BY MATTHEW PEASLEE
MORGANTOWN — The Morgantown football team has many playmakers at different positions across the field. Newer players are stepping up to fill roles and veteran players are looking to make their mark on the program.
Jaiden Evans is a player who is trying to do both.
A 6-foot-5, 250-pound senior two-way lineman, Evans is one of the biggest guys on the field. He’s been a two-way player for the past three years and has been a contributor at the varsity level since he was a freshman.
As a senior, he is hoping for more opportunities to make his way into the starting rotation.
“It’s a lot of stress sometimes,” Evans said. “It takes hard work. Everybody is putting in the work. You have to work when nobody else is working. That’s what a lot of us have been doing. I’ve been focusing on getting better, myself, to help the team reach its goals.”
This off-season, Evans came to the realization his time with the Mohigans was coming to an end. Not fully pleased with his performance as a freshman, sophomore and junior, Evans wanted a way to guarantee that his senior year would be one he could remember for a lifetime.
“This past year really started to snap for me,” Evans said. “I knew I had to put on muscle and step it up to really reach my full potential. I knew I could be a lot stronger than I was.
“It was just time to grow up. I may not have been as motivated in the weight room but this past year after not having the junior year that I wanted, I realized that it was make or break. I was going to hit it all harder and get after it.”
He is taking his role as a senior leader seriously. As he fights for a spot in the starting lineup, he is also taking the time to make sure he is making his classmates better and setting a positive example for the younger players in the program. Of the more than 120 players out for the MHS football team this season, 80-some are freshman and sophomores.
“I know I’m not a kid anymore, I’m an adult and I have responsibilities to myself, my team and my family,” Evans said. “That’s in the real world and in the football team.
“From my freshman year until now I’ve grown a lot. I owe a lot of my development to the coaches I’ve had, role models I’ve looked up to and the older players on the team who have set a good example for all of us. I’ve grown into a new role and I’m learning how to be a leader.”
Evans said he took that step as a leader in Morgantown’s first scrimmage against Capital. The Mohigans got off to a slow start against the Cougars, another consistent threat in AAA, but picked up their performance as the game went on.
“We got used to the flow of the game and I was proud seeing the guys step up,” Evans said. “We’ve got a good team. A lot of kids have grown into their spots. Our offensive line is big and tough. All of our backs are ready to work. They pay attention to every little detail and make sure everything is on point. We saw what we needed to do in that scrimmage.”
As Evans tries each day to live out his goal of becoming a starter, he also is striving toward the dream of playing college football.
“I would love to play at the next level, no matter where,” Evans said. “Playing college football has been my dream since I first started playing football.”
Evans took advantage of his height as a youngster and played basketball for several years. In his upperclassmen years of high school, he has devoted his time to becoming the best football player he can be.