High-SchoolFootball: Coleby Evans

FAB 50 Offseason Primer: Union (Okla.)

February, 22, 2012
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Tulsa Union FootballAP Photo/The Tulsa World, Joey JohnsonUnion (Tulsa, Okla.) players celebrate winning the team's fourth straight state title last season. Union beat Broken Arrow (Okla.) in the final and finished No. 24 in the POWERADE FAB 50.
During the offseason, we’ll check out one team per week that looks like a sure bet to be among the best in the nation for next fall.

FAB 50 Offseason Primer Archive

This week’s team: Union (Tulsa, Okla.)

2011 Season: 13-1, Class 6A state champion for fourth straight year, No. 24 in the final POWERADE FAB 50.

Projected 2012 Preseason Ranking: Top 15. Though one of Union’s two wins against longtime rival Jenks (Okla.) was by just one point, the Redskins have without question become the state’s dominant program and no longer have to share top billing with the Trojans. Twelve starters that helped Union edge Broken Arrow (Okla.) 23-22 in the state final are underclassmen, so the 2012 team could be one of the best in school history. Coach Kirk Fridrich will also take next season’s team on a challenging road trip to face Texas powerhouse and three-time state champ Trinity (Euless, Texas).

Team Strengths: Junior quarterback Hunter Atyia tops a very talented cast of skill players, while junior defensive end Dalton Rodriguez is one of many standouts expected back to lead the defense. Atyia accounted for nearly 2,300 yards of total offense this past season. He’ll be helped out by freshman running back Terrel Buchanan, who excelled late in the season after standout running back Kendall Holmes was suspended. Buchanan became an instant star and was one of the best freshmen in the nation. Junior receivers Chris Hall and Kahlil Barnett will help Atyia in the passing game. Rodriguez will likely be the team’s top recruit next season, while sophomore linebacker Coleby Evans was second on the team in tackles. Evans was a star in the state final, returning a fumble 30 yards for a touchdown that tied the game (the ensuing extra point was the game-winner) and picking off a pass earlier in the fourth quarter to set up another score.

Another Oklahoma team to watch: MacArthur (Lawton) reached the Class 5A state final last year and lost in a battle of undefeated teams to Guthrie (Okla.) 24-7. The Highlanders will return 6-foot-1, 220-pound running back Darius Graham, one of the top college prospects in the state for the Class of 2013. Graham rushed for nearly 1,500 yards as a junior. Second-leading tackler Derek Block also will be back. You can never count out Jenks, of course, in Class 6A and the Trojans will have another big-time running back in junior Trey’Vonne Barr’e, who rushed for more than 2,000 yards last season.

Instant Impact: Weekend playoff roundup

December, 4, 2011
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Several football games with POWERADE FAB 50 implications took place this weekend and the ESPN Recruiting Nation staff was on hand for a number of them. Keep up with all of the FAB 50 results with the weekend scoreboard.

SATURDAY NIGHT

Carroll controls Martin in playoff win

DALLAS -- Southlake Carroll (Texas) stared down two opponents -- Arlington Martin and the weather – Saturday night and emerged unbeaten as champion of Texas’ 5A Division I Region I.

The seven-time state champion Dragons (14-0), ranked No. 18 in the POWERADE FAB 50, beat No. 38 Martin (Arlington) 31-14 by minimizing mistakes in a steady rain that often turned heavy at Southern Methodist’s Ford Stadium.

"We knew we had no control over the weather," Carroll senior Sabian Holmes said. "We either had to get our mind ready for it or just fold."

Holmes, committed to sign with Baylor, provided three decisive plays. He intercepted Martin quarterback Brodie Lambert late in the first quarter to set up a 42-yard burst by Carroll QB Kenny Hill for a touchdown to put the Dragons on top 10-7.

Holmes also caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Hill in the final minute of the third quarter to put Carroll up 24-14, and the Holmes recovered a Cameron Williams fumble inside the Carroll 10-yard line with nine minutes left in the game to end the Warriors’ last serious threat.

Carroll led 17-14 at the half before Martin defensive end Devonte Fields, a TCU pledge ranked No. 68 in ESPNU 150, recovered a fumbled snap. Martin then drove into scoring range behind junior running back Kyle Hicks. But Hicks suffered a leg injury when hit by Carroll linebacker Will Davis, and the Warriors missed a 43-yard field goal. Hicks did not return.

Colorado pledge Peyton Williams caught a pair of Hill throws for first downs on the next Carroll drive, which ended with the touchdown throw to Holmes.
Martin finished 12-2.

Carroll advanced to meet fellow unbeaten Dallas Skyline, ranked No. 9 in the FAB 50, in the 5A Division I semifinals.

— Mitch Sherman

St. Ignatius earns another crown

CANTON, Ohio — In similar fashion to most of the other Ohio state championship games, Cleveland St. Ignatius opened up an early lead before watching it slip away a short time later.

Just like those other teams, though, FAB 50 No. 45 St. Ignatius was able to hold on and eventually pull away from Pickerington Central (Ohio) in the Division I title game, as the Wildcats defeated the Tigers 34-13 to become state champions for the 11th time since 1988.

Whether it was on the ground or through the air, the Wildcats were able to have their way with the Tigers defense. Senior quarterback Eric Williams tossed for 297 yards and two scores, and running back Tim McVey bruised his way for 107 yards and two scores as well.

Defensively, the Wildcats hassled quarterback Nick Jensen-Clagg all night as the Tigers were only able to put together two scoring drives, one of which came on a 75-yard screen pass.

— Jared Shanker

FRIDAY NIGHT

Johnson, Norland run past Glades Central

BELLE GLADE, Fla. — Since the Florida Class 5A classification members were listed earlier in the year, a potential third-round playoff game between Glades Central (Belle Glade, Fla.) and Miami Norland (Miami) was circled.

For one half it lived up to all the expectations. And for the second it was all about Randy “Duke” Johnson.

The senior running back had four touchdowns to lead POWERADE FAB 50 No. 12 Norland (12-0) to a 29-13 victory over No. 39 Glades Central (12-1). It was the Raiders’ first home playoff loss in 10 years.

With Norland facing a 4th-and-1 and clinging to a 17-13 lead early in the fourth quarter, Johnson found a hole on the left side and scattered through en route to a 54-yard score. After a Norland defensive stand forced a turnover on downs, Johnson scored on the very next play — a 47-yard burst to put the game out of reach.

“I knew the coaches were going to lean on me tonight and I had to lean on the offensive line,” Johnson said. “Everybody did their job and it’s onto the next round.”

Norland will travel to Palmetto (Fla.) next week in the Class 5A state semifinals.

— Corey Long

Armwood mounts crucial comeback

SEFFNER, Fla. – FAB 50 No. 2 Armwood (Seffner, Fla.) survived a scare at home and defeated the Gainesville (Fla.) Purple Hurricanes 17-14 on Friday.

Gainesville jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when USF defensive back commit Chris Bivins blocked a punt that was returned 14 yards by Juan Jenkins for a touchdown.

Gainesville added a 3-yard touchdown run by quarterback Nick Cato and led at the half 14-3 over the undefeated Hawks.

The Hawks pulled to within four midway through the third quarter when junior quarterback Alvin Bailey found Florida running back commit Matt Jones for a 43-yard touchdown.

After trailing for a majority of the game, Armwood took the lead with 3:46 to go in the game when Bailey found wide receiver Wade Edwards for a 14-yard touchdown. Armwood moves on to play Bartram Trail (St. Johns, Fla.) in the FHSAA class 6A state semifinals next Friday.

— Derek Tyson

Defense fuels Lake Travis win

AUSTIN, Texas – With a sick quarterback and a running game stifled by district rival Cedar Park (Texas), Lake Travis (Austin, Texas) called on its defense Friday night to extend the school’s state-record playoff winning streak.

The four-time defending state champions used a pair of second-half interceptions to defeat the Timberwolves 14-9 and win the Texas 4A Division I Region 4 title at Royal-Memorial Stadium.

Lake Travis (14-0), No. 11 in the Powerade FAB 50, advances to the state semifinal round. The Cavaliers have won 28 consecutive postseason games and 20 straight overall since a loss to Cedar Park in 2010.

The latest meeting featured a scoreless second half, preserved by a Dane Balazs interception of Cedar Park quarterback Brian Hogan early in the fourth quarter after a botched punt gave the Timberwolves possession at the Lake Travis 37-yard line. Brock Kenyon then intercepted Hogan in the final minute to secure the win.

"You never know what plays in a ballgame like this are going to be the difference," Lake Travis coach Hank Carter.

A holding penalty thwarted another late Cedar Park drive, negating a Hogan screen pass to receiver Bill Estavanott that would have gained a first down inside the Lake Travis 20.

Lake Travis, which averaged 52.7 points in its three playoff wins before Friday, struck first on a 17-yard pass from Baker Mayfield to TCU-bound tight end Griffin Gilbert midway through the opening quarter.

Mayfield, who completed 13 of 27 throws for 131 yards, battled an illness throughout the game, Carter said.

Cedar Park (11-3) answered with a 22-yard strike from Hogan to Ethan Fry and a 32-yard Austin Randa field goal to go up 9-7 with 5:59 to play in the first half.

Lake Travis went back on top less than a minute later on a 44-yard burst by sophomore running back Varshaun Nixin. Its defense handled the rest.

"Cedar Park’s a great team," Gilbert said. "It’s like stopping a freight train, but our defense really stepped it up."

— Mitch Sherman



THURSDAY NIGHT

Union wins fourth consecutive state title

STILLWATER, Okla. — There’s a reason why Union (Tulsa, Okla.) has earned the reputation of being one of the best high school football programs in the nation.

It’s not always a team of stars, but it’s a team with players who don’t shy away from the big moment. Thursday night that player was sophomore Coleby Evans, who returned a fumble 30 yards with 3:51 left in the fourth quarter to give POWERADE FAB 50 No. 34 Union (13-1) a 23-22 victory against No. 47 Broken Arrow (Okla.) in the Class 6A state championship at Oklahoma State’s Boone Pickens Stadium.

“I was just the right guy at the right time,” Evans said. “I can’t imagine playing such a big role in a game like this.”

Evans also had an interception in the fourth quarter that led to a Union touchdown. Broken Arrow (12-2) responded with a 40-yard touchdown from Zack Mills to Houston commit Levi Copelin to make it 22-16 Broken Arrow with 9:36 left in the game before Evans came up big again.

It’s the fourth consecutive state championship for Union, while Broken Arrow was gunning for its first state title.

— Bob Przybylo

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