When Evans coach Marty Jackson turned the lights on at the school's football stadium two Fridays ago, he blew a transformer. The Knights were forced to play at Westside later that evening.
As luck would have it, Evans regained its lost home contest when Josey was forced to hit the road by the Richmond County school system, which cited a lack of security personnel.
When Jackson went to turn on the lights before the game this time, he did so with a little extra care along with a safety item.
"I did use a broom handle," he said. "Our superintendent told our principal that's how they used to turn them on."
The lights stayed on and the evening-long rain subsided just as Evans put the finishing touches on its 17-0 win over Josey.
The Knights survived the bad weather to remain perfect through seven games. Evans (6-0 in Region 3-AAAA) continued on its path for its third region championship since 1980 -- the most recent region title came in 1987, also the last season the team started 7-0.
The Knights play host to Hephzibah at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The Rebels (5-2) will be the most formidable opponent for Evans so far this season, Jackson said. Hephzibah is tied for second in the region standings with Richmond Academy at 5-1.
That Evans is in position to win a region title is a remarkable feat for a team that had seven players sign college scholarship offers after last season's 10-2 campaign.
"This is a new team, a new identity," Jackson said. "We had to start at the beginning of the year to find an identity. We're not worried about 7-0. We're worried about the next game."
"We still have a long way to go," Evans linebacker Darnell Jackson said. "We have a lot of work to do."
For the second week in a row, the Knights defense stuffed the run. Evans allowed 14 rushing yards on 25 carries. A week earlier, Evans limited Westside to 44 yards rushing.
Evans' defense lost nine starters, Jackson said, from the 2007 squad. Defensive end Nigel Charles, one of two returners, posted three sacks against Josey, giving him five for the past two games.
"The defense is playing well," Coach Jackson said, "and we needed them to."
Evans running back Jonathan Finch carried the ball 24 times for 173 yards, including 109 in the second half. His 18-yard TD run with less than 4 minutes remaining helped seal the win.
The game was played at Evans, but it was deemed a home game for Josey. The Eagles were forced to move their home game -- thus making it an away game -- because the Richmond County school system didn't have enough security to staff five games Friday night.
It was a decided disadvantage for the Eagles, who started the game without their band and with just 15 fans on their side of the stadium.
Still, Josey had its opportunities. The Eagles twice marched inside the 10 and came away empty.
"We had our chances," Josey coach Barney Chavous said. "We just didn't capitalize on them."
The Eagles showed life midway through the third quarter. Jamie Galvin's 31-yard field goal gave Evans a 10-0 lead. But on the ensuing kickoff, Josey's Courtney Clark shot down the right sideline and appeared to break free for a touchdown. Jackson ran him down on the 3, stopping Clark after a 66-yard return. But the Knights defense kept Josey out of the end zone.
"That effort he made to stop him on the (3-yard) line, that was huge," said Jackson, the coach.
"I just didn't give up," said Jackson, who made up a 20-yard deficit to catch Clark. "I just wanted the man with the ball."
The game remained tight until Josey jumped offsides on a third-and-4 play late in the game. Finch then broke off left guard, hurdled a defender at the 5 and got into the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown run.
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