Evart prepares for showdown with Pine River

EVART — The Evart Wildcats will bid to cross the .500 mark in football when they are home Friday night for their homecoming game against Pine River.

The Wildcats are coming off a 33-19 Highland Conference win on Friday night on the road at Marion.

Austin Grein opened the scoring for Evart on a 14-yard run. Evart also scored on John Danley’s 22-yard touchdown run. But Marion’s Marcus Abernathy scored on a pair of kickoff return touchdown scampers and it was 13-13 after the first half. Brady Hasse had a 5-yard run and Jesse Lang passed 4 yards to Jarek VanOrder in the second quarter and Evart led 25-19 at halftime.

The only score in the second half came in the fourth quarter on Lang’s 11-yard run. He passed to Brian Swales for the two points.

“Our offensive line did a tremendous job,” said Evart coach Pat Craven. “They had 10 guys in the box but we ran, ran, and ran, still. Our offensive line has been solid all year. We rushed for 400 yards tonight. You’re going to win most games if you rush for 400 yards. We’ll take that.”

Danley gained 152 yards on 16 attempts. Hasse had 96 yards on seven runs, Grein added 89 yards on 12 attempts and Lang had five carries for 62 yards. Lang completed all four of his pass attempts for 37 yards. Jarek VanOrder caught two passes for 21 yards.

“We really kept our heads in it,” said offensive and defensive lineman Devon VanOrder. “We did a good job coming out the second half.”

Getting the win “was very crucial,” VanOrder said. “We got our confidence back up. We’re at .500.”

Evart is 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the Highland.

“We needed to get back in the win column,” Craven said. “We gave up a couple of scores on special teams. But I was pleased with the effort overall of our kids.”

The Wildcats will play a 1-3 Pine River team for the Armed Services trophy. Money is raised for the Wounded Warrior project.

“I expect them to try to establish the running game and possession of the football and try to keep our offense off the field,” Craven said. “Defensively, I expect them to load up and try to stop our run. It ought to be a hard-fought game.”

“They have their far share of skilled athletes and we look for it to be a big challenge,” VanOrder said.