Powerful Beal City holds back Evart

Evart's football team is practicing this week for a trip to Marion Friday night. (File photo)
Evart’s football team is practicing this week for a trip to Marion Friday night. (File photo)

EVART — It was a battle of undefeated Highland Conference football teams Friday night with Beal City getting the best of Evart 46-14.

Both teams were 3-0 and 1-0 in the conference going into the game.

The Aggies built a 7-0 lead after the first quarter and 26-7 at halftime. They outscored Evart 13-0 in the third. Both teams had seven points in the fourth.

“I thought our kids played with tremendous heart and effort,” said Evart coach Pat Craven. “You can’t question our intensity and focus. We had some defensive lapses that we couldn’t get fixed. Beal City took advantage of them. We turned the ball over a couple of times on offense. You can’t do that against a state championship caliber team.”

Beal City was 13-1 and state runners-up in Division 8 last season and are expected to contend for the state title again.

The Wildcats scored in the second quarter on Jacob Hopkins’ 29-yard reception from Jacob Fortune. Fortune passed 14 yards to Josh Decator in the fourth quarter.

Beal City had 330 yards rushing. Evart had 43 yards rushing on 16 carries.

Fortune was 13-of-22 for 186 yards and two scores.

Derrick Bowen had 19 yards on five carries. Hopkins caught six passes for 97 yards. Jarred Pattee caught four passes for 72 yards.

On defense, Robert Burge and Larry Van Buren both had six solo tackles and eight assists.

It was the closest margin of victory for Beal City so far this season.

Evart is at Marion next Friday.

“We know they are very low on numbers,” said Craven. “They have a lot of kids going both ways. We‘ll have to take advantage of that with our guys up front. Hopefully we can wear them down. Athletically speaking, they have some pretty good athletes. We’ll have to take care of the quarterback. They like to run the option with him. They have a nice-sized fullback who runs the ball hard and has decent speed. We’ll have to do a good job stopping the run game but be disciplined an stopping the option.”

Marion is 1-3 overall and 0-2 in the Highland.

This week in practice, “we’re going to focus on getting better,” Craven said. “We’ve identified things from the Beal game that we need to do better. The good news is that they’re all things we can fix. Technically speaking and fundamentally speaking, we have to get better with our footwork. We have to get better with assignment football defensively and offensively. We have to work to have better accountability when it comes to those individual aspects of the game.”