When I was in middle school (back when it was called junior high), Evans was the county power in sports.
You must take into to account that there was only three middle schools in Columbia County back then. There was no Lakeside, Greenbrier, Riverside or Grovetown.
So middle-school bragging rights in the county came down to Evans, Harlem and Columbia. I attended Columbia and competed in four sports: football, basketball, baseball and track.
It seemed like we always came up short when compared to Evans. Harlem had a great basketball team, but top to bottom Evans was the dominant program.
I'm extremely proud of the fact that we were able to beat Evans in football 6-0 when I was in eighth Grade. Also, we gave them some terrific fights in baseball, but I must admit that Evans, headed by Coach Russell Lee (now at Evans High School) and Jimmie Smith (now at Lakeside High School) had the top program at that time.
Well, over the years, with new schools added, the quest for county dominance has been tough to attain. Yet despite all the competition, Evans has fought their way back to the top. We may never see a school sustain the type of success the Knights have had in 2003-04, and it is certainly a year the folks at Evans won't soon forget.
In the three major boys sports, Evans posted a record of 31-3 this season.
The athletic program is lead by Athletic Director Blake Crewe. Coach Crewe has traveled a long way to get to Evans Middle School - literally. Crewe hails from Nova Scotia and came to the United States to play college baseball.
After two seasons at Truett-McConnell Junior College in Cleveland, Ga., he and his fiancee Channon transferred to Augusta State University.
Crewe became a standout performer for ASU, hitting .360 with 11 homers as a senior. After graduating, Crewe got a job coaching baseball and girl's basketball Evans Middle.
The move has turned out to be a blessing for the Knights and for Crewe.
The programs are winning games and Crewe has moved up the ladder. He has quickly ascended to the job as athletic director, and has a bright future ahead of him.
Of course, Crewe could not do it alone. Carter Morris has become a key part of the Knight's program as well.
Morris, who sold Morris Travel Agency 10 years ago, has since devoted his life to young people in Columbia County.
He teaches and coaches girls soccer at Evans High, and he coaches football, girl's basketball and golf at the middle school.
Crewe and Morris have meshed incredibly well together. A Southern gentleman and a Canadian hockey fan coming together to build a winner - who'd a thunk it?
In football, the Knights completed a perfect season at 6-0. Led by running backs Zach Boulineau and Chris Marshall and the all-around play of Kevin Millward, the Knights got their year off to a terrific start.
The Knights raced through their schedule unblemished for the first time since Morris took over as head coach three years ago.
They followed that up with a "fictional" county championship in basketball after finishing 13-1 on the season. Coach Crewe had a talented squad in 2003-04.
Led by big men Jonathon Nicely and by Millward, the Knights were dominant on the inside. The Knights also got help from Deronte Williams and guards Teddy Leverett and Eric Voldness were stellar at the defensive end of the floor.
In baseball, Evans finished up a 12-2 season. Crewe got a monster season on the diamond from pitcher and shortstop Millward. Dexter Ivey, who hit over .400, along with Eric Voldness and Boulineau, played key roles in the team's success.
Millward, Leverett, Voldness and Brandon McCladdie should be commended. The four were the only kids to participate in all three sports at Evans, and according to Morris they were a major factor in the Knight's success.
"Those kids put in a lot of hard work over the last two years and it paid off," said Coach Morris.
Whatever the future holds for Columbia County sports, the 2003-04 season is one that the coaches, players, parents and fans at Evans Middle School should cherish for a long time.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.