EVART – John Danley and Devon VanOrder are two Evart senior football players making key contributions for a team needing one more win to automatically qualify for the football playoffs.

The Wildcats are 5-2 after losing 32-21 against Lake City Friday night. But that setback can’t diminish the huge 34-0 victory over another league power, McBain, the previous week.

“That was a game we knew that we had to come out strong and come out positive,” said Danley, who rushed for 124 yards on 14 carries and three touchdowns against McBain and especially picked up the slack after Austin Grein left the game with an injury. It helps with everyone stepping up after Austin got hurt.”

Plenty was going through Danley’s mind when he realized Grein couldn’t continue.

“I knew we needed to step up and take care of our positions,” Danley said. “I also knew in the back of my head it was going to be tough. So I was happy with the outcome.”

Danley knew the Lake City game wasn’t going to be easy.

“They’re going to be different because they’re going to pass more than any other team,” he said, coming into the game.

Still, the Wildcats’ 5-1 start after six games has them in good shape for a playoff bid going into week eight with a 5-2 mark.

“The key has been staying focused, executing the game plan,” Danley said. “Everyone on game day is focused and ready. With Austin, we can pound it and like me, I’m more outside. We’re using everybody.”

VanOrder has been a defensive end and offensive left tackle in giving the Wildcats strong line support.

Against McBain, “we came out strong and poised,” VanOrder said. “Austin’s long (touchdown) run (prior to his injury) really set the pace. It gave us a lot of confidence.”

VanOrder knew Lake City would try to break the big plays.

The win over McBain and close loss to powerhouse Beal City has boosted the team’s confidence in a major way, VanOrder said.

“It got our eyes to open to what we could do,” VanOrder said. “(The McBain) win will be tough to beat.”

The players “are all on the same page,” VanOrder said. “It’s a team effort. We all know what we’re in for and what we’re capable of. We’re ready to go.”

In the next two weeks, covering the big plays remains a key goal, VanOrder said.