Evart opens at Montabella on Friday

EVART — The Evart football team wouldn’t mind repeating its 3-0 start from a year ago.

In fact, the Wildcats hope to make that start even more impressive this season while also looking to improve on their 4-5 record.

Last Friday, Evart was at home for a scrimmage.

“I think we need to be better up front, “ said Evart coach Pat Craven. “We had a long discussion on that as being a focal point. We’ve got great kids. They work hard and do what we ask them to do.”

Friday night, Evart opens at Montabella.

“They’ve got a good quarterback and some decent receivers,” Craven said. “We’ll have to play well in the secondary and put some pressure on the quarterback.”

Friday’s game is one “we’ll have to prepare well for,” Craven said. “We need to do things fundamentally sound.”

This season, with several key starters back in the lineup, Evart is hoping to at least improve by two wins from their 4-5 record.

A six-win season would put Evart in the playoffs.

Key players that graduated from last season team were Alec McKay at running back, Ethan Pylman at linebacker and Josh Wirth at lineman.

Jesse Lang, a senior, returns for his third season starting at quarterback. Jarek Van Order is back as an offensive and defensive end. The running back trio returns with John Danley, Austin Grein and Brady Hasse.

Other key players returning are Andrew French at linebacker, Sam Hazen at offensive tackle and Tyler Wirth at linebacker.

Craven concurs that having plenty of returning starters is a major plus for the Wildcats’ hopes.

“The fact that they’re good kids, work hard and listen well is even more promising,” Craven said. “We expect good things from them and they expect good things for themselves. That’s positive.”

The Wildcats will be strong up front offensively, Craven indicated.

“We have a solid running back corp,” Craven said. “It’s always nice to have a three-year starter at quarterback. We expect to be able to move the football on the ground. And we expect to be able to throw when we need to. On defense, we have to shut down the run.”

Lang hopes to have his best season.

“I expect him to lead the troops and I expect him to have a bounce back year,” Craven said. “He played pretty much the whole (2010) season banged up and struggled a little bit. But he’s healthy, worked hard during the offseason and made some improvement. I expect a solid year out of him.”

The Wildcats go into the season hoping to be Highland Conference contenders and to make the playoffs.

“If we improve in areas like limiting turnovers and limiting big plays for the opposition, that will help us out,” Craven said. “I expect our league will be very tough. We’ll have to play well. It’s one of those leagues where anyone can beat anyone on any given night.”