Wildcat football team names All-Conference nominees

Eight players receive nominations

EVART — The 2021 football season came to an end for the Evart Wildcats Oct. 29 with a 42-7 loss to the McBain in the opening round of the playoffs, but not before another prosperous campaign on the gridiron.

Putting together a 7-3 overall record en route to a second-place finish in the final Highland Conference standings, one game behind Beal City.

Throughout their 10 games played, the Wildcats received some standout performances, both individually and at the team level.

Evart head coach Pat Craven has since put forward his list of nominees for the upcoming area All-Conference football team.

Bryant Calderon 

During his final season in an Evart uniform, the senior running back amassed 800 yards and averaged 7.3 yards per-carry.

As a receiver, Calderon caught a total of 22 passes for 486 yards, good enough for an average of 22 yards-per reception.

“He is quite possibly the most explosive kid I’ve ever coached,” Craven said. “Bryant was the ‘lightning’ in our Thunder and Lightning backfield this year.”

Cole Hopkins 

Out of the backfield, Hopkins racked up 570 rushing yards and averaged 6.8 yards per-carry.

Hopkins also had 25 receptions for 423 yards and scored 14 touchdowns.

On the defensive side of the ball, Hopkins recorded 112 tackles, five sacks and a pair of fumble recoveries.

“Cole was the Thunder in our Thunder and Lightning backfield this year,” Craven said. “Cole’s combined speed, strength, and agility make him a tough match up in the box. He can run, catch, and block with the best of them.”

Sam Bailey 

At the defensive end position, Bailey had 56 tackles, four of them resulting in a loss of yards for opposing teams.

He was also selected first-team Highland Conference for his efforts and has been named 
“Sam Bailey is our best lineman,” Craven said. “He anchors our defensive line so much that teams will not run the ball at him.”

Riley Ransom

“Riley is the leader of our offensive line. He calls all of the pass protections and audibles at the line of scrimmage,” Craven said. “He is very cerebral. In a year that our quarterback set school passing records, Riley has not given up a sack. Our total offensive output is nearly 3500 yards and 36 points per game.”

Preston Wallace

“Preston’s first year at the helm was a historic one,” Craven said. “He set passing yards and completion percentage records as well as touchdown to interception ratio.”

Wallace passed for 1835 yards, 24 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions along with a 62% completion percentage.

He had multiple games with 3-plus touchdown passes and a career-high five touchdown passes against playoff team Frankfort. 

Marcel White

“Marcel is the top receiver in the Highland Conference.. Marcel is an outstanding edge blocker as well and created many gaps for our running backs throughout the year,” Craven said.

White was a first team Highland Conference receiver and first team MHSFCA Division 7 All Region receiver as well. 

As a defensive back, he had 4 interceptions and 41 tackles. 

Donovan Balowski 

“Donavan worked tirelessly to improve his handles this off season. He had 10 receptions for 65 yards and two touchdowns while being a tremendous blocker for our two running backs,” Craven said. “Donovan also had 61 tackles on defense with two sacks, two caused fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. 

Josiah Beard

“Josiah has given up one sack this year and proved to be an outstanding offensive lineman due to his length, quickness, and speed,” Craven said.