Juniors shine in football debut for Evart Wildcats

EVART -- Jacob Fortune and Jamin Drake were two juniors making their varsity debuts for Evart’s football team Friday in the season-opening game against Suttons Bay.

It’s likely it was a debut they won’t soon forget.

In Friday’s 37-0 victory, Fortune was making his varsity start at quarterback, and had 78 yards on seven pass completions. He also gained nine yards rushing and had one touchdown.

Drake, meanwhile, may have had the play of the game. He intercepted a pass and returned it to the Suttons Bay 1-yard line to set up a key Evart first-half touchdown.

“I felt pretty good coming in,” Fortune said. “I had pregame jitters. After the first couple of plays, I got them out. About half the first quarter, then I felt pretty confident in myself.”

Coming into the season, Fortune focused on being a leader and understanding all the plays and information to take over the spot made vacant by the graduation of previous quarterback Jesse Lang.

“I feel I can pass pretty well,” he said. “I’m pretty balanced between scrambling and passing.”

Fortune said it’s a boost to have veteran players like John Danley and Austin Grein in the backfield.

“They’re real good guys and real good leaders,” Fortune said. “They know the right things to do.”

Evart will go to Harrison this Thursday at 1-0 thanks to a strong start.

“I think that’s the most important thing to start off the season and win the first game,” Fortune said. “We need to keep working hard at practice, do the right thing and not mess around.”

Drake won’t soon forget his first varsity interception.

“I saw that he (Casey Cross) was going to pass the ball opposite side from me,” Drake said. “I just had to move a couple of feet. I walked right into it. I was thinking touchdown.”

He was stopped a yard shy of the end zone.

“It was disappointing,” Drake smiled.

But the Wildcats were still happy with a shutout.

“We were expecting to do our best, that’s all,” Drake said. “I think our defense can go up against the tougher teams we’ll play this year.”

Against Harrison, “coach said to stay focused next week in practice,” Drake said. “We’ll have a short week of practice because the game is Thursday.”