FORT RECOVERY — Mason Evers, Fort Recovery’s senior quarterback, was a dismal one-for-nine passing in Friday’s clash with visiting Waynesfield-Goshen Friday.
The funny thing is, nobody seemed to notice.
Evers sprinted, twisted, and turned his way for 351 yards on 40 attempts and scored all four touchdowns as the Indians won in a squeaker, 30-27. The performance was an improvement on his school-record 327 yards rushing last week against Edgerton.
“You have to hand it to No. 4 (Evers),” said Waynesfield head coach Gary Spencer. “With the game on the line he took over the ball game.
Evers set up the game winning field goal on the Indians’ final drive of the game. Starting from their own 27-yard line with 5:35 remaining in the game, the Indians methodically drove down the field, converting two big third down conversions. All but two of the yards came from Evers tuck-and-run style. The drive stalled at the 10-yard line, but freshman kicker Jackson Hobbs connected on a 27-yard field goal with 56 seconds remaining.
The Tigers were in trouble right away with what little time they had remaining as Hobbs’ kickoff went through the arms of kick returner James Elliott. The Tigers finally pounced on the ball but had to start from their own four-yard line. Two quick passes, a defensive holding penalty, and a short run put the Tigers close to midfield, but Garret Miller’s pass was tipped by a Waynesfield receiver and fell into the open arms of Evers, who sealed his fine offensive performance with a big defensive play with 10 seconds remaining.
Spencer was happy with his team’s effort despite the loss, and said now is the time when the true character of the team will come out.
“It’s been a long time since we have been in this situation, starting out 0-2,” Spencer said. “I am going to get up, go watch game film, and keep going from there. It is time maybe to look in the mirror, shuffle things around and do what we need to do. Maybe I have to look in that mirror myself also. We will see how they bounce back.”
Evers only big mistake allowed the Tigers to tie the game midway through the third quarter. With the Indians on the verge of completing a long 12-play drive for a score, Evers fumbled on the 15-yard line and Gabe Hennon scooped it up and raced 85 yards for the score. Miller ran in the two point conversion to tie the score at 20-20.
Evers answered it with a 46-yard scamper on the first play of the fourth quarter. The Tigers answered back with an 11-play drive that featured two fourth down conversions, including a 16-yard run by Lake Turner on a fake punt. However, the Indians drove the length of the field for the game-winning field goal on the ensuing drive.
“This is a good win for our football team,” Fort Recovery head coach Brent Niekamp said. “Waynesfield is a very strong, physical football team. “Offensively we were able to do what we needed to do. Defensively, we did what we had to do when it mattered. Evers had the numbers, but we had a lot of young guys make contributions out there.”
The loss may have had an even bigger impact than usual, as starting linebacker and fullback Gabe Wilcox was injured with what was believed to be a concussion and could possibly miss the rest of the season. He was taken for medical attention.
It was the second year in a row that the Indians escaped with a late win over the Tigers. Last season, Jason Potketter scored the winning touchdown with 19 seconds remaining in a 34-30 Fort Recovery win.
Gabe Hennon again eclipsed the 100-yard mark for The Tigers as he ran for 106 yards on 17 carries. Miller completed 11-of-17 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns to compliment the running game. Eli O’Leary caught 10 passes for 108 yards receiving.
The Tigers travel to Mechanicsburg next Friday. Fort Recovery, now 2-0, will host Anna.