FFE Week 4 Player of the Week: Tanner Evans, Christiansburg
The senior ran 21 times for 242 yards and five touchdowns against Cave Spring.
CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - “When you’ve got a player like that, you’ve got a shot to win football games any Friday night and that’s what’s exciting,” said head coach Alex Wilkens.
For the Christiansburg Blue Demons, that player is Tanner Evans - the do-it-all quarterback, running back and defensive back whose latest show came against Cave Spring.
The senior ran 21 times for 242 yards and five touchdowns, adding 131 yards through the air.
Not to mention, seven tackles, three for a loss, forcing and recovering a fumble and breaking up three passes, in what was a back-and-forth, 42-33 Blue Demons win.
Evans helped lead Christiansburg all the way to the Class 3 semifinals last season, but a 43-0 loss to Heritage made him hungry to come back even stronger.
“A lot in the weight room, and then became even more of a leader, and the community and people surrounding me just allowed me to get a lot better,” he said.
“It’s been talked about a lot over his career, his skill set is very unique,” said Wilkens. “He’s just very skilled at all of it, but it takes a lot of mental acuity and being sharp to do all that stuff too, and at the end of the day, you just gotta be tough.”
Despite his success on the gridiron, Evans admits football comes second to his first love of baseball, but that experience of stepping into the batter’s box keeps the heart rate down on Fridays.
“Same as a quarterback, just stepping in there, everyone’s just focusing on me and it’s just like I’m the main character in the moment,” said Evans.
So does he feel any pressure??
“Not really. I’ve just got experience. I played varsity football as a freshman, I didn’t start but I still played and got a decent amount of reps, and I moved up as a freshman in baseball on varsity.”
“I never played baseball, but I listened to Coach Prime this week mention that the hardest thing he ever had to do was hit that baseball,” said Wilkens. “So I’m sure that parallels to the lights not being too bright for you. I’ve coached a lot of baseball players over my career and they typically handle the night lights of Friday pretty well.”
As River Ridge District play heats up, Evans and his teammates know the step-up in competition means a chance to prove themselves.
But for Christiansburg’s 5-foot-8 senior quarterback, there’s not a whole lot left to prove.
And when it’s all said and done, No. 4 in blue and gold will go down as a legend in his hometown.
“He gets a lot of attention and he’s gotten a lot of accolades, but I think it’s important for him to remember that he is leaving behind a legacy and how does he want to be remembered?” said Wilkens. “And that’s what motivates people that have already accomplished so much.”
“It means a lot, knowing that I’ll still be talked about in this town and the high school, and in this community in general,” said Evans. “That I’ll be talked about just makes me happy.”
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