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LOUISVILLE---Before North Oldham’s game Friday, the news came out: senior running back Zach Evans was out with a broken ankle.
He’ll now have a four-month expected recovery time that will effectively end his season. Evans injured the ankle injured ankle during the Mustangs’ win over South Oldham Sept. 16
But North Oldham still has a more than capable Evans.
Evans’ brother, junior Jake Evans, stepped into the fold, returning from an injury himself as the Mustangs didn’t miss a beat in a 69-21 pasting of Waggener in both teams’ first district game this season.
“I always wanted to play with him but we just never got to,” Jake said. “We’ve just gotta fill a spot. It’s a big spot to fill but I think we can do it.”
North Oldham scored first on a 5-yard keeper by senior quarterback Cameron Renaud on the game’s opening drive. But Waggener responded with a touchdown of its own on the ensuing drive.
Renaud turned to his arm, with a 69-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Michael Choe down the right side of the field that put the Mustangs up 13-7 after a missed extra point. Renaud also threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Carson Yanke on North Oldham’s ensuing possession.
“He’s an outstanding quarterback that can play at the next level,” North Oldham coach Billy Martin said. “Probably with a guy that runs more pass plays than me, he would really shine.”
Renaud finished the night 5-7 for 152 yards but didn’t attempt a pass in the second half. He didn’t need to.
Senior Andrew Judd returned a punt 39 yards for a touchdown after the Wildcats couldn’t convert on their second half-opening possession. Judd then returned an interception on Waggener’s next possession 33 yards for a touchdown. Choe also made an interception in the fourth quarter and North Oldham recovered a fourth quarter fumble by the Wildcats on a sack.
“The D-line helps the DBs a lot,” Choe said. “They’re like part of us. They pressure the quarterback and that lets us play better defense, gives ‘em last time and gets us interceptions.”
Prior to his injury, Zach Evans was a key part of the Mustangs’ attack, a downfield runner with big speed who was always a threat for a big play. But he’s not the only one capable of big plays.
“I didn’t know how well we were gonna do, but it turned out even better than I thought,” Jake said. “It’s just confidence, a lot of confidence from this game. The young guys get experience.”
As North Oldham prepares for Friday’s district game at Collins, there’s an added level of confidence even with their big loss.
Martin knows what his team is capable of without its star.
“It really hurts losing Zach and that big-play capability that he had and the 16 points a game that he was averaging,” Martin said. “We’re really feeling his loss and miss him, but a good team pulls together, plays for him being hurt and plays for us.”
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