensively. There are some things that have gotten away from us.”

Renne plays offensive tackle and defensive tackle. He focuses on defense. Compared to a year ago, Renne says he has grown in the knowledge of the game.

Renne has noticed opposing teams usually run away from him, which he wouldn’t mind taking as a complement.

In Friday’s win over Mesick on Oct. 24, “we played better football and did our jobs and executed on offense and defense” said Renne, adding that the key to win this Friday will be “the same thing.”

The Wildcats can’t get to six wins which automatically puts a team in the playoffs.

“I think we could have beaten Montabella (and Lake City),” Renne said. “Against Beal City, we were in the game. We could have made the playoffs if we won one more game.”

“It’s been really fun,” Pritchard said. “I wish we could have better connections in a few games.”