EVART —  This isn’t exactly the best time of the season for the Evart Wildcat football team to see a rise in temperatures.

But when the Wildcats open the season Thursday night at home against White Cloud, it could be the warmest night of the year.

That factor could be of some concern for the Wildcats who will dress 17 players for the varsity this season with several players going both ways.

But last Thursday, Evart had an impressive performance in a scrimmage at Sanford Meridian.

“I thought it went well,” Evart coach Pat Craven said. “We wanted to come out healthy. That was our biggest focus with 17 kids. After that I was really pleased with our team speed. I thought we played fast. I was excited to see that.

“As the scrimmage went on, I thought our young kids played better and became more comfortable with the pace of the varsity game. Overall it was a positive experience for us.”

The focus throughout the summer and up until now, Craven noted, has been to get physical and mentally ready with a small team for a 48-minute game.

“They’re well aware of it and aware of the challenge ahead of them,” Craven said. “This will be a good opportunity for the kids to step up.”

Evart coaches watched White Cloud at a scrimmage last Thursday night.

“It looks like they had a couple of pretty quick kids, and decent size up front,” Craven said. “It looks like they’ll try to run the football against us. We’ll have to prepare well against that.

“We’re focusing on ourselves and the things we think we need to do to get our kids ready and play their best game next week and move forward from there.”

Trevin Ladd, a sophomore, is taking over at quarterback, Jake Hutchinson and Jacob Pattee will provide leadership on the offensive line. Running backs are expected to be returning junior Dillon Danley and sophomore Cody Prichard.

“One think I like about this group of kids is that they’re coachable and working their tails off,” Craven said. “We’re hoping our speed and quickness can make up for lack of size in specific areas, particularly our offensive and defensive lines.

“Defensively from the scrimmage, I was excited to see our aggression, our toughness and our speed.”