East Wake's Trent Evans, Riverside's Joel Evans lead teams to victories

tstevens@newsobserver.comSeptember 30, 2013 

Trent Evans of East Wake and Joel Evans of Durham Riverside had never experienced anything like what happened to them last Friday night.

Each has had success on the football field, but on Friday night they reached a level where everyone around them seemed to be moving at a slower pace. They could see things they might not have noticed at other times. They could see the entire field and immediately know what to do.

Joel Evans had 12 rushes in a 63-49 victory over Cleveland. He ran into the end zone six times and piled up 415 yards rushing.

Trent Evans, meanwhile, was accounting for 504 total yards in a 54-40 win against Garner. He passed for 345 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 159 yards and two more scores.

“I’ve never experienced anything like it,” said Riverside’s Evans. “It seemed like I always had plenty of room to run. It was wide open.”

Even when things didn’t go right for East Wake’s Evans, when Garner blocked one of his rare punts, the ball came to him and he ran 26 yards for a first down.

It was that kind of night.

Joel Evans, a 5-foot-51/2, 175-pound senior, said he had scored five or six touchdowns in a game before, but had never experienced anything like his game against Cleveland. His visions of the game are clear in many ways, but he can remember only three of his touchdown runs.

The first was a 66-yarder that pulled the Pirates to within 14-7 of Cleveland. The call was an outside zone read to the right. “I got the ball and slow played it like I always do to see the blocking,” he said. “I saw a cut-back lane and there was no one there. The field was wide open.”

The second score, a 36-yarder that cut Cleveland’s lead to 21-14, was on an outside zone left. “The defensive end came in from outside and I just tried to get to the sideline,” he recalled.

The third, fourth and fifth runs covered 44, 81 and 66 yards, but mostly he remembers looking up and seeing no one between him and the goal line.

His final scoring run, a 66-yarder to the right that finished the scoring, showed his speed again. “I blew past the linebacker and put a move on the safety,” he said.

Evans said some blocking adjustments at the half made an obvious difference. The Pirates trailed 35-20 at the half. “The blocking was so good that it looked like everything was wide open,” he said. “Our O-line works really hard and it showed tonight.”

Riverside coach David Hackney said the blocking changes turned the game.

“Joel Evans had a huge individual performance, however, I would like to give my coaching staff credit also,” Hackney said. “(The coaches) made great halftime adjustments and that was the difference in our second half performance. We made some subtle adjustments to blocking assignments to negate the success they were having against our running game.”

Riverside’s Joel Evans came on strong in the second half, but East Wake’s Trent Evans started fast as the Warriors’ offense never let up against Garner. Evans threw 30-yard and 18-yard scoring passes, ran 30 yards for a touchdown, threw 27, 83 nd 47-yard scoring passes and ran four yards for the final score.

East Wake’s Evans thought the Warriors would move the ball on Garner after watching the Trojans’ defensive ends and cornerbacks on tape, but during the game it was as if he knew exactly what was going to happen and what he should do.

He could throw the ball wherever he wanted and his moves as a runner all seemed to work. He saw the Garner defenders move and immediately knew which receiver would be open.

With Garner rallying and East Wake leading 47-40 with five minutes left, Garner blocked a punt. The ball was flipping in the air when Evans grabbed it. “I saw a lot of running room and I only had to beat one man,” he said.

He ran 26 yards for the first down and minutes later East Wake scored the clinching touchdown.

“The whole game felt good,” Trent Evans said. “We’re really playing as a team.”

East Wake coach John Poulnott said he had seen some outstanding performances, but that Trent Evans’ ranks among the best.

“We came out and took the ‘W.’ Everybody was doubting us. Now, I think we’re headed to the playoffs,” Trent Evans said.

Stevens: 919-829-8910

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