Evart posts impressive 34-0 victory over McBain

WORKING OUT OF THE POCKET: Quarterback Jacob Fortune looks downfield for an open receiver. (File photo)
WORKING OUT OF THE POCKET: Quarterback Jacob Fortune looks downfield for an open receiver. (File photo)

EVART — All wins are sweet in high school football.

But Friday’s 34-0 victory for the Evart Wildcats over the McBain Ramblers could have been as sweet of a victory as Evart football fans have enjoyed in a long time.

The Wildcats rushed for more than 330 yards on the ground, while holding the Ramblers to just 46 yards.

John Danley led the way for Evart with 14 carries for 124 yards and three touchdowns — on runs of 2, 72, and 3 yards. Austin Grein added a 62-yard touchdown run and Jared Pattee chipped in a 28-yard run. Danley gained 124 yards while Grein had 76 yards on four carries and Pattee eight carries for 57 yards.

“I would classify it as a big win for our program,” said Evart coach Pat Craven.

Evart is 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the Highland. “It shows that we’re moving in the right direction. The kids have really bought into our system and the things we ask them to do. They’re executing very well. Because of that, they’re being successful.

“We had this circled on our calendar. We felt we could play much better against them than we did last year.”

“So far I believe that was our biggest game,” said senior Ricky Miller. “Whoever would have said you get to beat McBain and shut them out at your house...it was a great feeling at the end of the game.”

Robert Young-Burge led the defensive effort with 11 tackles, while Danley tallied 10 stops. Larry VanBuren recorded nine tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery and Derek Bowen and Pattee had interceptions.

“Our defense really stepped up their game,” Miller said. “They showed their true potential.”

In the first quarter, Grein exploded for a 62-yard touchdown run and Danley added a 2-yard run in the second quarter.

Danley and Pattee had 72 and 28-yard scoring runs in the third quarter. Danley added 3-yard runs in the fourth quarter. Evart gained 332 rushing yards and 79 passing yards on four completions from Jacob Fortune.

“It was a really great win, especially for our team,” Pattee said. “Our coaches had a great game plan and we executed it.”

Grein left the game after sustaining an ankle injury in the second quarter.

“He tried to come back from it but I didn’t feel comfortable about him coming back and trying to play,” Craven said. “I feel Austin is probably the best running back in the area, in my opinion. But the Wildcats were able to show how much depth they have.

“That’s the biggest reason for where we are right now,” Miller said.

“Our defensive line, in particular, we knew we’d have to win the battle up front. They had big strong kids,” Craven said. “We knew that would be a big matchup for us. The kids up front did an excellent job on both sides of the ball. Losing that type of kid can be pretty tough on a team. We have a lot of really good kids. John Danley stepped into his role and our offensive line took it from there.”

Evart improves to 5-1 and will be at Lake City Friday night. The Wildcats are one win away from clinching an automatic playoff spot.

“We’re obviously pumped, but we all know our next game will be the biggest of the season,” Miller said. ”We have to step up and show what we’re made of.”

The McBain win, “gives us great confidence,” Pattee said. “McBain is a real good team. Lake City is another challenge.”

“Lake City is a completely different matchup from McBain,” Craven said. “McBain is more size and strength. Lake City is more speed and agility. It will be another big test for us.

“We expected to be a good football team this year. A nice win over McBain gave our kids confidence. To be honest, the way we played against Beal City (in a loss) was a big step. Our kids walked away from that game feeling they could achieve something for the rest of the year.”

Pioneer Prep Editor Bob Allen contributed to this report.