Fumbles hamper Wildcats in 26-0 loss to Lake City

LAKE CITY — Two years ago, Evart played a district title football game against Lake City on the Trojans’ home field with a shot at advancing to the third round of the playoffs at stake.

Friday night at the same location, in the eighth game of the regular season, with both teams battling below the .500 mark, the Trojans were able to pull out a 26-0 victory over the Wildcats. The Trojans also had won the 2012 showdown.

Fumbles, including three that led to Trojan touchdowns, were critical for the Wildcats Friday. Both teams had to battle rainy weather, but Lake City was able to prevail.

“The fumbles hurt us,” Evart coach Pat Craven said. “You can’t win ballgames when you turn the ball over. We turned it over.”

Lake City enjoyed field position in the first quarter and took advantage for a scoring drive, ending in 3-yard keeper by freshman quarterback Cade Peterson for a 7-0 lead.

Evart twice lost the football in the second quarter on snaps to quarterback Trevin Ladd. Lake City recovered at the 7-yard line the first time but couldn’t score. The next time, the Trojans recovered on the Evart 16 and took advantage with a 5-yard TD run by Bradley Atkins. It gave the Trojans a 13-0 lead.

The Wildcats were able to move the ball on passing plays from Ladd to Nolan VanOrder and Dillon Danley. But a holding penalty on one of the completions late in the second quarter spoiled a scoring chance for Evart.

Lake City put together a long drive in the third quarter sparked on Atkins’ 20-yard run, but fumbled it over at the Wildcat 24. Two plays later, the Wildcats fumbled it over and the Trojans took control. A few plays later, Atkins ran it 21 yards for the touchdown and 19-0 lead.

Lake City then recovered another Wildcat fumble in Evart territory and got a key pass interference call on a fourth-down play. Another Wildcat penalty gave Lake City the ball at the 3 and Atkins ran it in from there for a 26-point lead.

Evart, which has dressed about 16 or 17 players this season, had 14 in uniform Friday.

“We have an ineligible and an injury,” Craven said. “But they played hard.”

Ladd passed for 90 yards but Evart only had a net 19 yards rushing. VanOrder had 36 yards receiving while Dillon Danley had 32.

“I thought on defense, our kids played really hard,” Craven said. “We had 14 kids, they played their tails off. (Offense) has to take care of the football. We have to treat the football, like I told the kids, as if it’s a precious jewel.”

Both teams are 2-6 overall. Evart ends the league season at 1-5.

Evart plays at Montabella Friday night in the regular season finale.

“We have one game left to give it everything we have,” Craven said.