Multi-faceted Kiski Area freshman shows big-play prowess
As a freshman, Justice Evans plays key roles for Kiski Area as the team's starter at cornerback, kick returner and punt returner, as well as one of the top running backs.
The special teams work sparked the Cavaliers to a Quad East victory Friday night.
Evans set up two touchdowns with long punt returns and scored a touchdown himself on a 2-yard run, helping Kiski Area (3-3, 3-2) snap a three-game losing streak with a 24-7 victory over Norwin at Norwin Knights Stadium.
“He has a lot of years to play for Kiski, and he has a lot of special gifts,” coach Dave Heavner said. “We actually put pressure on him to make plays, and every time we ask him to do something, he certainly comes up with big plays.”
Evans' first big play came on the final snap of the first quarter, with the Cavaliers and Knights locked in a scoreless tie. He fielded a Logan Deri punt on his own 35-yard line, picked up a big block near midfield and raced down the sideline before getting knocked out at the Norwin 2.
Four plays later, Chad Kuhn snuck into the end zone from 1 yard out to put Kiski on the board.
A second long punt return, this one covering 20 yards, set up Patrick Turner's 26-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and Evans capped off the scoring himself with a 2-yard run in the third frame.
“He certainly has a full load on his shoulder, and he produces every single week,” Heavner said. “It's been like that since day one.”
While Evans made big plays on special teams, a team effort offensively and defensively helped Kiski Area earn the victory.
Running back Lincoln Clayton exited the game in the first quarter, but Kuhn, Evans and Turner combined to run for nearly 250 yards and three touchdowns in his place.
Defensively, the Cavaliers shut Norwin out in the second half and sacked quarterback Nick Amendola five times. In its previous three games, Kiski Area allowed 126 points — with the biggest blemish a 56-28 loss to Pine-Richland last week.
“Our defense has been pretty good all year, and we wanted to make sure we came out here and got back to basics,” Heavner said.
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.