Evart football uses strong second half to pull away from Beaverton

QB Preston Wallace throws for four touchdowns in strong showing for Wildcats

EVART—The high-powered Evart offense could only be contained for one half on Friday. With an efficient passing game from Preston Wallace, the Wildcats quickly took over in the second half. 

The Wildcats opened the season with a win over Beaverton after exploding in the second half for 27 points to pull away 34-20.  

“I give a lot of credit to Beaverton; they played tough physical football,” Evart coach Pat Craven said. “Coach (Aaron) Seiser is a good coach and had a good game plan. They really tried to try to attack us in the box and did a nice job. They really pounded the rock; our kids responded well and didn't give up. We scored on five of our seven offensive theories, and we just got to be better on defense with stuffing the run.” 

It was a defensive battle early on for the Wildcats against Beaverton, falling behind 7-0 until near the end of the first half. Momentum turned to the Wildcats when Wallace threw a five-yard strike to junior wide receiver Dakobe White on fourth and goal with less than 20 seconds left in the half. 

After that, the offense scored on almost every drive in the second half.Wallace was a key factor in the evening's results, going 15-of-20 for 225 yards. He notched four passing touchdowns while bouncing back from an early interception.  

“We really sat down during halftime and talked it out. I knew what I had to do. I just had to execute,” Wallace said. 

Two of those touchdowns went to senior Jake Ladd who had three receptions for 21 yards. He also ran for 42 yards on four carries and notched 10 tackles. 

“Our performance was great," he said. "Our running game was strong, O-line was strong, and the quarterback threw the ball well,” Ladd said. “We definitely had good receiving yards, Dakobe White definitely helped us out a lot tonight.” 

On the defensive side, Wallace also was a key factor, coming up with a goal line interception in the third quarter to keep Evart up 14-7. 

“They were pounding that slant. So, I jumped the route a little bit and I was able to figure it out,” Wallace said. 

The second key defensive stop came in the fourth quarter, where senior Jordan Wicke recovered a fumbled snap at Evart's goal line to keep the score 28-13. 

One play later, Wallace would put the game out of reach with a 97-yard strike to junior Dakobe White. One last score by the Beaverton Beavers made the final score 34-20. 

On the ground Evart was also effective, rushing for 262 yards on the night. Cole Hopkins led the way with 14 carries for 119 yards and one touchdown. Tanner Graber would rush for 58 yards on three carries as well. 

One area the Wildcats will need to focus on moving forward is stopping the run on the defensive side of the ball. Beaverton scored three touchdowns on the ground and had 201 yards rushing themselves. Craven talked about what the team will need to do to improve upon that area of the game. 

“We're not going to be as big as the people we play against most Friday nights,” Craven said. “We’ve got to be tough; we’ve got to be in the right spot at the right time with the right read, and we’ve got to tackle. If we do that, we're going to be okay. But we can't waver from those principles.” 

Next week, Evart is home with Roscommon, who sits at 0-1 after a 21-6 loss to Grayling. 

“We'll game plan to what they did,” Wallace said. “We'll just go out, work hard and be fast.”