First time ever: Evart Wildcats are football district champions

Evart overcomes rain and East Jordan for a 35-7 win

EVART – Evart’s talented senior running back-linebacker Cole Hopkins is nursing a sore shoulder and the word was he would not play in Friday’s Division 8 district final game against East Jordan unless it was absolutely necessary.

When junior running back Tanner Graber went down with an injury, it became necessary

Hopkins gained 114 yards in the second half and sparked an offense that produced a 35-7 victory for Evart’s first ever football district championship.

The Wildcats at 10-1, play next Saturday at Iron Mountain (10-1) in a regional championship game.

“You did something no Evart football teams has done,” Evart coach Pat Craven told his team afterwards. “But don’t be satisfied. Let’s get back to work on Monday.”

“It’s amazing,” Hopkin said. “It’s something that hasn’t been before in school history. We were talking all week to not let the moment control us, and we did a great job.

“I’m good. I’m healthy now. And I’m excited to keep playing.”

The season ends for East Jordan at 6-5.

A heavy rain hit the game in the first period and then let up for on-and-off showers the rest of the evening.

“It was a great game,” senior Kaden DuBreuil said. “The linemen had to step up because of the rain. We did really well with that. We’re mostly a passing team and get a lot of yards.  But we couldn’t pass the ball when it was raining that hard and we had to run it more.”

“We prefer it not rain,” Craven said. “But our kids did well. The conditions were a major factor obviously. The field has ben in great shape all year long. We wanted to throw it and tried to throw it a little bit.”

In the first quarter, Jake Ladd scored on a sweep for a 25-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead. The Red Devils fired down the field deep in Evart territory before being stopped. Evart took a 14-0 halftime lead when, in the second quarter Preston Wallace passed 26 yards over the middle to Dakobe White for the touchdown.

Logan Shooks had a 2-yard run for a Red Devil touchdown early in the third quarter to get the Evart lead to 14-7. Then Hopkins, who entered the game when Graber went down, took over. He had a 9-yard scoring run for a 21-7 lead with 11:48 left in the game. The Wildcats scored twice more including on 9-yard run by Wallace and 3-yard scamper by Jordan Wicke.

Evart was led by Hopkins with 114 yards rushing on 10 carries and one score; Wallace had 68 yards on 10 carries and a TD. Ladd had four carries for 30 yards and a touchdown. 

“Cole was kind of on an emergency basis,” Craven said. “We didn’t want to use him unless we needed to. When Tanner went down and it was a one-score game he stepped in and was obviously a difference maker.”

Wallace was 5-of-11 in passing for 82 yards and a score.

“People don’t realize the amount of work that goes into these things,” Craven said. “I feel we have a tremendous coaching staff that sacrifices a lot and be the best they can be for these kids. They’ve done an outstanding job and they worked hard. I’m really proud of the kids and the coaches.”

Defensively, Alex Burhans had nine tackles and a fumble recovery. Marcel White had five tackles and an interception. Riley Ransom had seven tackles. Evart had 348 yards of total offense and held East Jordan to 66 yards of total offense, all on rushing.