With the game on the line late, Evans defensive tackle Kyle Henderson and his teammates knew who was going to get the ball.
It was just a matter of stopping Richmond Academy quarterback Drek Reid.
Evans twice held Reid at the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter, and the visiting Knights rode their big-play defense to a season-opening 9-5 win over the Musketeers on Friday.
Evans limited Richmond Academy (0-1) and its spread attack to just three points in four red-zone trips. The Musketeers, who had a touchdown called back because of holding, failed to punch it in twice inside the 10.
Reid led Richmond Academy's rushing attack with 126 yards on 33 carries. He also went 5-for-16 passing for 66 yards with an interception.
With the Musketeers having three shots to take the lead from Evans' 2-yard line with less than six minutes remaining, Reid managed just a single yard. On second down, he scrambled left and stretched for the goal line, coming up short. On third down from the 1, Reid failed to score off left guard. Then on fourth down, the Knights stuffed Reid's rushing attempt up the middle.
"We already kind of guessed who was going to get it," Henderson said. "We just kind of keyed in on him."
Senior defensive tackle Devante England, who Knights coach Marty Jackson said weighs nearly 400 pounds, helped plug the gap in the middle. That's an advantage Evans will have all year.
"It's going to be tough to move him," Jackson said.
Evans' offense generated just 166 total yards and eight first downs. The Knights (1-0) scored on one of their two red-zone trips, Will Scott's 5-yard scoring run in the first half was the difference.
"It wasn't pretty," Jackson said. "But there's nothing wrong with an ugly win."
The game featured two safeties and a slew of penalties on each side.
After a safety gave the Knights the early momentum, Scott returned the kickoff 30 yards. Then, Michael Gaines hauled in a 36-yard reception over the middle from Glenn Cassedy. Three plays later, Scott punched it in to give Evans a 9-0 lead.
Richmond Academy responded late in the first half with a 22-yard Joseph Ardrey field goal. On three second-half drives, the Musketeers rolled up 142 yards of offense but no points.
In the shadow of its own end zone late in the game on fourth down, Evans intentionally hiked the ball out of the end zone for a safety rather than punt. Richmond Academy started its final drive on its own 41 with 2:26 remaining. But the Musketeers were called for holding on first down and never threatened to score.
"With our offensive power, we know we should've won," Richmond Academy coach Chris Hughes said. "But give Marty and Evans all the credit. They outplayed us."
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