Evart players reflect on team’s 6-1 start

EVART — The Evart passing game has featured a solid combination between quarterback Jacob Fortune and receiver Jacob Hopkins.

But other players like Jared Pattee and Robert Tapling have also been getting into the act.

Evart is 6-1, having clinched a playoff spot, and hosts Lake City on Friday.

Pattee is a senior who has been a slotback on offense and cornerback on defense, starting both ways.

“We have a really good quarterback and a really good offensive line,” Pattee said. “Our coach calls really good plays. Jacob Hopkins, our wide receiver is a really good threat. No one has been able to stop him this year.”

Pattee noted that teams have tried to focus on Hopkins as his reputation has grown.

“I think they try to defend Hopkins more but we’ve been able to give him the ball quite a bit,” said Pattee, who himself has also been a catching threat.

Defensively, “we come out flat quite a bit,” Pattee said. “When we realize there’s big games, our defense really steps up. We have a really strong defense.”

Pattee focuses on pass coverage. “We have different weeks where we get our nose dirty (against the running game),” he said.

At 6-1, “our offensive line has been pretty good and the coaching staff has worked their tails off to watch film on the other team,” Pattee said.

Tapling is a sophomore. “There’s a lot of learning you go through, he said. “But I’m adapting to it. Everyone is faster and stronger than JVs. I haven’t usually had to go against players better than me. Now everyone is bigger than me.”

Tapling, a wide receiver and defensive back, caught an 82-yard touchdown pass from Fortune in the 33-27 homecoming win Oct. 5 over Pine River. The play fueled an Evart comeback from a deficit that was 27-0 midway in the third quarter.

“He called my number and I ran it and it was a pass right to me,” he said. “I got scared when he threw it to me. I caught it and ran off. There was a kid behind me but I beat him. It was definitely a big boost to keep it going.”

The Wildcats were able to follow that up with a win over McBain.

“We came out flat again but somehow pulled it together and pulled out the W again,” Tapling said, adding that against Lake City, “we’re going to have to shut down their quarterback (Drew Marion). If we do our coverage right and everything like that, we should pull off the W.”

“The key is to come out strong and keep it going all four quarters,” Pattee said.