Evart will have quality again but will be challenged with numbers

Practice: Evart football players work on a drill Monday. (Herald Review/John Raffel)
Practice: Evart football players work on a drill Monday. (Herald Review/John Raffel)

EVART — The Evart Wildcats are coming off a banner football season which included an 8-3 record and a trip to the second round of the playoffs.

The Wildcats will have quality again this season, although coach Pat Craven worries in some respect about the quantity, and especially a lack of it.

The Wildcats opened their practice schedule Monday with midnight madness.

“The kids had fun and we got some good work in,” Craven said. “Everyone was safe and having a good time.”

Key players back include Jacob Fortune at quarterback and defensive back, Jacob Hopkins at tight end and defensive back, and Jamin Drake and Jared Pattee at running back and defensive back.

Other key seniors include Derek Bowen at running back and linebacker Andrew Race at tight end and linebacker plus Larry VanBuren, Dean Marsh, Nathan Renne and Tre Dreyer on the line.

There will be about 20 players for varsity and 20 for JV.

“That’s pretty disappointing,” Craven said. “We’re trying to build and we have a lot of kids that just aren’t here. The fewer kids you have the more you require some people to be on the field.”

Also back is Josh Decator at end.

“We’re doing a little bit of everything,” Craven said, after the first day of practice. “There’s a lot of technique, fundamental stuff. We’re slowly but surely implementing our offensive and defensive and special team packages.”

Craven said the coaches will “work our basic schemes into the talent we have. That’s an annual evolution. You work with the strengths of the kids you have.”

The preseason scrimmage is Thursday, Aug. 22 at Tawas.

“What matters is our kids do the things we want them to do correctly and execute things we want them to do,” Craven said.