Evart seniors enjoy solid season in football

BOWEN
BOWEN

EVART — The season ended on a disappointing note last Friday for the Evart Wildcats in a 21-6 loss to Carson City-Crystal in the Division 7 districts.

But it was still a memorable season, which included a 7-2 record during the first nine games.

Running back Derek Bowen and lineman Chris Garner are among the Wildcats, who played key roles in their team’s season.

Bowen has been a running back and outside linebacker for Evart. He scored the Wildcats’ only touchdown against Carson City-Crystal.

“7-2 is a good record to have,” Bowen said prior to the playoffs. “We as a team came together the last three games. We stuck it out. In tough times, we came through. The games are intense.”

A favorite highlight for Bowen was the Pine River game when his team overcame a 27-0 third quarter deficit and stormed to a 33-27 win.

“I’m a senior and it’s my last time to play,” said Bowen, who noted that his role in the backfield this season for Evart has been to “get tough yardage and block.”

The passing game especially led the way for the Evart offense this season.

“We have a great quarterback (Jacob Fortune) and he has an arm, and we have great receivers too,” Bowen said. “We didn’t shy away from running the ball either. We’re balanced.”

For Evart in his defensive position, “an outside linebacker just makes plays,” Bowen said.

Garner plays offensive tackle in his senior season. It’s his first varsity football season. He played seventh through ninth grade and then took a break from football.

“My friends were telling me I need to come out and I could help the team out,” he said. “I figured I wanted to help them out.”

Garner decided at the last minute, just prior to Midnight Madness to open the practice season, that he would join the team.

He’s 6-6 at 215 pounds and also plays basketball and formerly played hockey. Garner said he did no summer work and it took him about a week to feel comfortable with football again.

“It came back to me pretty quick,” he said. “I’ve started every game. I had to earn my spot. I had to work a lot on technique. Being coordinated is important with the right foot movement and arm swing, stuff like that. It all comes into play.

“My first couple of games were pretty rough but after my first couple of games, I feel I’ve got it and have improved ever since. It’s with my technique. I have more experience now so my technique is more precise.”

Garner considered his

team’s offense to be No. 1 in the Highland Conference. He said Lake City’s defensive line was the toughest he faced.

“For sure, I wish I had played my last two years,” he said, adding that playing football should help him more in basketball. “I lost a lot of weight and gained more speed with football and aggressiveness for sure.”