The Evans Knights certainly did not want their season to end in round one of the playoffs. They were a perfect 10-0 in the regular season and won a region title for just the third time in school history.
Evans picked a bad time to have its worst performance of the year. The normally turnover-free Knights could not hang on to the ball in a surprising 36-10 loss to Mt. Zion-Jonesboro.
People around the state will claim that the weak 3-AAAA region was exposed in round one. That is partly right. Region 3-AAAA was definitely one of the weaker regions in Georgia, but the Evans game was a bit of a fluke. The Knights had only six turnovers all year, but they coughed up the ball six times against Mt. Zion.
Throw in star tailback Jonathan Finch leaving the game early with an injury, and it is easy to see why the Knights lost. The Knights' record might have been inflated with Butler and Cross Creek being down this year, but the Knights were still a very solid team.
There weren't many regions that could post a No. 5 team as good as Lakeside. The bottom line is the Knights should be extremely proud of what they have done the past two seasons. In all, they went 19-4 with a region title and a playoff win.
They Knights galvanized a community hungry for gridiron success. In the 18 seasons from 1983-2000, the Knights were an impressive 105-57-1. They had only four losing seasons in that span.
After Jim Connor retired in 2000, however, the program went downhill. From 2000-2006, Evans was dismal and managed just one winning season.
A 10-1 mark this season is even more impressive considering the Knights had seven players from their 2007 team sign college scholarships. Their star tailback, Finch, and their heady quarterback, Troy Griffith, will be back next season.
So, while this week's loss is probably hurting quite a bit, coach Marty Jackson and his talented staff helped restore pride to a program that was reeling, and they brought plenty of joy to their fans along the way.
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