Evart takes down Suttons Bay

EVART — It was a slow start, but the rest of the game was mighty impressive for the Evart Wildcats Friday night.

Austin Grein rushed for 104 yards and three touchdowns and also blocked a punt for a safety to lead the Wildcats to a 37-0 non-league win over Suttons Bay in the season opener for both teams.

“I was pleased with our kids. After starting off a little tentative, they kicked it into gear,” said Evart coach Pat Craven. “They stuck with their game plan and fought hard, kept their poise and confidence and executed the game plan well.”

Grein gained 94 of his yards in the first half while converting on TD runs of 37, 1 and 38 yards. He had the only TD in the first quarter on his 37 yard jaunt. His 1-yard run was set up by a 58-yard interception return by Jamin Drake to the Suttons Bay 1.

FULL SPEED AHEAD: Evart takes the ball down the field against Suttons Bay during high school football action on Friday. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

“That was a big play. Our defense really played well,” Craven said. “We’re going to have to if we want to compete with teams we need to beat.”

Junior quarterback Jacob Fortune, making his varsity debut, passed 40 yards to Chapman Long to set up John Danley’s 1-yard TD run for a 21-0 lead midway in the second quarter.

Grein’s 38-yard touchdown blast later in the quarter made it 28-0.

Suttons Bay suffered a key blow in the second quarter when starting senior quarterback Sean Lammy was injured after a sack. He left the game and did not return. Junior Casey Cross filled in but couldn’t get the Norsemen offense going.

“Whenever you lose your quarterback at a small high school, that’s big,” said Craven. “They (Wildcat defense) were solid. They executed their game plan well.”

“He had a separated shoulder coming in and we tried to play him,” said Suttons Bay coach Joe Trudeau. “He got hit in the head and shoulder at the same time. He’s our captain and our leader. That’s why we try to play him. We need him on the field.”

The Wildcats scored on their first possession in the second half with Fortune scoring on a 2-yard run. With a 35-point lead, the Wildcats put the running clock into effect.

Later in the quarter, when Zachary Rice tried to punt the ball out of the end zone, Grein was there for the block and safety.

Evart had 237 yards rushing and held Suttons Bay to 40 rushing yards and none passing.

Fortune, making his first varsity start was 7-of-14 for 78 passing yards.

“I thought he did a nice job,” Craven said. “He kept his composure. He stepped up in the pocket. I was proud of him.”

“They’re a good football team,” said Trudeau. “They have a lot of good athletes. They have the size and speed. It’s the type of team we have to play perfect against.”

Evart plays Harrison next Friday in non-league play.

“We have to be much better up front offensively,” said Craven. “We have to take care of the football.”

Visit the photo gallery to see more photos from this game.

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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