Evart’s second half lifts Wildcats past Suttons Bay

OPENER: Evart’s football team has its home opener Friday against Harrison. (File photo)
OPENER: Evart’s football team has its home opener Friday against Harrison. (File photo)

EVART — Evart has gotten off to a 1-0 start in football and will open at home on Friday night in a non-league game against Harrison.

A sluggish first half wasn’t enough to slow down the Evart Wildcats on Thursday in a 33-7 win over Suttons Bay.

The Wildcats came alive for 33 second half points after trailing 7-0 at the half. Evart coach Pat Craven was happy with his team’s halftime adjustments in the win.

“We started a little slow and Suttons Bay had a good game plan,” he said. “I credit our seniors for leading the way in the second half.”

Jacob Fortune passed for 154 yards and two touchdowns, while Jamin Drake led the way on the ground with 57 yards on nine carries.

The Evart defense had two interceptions and was led by Robert Burge with 14 tackles and a pick, while Larry VanBuren had 12 stops. Jared Pattee added nine tackles and an interception in the win.

“I thought our kids had a tremendous second half,” Craven said. “I thought we played the first half like it was the first game of the year. We were a bit tentative. They were doing a couple of things defensively we didn’t handle well. We made some adjustments at halftime and had kids step up.”

Fortune had a 3-yard run and passed 40 yards to Pattee for Evart’s two touchdowns in the third quarter and a 14-7 lead. In the fourth quarter, Fortune passed 38 yards to Jacob Hopkins while Jamin Drake and Dillon Danley had scoring runs of two and four yards.

“The second half, I thought we took control of the game,” Craven said. “I was really proud of Dean Marsh. He’s our center. I was really proud of him at halftime. He gathered the kids together before the coaches got over there and talked to them about expecting more out of themselves and taking personal responsibility and being individually accountable for everybody’s job so the team could be successful.

“I was proud of him for doing it. He’s a quiet kid and it was kind of out of character for him. We need kids like that who spend the time in the weight room and put the sweat blood and tears into it...to sometimes be more vocal. I was pleased with him.”

VanBuren booted the extra points after the first three touchdowns.

Hopkins caught four passes for 63 yards.

Harrison lost its opener 45-0 to Lake City, a Highland Conference opponent of Evart’s.

“Harrison likes to run the football,” Craven said. “They have some quick shifty backs. We expect them to make major improvements from last week. They played a very good football team. We expect them to be a lot better. They will want to run the ball and play good tough defense. We’ll have to meet them on both ends. These kids were undefeated as JV players. I know the community has high expectations of their football team.”

Pioneer sports editor Martin Slagter also contributed to this report.