Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

August 9, 2012

Evans focused on Green Wave resurgence

NARROWS, Va. — There was no tubing on the lake this summer for Tyler Evans.

Not after last summer.

“Nope,” Evan said. “I have been in the weight room all year.”

Good call.

Evans missed the first two games of last season for Narrows after breaking his arm while tubing.

That was bad. Bad went to worst when the Green Wave completed a winless season, finishing with an 0-10 record.

“It was rough,” Evans said. “I kind of got a late start and I didn’t feel like I helped my team at the beginning of the year because I broke my arm.”

Not this season. Evans is one of 28 players who are working to end a 13-game losing streak that goes back to 2010.

“I feel like we will be in pretty good shape this year,” Evan said. “We have a lot of people that want to work hard and be better and have a better record this year.”

Forgetting last season and moving on has been the focus for Narrows in preseason preparations.

“That is one thing we have talked about, there is nothing you can do to change the past,” Narrows head coach Kelly Lowe said. “You can learn from what happened last year and it can make you a better person and a better player by learning from what happened.

“We haven’t touched on it too much. We refer to it back from time to time in practice, but we are really just trying to just move on and just look forward to this 2012 season.”

The 5-foot-10, 203-pound Evans enters his senior campaign expected to contribute on both sides of the ball. He’ll be a left guard on offense and flip sides on defense.

Playing both ways is just part of the deal at a small school like Narrows.

“It is difficult because most people have to go both ways so it really makes you tired, which this year we are changing that,” Evans said. “We have been running a lot and trying to get in shape to make it easier for us to go both ways.

“The fourth quarter we are pretty wore out, but we have got to dig deep and push through it and that will help us out a lot this year.”

Avoiding the lake and staying in the weight room had paid off for Evans, who added 10 pounds in the offseason. His only break was for baseball.

“I lifted all winter until baseball season,” he said, “and then I started right after baseball season lifting until August.”

A three-year starter for the Green Wave, Evans has set a few individual goals, all related to being among the best players in the much-improved Mountain Empire District.

“I really want to be like first team offense and move up, I got second team last year, I would like to move up to first team this year,” Evans said. “I also want to try to be first team defense too, that has always been my goal on defense.”

Competing in the MED is a challenge for the Green Wave. Four teams made the playoffs last season from the six-team league, with Galax losing in the Division I state championship game. Grayson County was the top-seeded team in the Western Section of Division 2.

“They are fast, really fast, that is a tough challenge for us,” Evans said. “We have got speed, but we don’t have much. We are about average.”

Narrows plays a competitive schedule from the start, including opening the season with James Monroe, and that will be followed three weeks later with archrival Giles.

“We love the Giles game,” Evans said. “When I was little I can remember the Giles game and all the cheering. It seems real now. You get to go out there on Friday nights and you hear everybody screaming and hollering and it gets your blood flowing. It is fun.”

The Green Wave hasn’t beaten the Spartans since 2002. Don’t count them out in 2012.

“I believe we will be able to give them a game just because we work hard and we have the heart for the game,” Evans said. “I just believe we will give them a run for their money.”

Building to that point is what preseason practice is all about, and Lowe has been pleased with the work ethic of his squad with just over two weeks before the season begins.

“This is a new group of kids, a new group of leaders, and they are all a year older so we are not really dwelling too much on last year because there is nothing you can do to change it,” Lowe said. “We are just basically moving on and our mindset is focused on this year and getting better each day.”

Football, much like it is in most communities in the region, is king in Narrows. Evans wants to provide the Green Wave fans with a season to celebrate.  

After all, it’s his last chance.

“The community last year, it wasn’t bad, they were talking to us and telling us we’re doing all right and it will be better next year, which I hope it will be,” Evans said. “It is my senior year.

“Since last year I have been looking forward to it.”

Narrows had a couple of close calls last season, falling to Bland County by eight points and Craig County by nine. Injuries were an issue for the Green Wave, but playing as many as six freshmen or sophomores at a time should pay dividends this year.

“We had a couple of opportunities, we were in some ball games last year and they didn’t go our way, we are kind of moving on,” said Lowe, whose Green Wave have added quickness with several athletes who didn’t play last season.

 “I commend those kids for hanging in there and coming back and now we have an opportunity now that they are a year older.

“We are excited about the progress these kids have made in the offseason and excited about how well they have worked so far.”

Last year was tough on the Green Wave, winless seasons are like that. Evans hopes to see those fortunes change.

“It was all right last year, we had some spirit, but hopefully this year we can turn the season around and make a better season,” Evans said.

He knows the answer. Working hard, and avoiding the pitfalls that stand in the way.

“We have just got to work hard, keep working hard actually,” Evans said. “We have been working hard, we have just got to keep working hard.”

—Contact Brian Woodson


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