Evarts ends drought
By John Henson
Playing in his first game against New Harlan, Evarts eighth-grade running back Hobert Cornett perhaps didn’t know his Wildcats had never beaten county rival New Harlan in seventh- and eighth-grade football action.
When they found themselves trailing 30-12 with 3:33 left in the third quarter, the Wildcats looked like they were headed for another lopsided loss, at least until Cornett and the Evarts offensive line decided it was time for a change.
Evarts (1-1) took over the line of scrimmage and Cornett exploded with a 50-yard kickoff return followed by touchdown runs of 34, 50 and 31 yards as the Wildcats closed the game with a 20-0 run to win 40-36.
“We have talked to them about being mentally tough and when we went into the locker room we told them they could lie down or it could be a defining moment for them,” Evarts coach Needham Saylor said. “We told them they would have to buckle down and fight for 16 minutes, and that’s exactly what they did. We were worried about our offensive line since we had a bunch of seventh graders moving up, but when we started scrimmaging we realized it was probably our strong point. I think it’s starting sinking in for them after two scrimmages and the game Saturday.”
Cornett finished with six touchdowns, including four in the second half.
“Hobert hasn’t played football in years. He has tremendous speed, and once he got the corner there isn’t much you can do,” Saylor said.
It was the New Harlan offense that was unstoppable in the first half as Garry Henson ripped off several big gains out of the I-formation, scoring on the Patriots’ first two possessions. Henson had runs of 12 and 14 yards on New Harlan’s first drive, covering 40 yards in seven plays, and scored from the 3 with 4:23 left in the opening quarter. Ben Landis added the two-point conversion to put the Patriots up 8-6.
Evarts had scored first when Cornett rumbled 55 yards on the first play from scrimmage.
Cornett put the Cats back on top with a 19-yard TD run early in the second quarter. Henson answered with a 9-yard run, followed by Landis’ two-point conversion, for a 16-12 New Harlan lead with 5:56 left in the second quarter.
A Jacob Irvin fumble recovery set the Patriots up for another touchdown, a 28-yard run by Dalton Johnson with 1:26 to play in the first half to make the score 22-12.
Johnson’s 8-yard TD run, followed by Henson’s two-point conversion, gave the Patriots an 18-point lead and started a flurry of touchdowns. Cornett went 50 yards on the kickoff and quarterback Dawson Caudill added the two-point conversion. Jacob Thompson answered with a 55-yard touchdown run to give New Harlan a 36-20 advantage with 3:04 left in the third quarter.
The Patriots were unable to score again, losing three fumbles, an onside kick and an interception in the final 1o minutes.
Cornett scored on a 34-yard TD run with 20.1 seconds to play in the third quarter, but Jacob Bailey knocked down the pass on the two-point conversion attempt.
Cornett broke a pair of tackles on a 50-yard touchdown run with 6:32 to play to cut the deficit to four.
After a controversial call on an onside kick recovered by the Wildcats, Cornett put Evarts ahead to stay with a 31-yard touchdown run through the middle of the New Harlan defense.
New Harlan had a final chance in the last two minutes as Colby Cochran completed three passes to Henson as the Patriots drove to the Evarts 21before time expired.
Evarts returns to action Saturday in the Mid Mountain Conference Athletic Association Gridorama at Harlan. New Harlan plays host to Bell County on Tuesday.
In a battle of speed against power, Matt Brown and the New Harlan Patriots demonstrated the value of speed in New Harlan’s 32-8 win in fifth- and sixth-grade action.
Brown ran for 161 yards on eight carries with three touchdowns as the Patriots improved to 2-0 on the young season.
The game was tied 8-8 when Brown took over in the third quarter with two long touchdown runs down the right sideline, 65 yards with 5:41 left and 58 yards with 2:17 to play.
Hunter Blevins had a two-point conversion after the first touchdown in the second half and Hunter Helton scored on the second one after recovering a fumble when Jordan Steele knocked the ball away from the New Harlan quarterback. James Gray set up the second TD with a fumble recovery.
Josh Turner had a couple of big runs late in the third quarter after he recovered another fumble, setting up the final TD on a 2-yard run by Brown. Turner connected with Justin Maiden for the two-point conversion.
Turner scored the game’s first touchdown on a 3-yard run in the first quarter. He also added the two-point conversion.
Steele scored on a 7-yard run in the second quarter and Kobe Burkhart added the two-point conversion to tie the game.