Evart football team bows in tournament semifinals

EVART — Austin Grein is a key returning player to the Evart backfield and the Wildcats are hoping a strong summer of football will get them ready for the fall schedule.

Grein, a senior running back, and his team competed Saturday in the 7-on-7 passing tournament at Pine River.

“We did pretty good,” he said. “Passing is not one of our expertise for a run team but I thought we did pretty well. We just wanted to come out, compete and have fun and hopefully go far.”

Evart lost to Alpena in the semifinals.

During the summer, “we’ve been doing quite a bit of work,” Grein said. “The first week after we got out of school, we had our camp and we’ve had workouts two days a week. We‘ve had some 7-on-7’s. We want to get in shape and get people knowing what they’re doing and getting all the young kids to know the offense and stuff like that.

“Actually, we’re not that young. We have a very mature team this year.”

Evart will be having a new quarterback this season with the graduation of Jesse Lang.

Meanwhile, Grein said getting stronger is among his goals for this season.

“And being able to read the defense better,” he added. “We have some more workouts coming up and another 7-on-7 coming up.”

Evart was 3-3 for the day at Pine River.

“Our strength is our running game,” said Evart coach Pat Craven. “But we should be able to throw it. If we want to compete for a league championship, we should be able to run the ball.”

Craven was satisfied with his team’s effort at Pine River.

“There are things we have to work on, but that’s why you do this stuff,” he said. “Of course, you want to win. More so, you want to get better. The biggest thing is they need to see their reads, anticipate their reads and get in the right spots.”

The quarterback job is coming down to Jacob Fortune or Jered Pattee, Craven noted, adding that Fortune is currently the leading candidate. But the team’s depth chart, Craven noted, is established during the offseason.

“People know where they’re at,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that it’s set in stone. That kid in the two or three spot knows he had to improve if he wants to be in the one spot. We’re trying to have offseason competition amongst ourselves and make ourselves better.”

For Craven and his team, it’s been a good summer so far.

“There’s always room for improvement,” he said. “But I’m happy with the kids’ effort and what they’ve put in so far. You get out of stuff what you put into it.”

Summer work is voluntary but coaches like Craven encourage it.

“I’m impressed with the work ethic of the kids that are there,” Craven said. “We always need more.”