Preps Talk

Why Prairie Ridge's Samson Evans is Edgy Tim's IHSA Football Player of the Year

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Why Prairie Ridge's Samson Evans is Edgy Tim's IHSA Football Player of the Year

My 2016 State of Illinois Player of the Year?

Say hello to Prairie Ridge junior quarterback Samson Evans, one of the state's most dominant football players on the field and one of the most humble and down-to Earth kids off it.

How down to Earth?

"All of his success this season just doesn't faze him," said Prairie Ridge head coach Chris Schremp. "Samson still doesn't realize how good he is."

Evans, playing in a era of hype and flash, was simply all substance in 2016. While so many others talk, Evans just simply let's his play on the field speak for him.

Much like last year's 2015 Player of the Year, then-Glenbard West and now-Wisconsin running back Sam Brodner, everyone who saw Prairie Ridge knew Evans would carry the football.

Everyone.

Evans was a marked man on literally every snap he took in 2016, yet still found a way to average nearly a first down every time he touched the football. Evans took hit after hit and never backed down. You might stop him for a short gain, then a play or two later he would be running downfield untouched for one of his 43 touchdown runs.

Evans, who led the Wolves' power option running attack, ran for 2,211 yards and 43 touchdowns and averaged a sick 9.6 yards per carry. Evans also completed 29 of 52 passes (yes, Prairie Ridge can and will pass the football) for 815 yards and 13 touchdowns. Strong numbers? Certainly, yet as the case in many Player of the Year winners, stats alone don't tell the entire story.

Prairie Ridge scored an amazing 701 points in 2016, and at one point had 10 straight games of putting up a running clock (40-point lead) on its opponents. That same running clock streak also stretched into the postseason as the Wolves accomplished the feat in each of the first three rounds of the Class 6A state playoffs. Their blowout win in the 6A state title game came by a mere 31 points. Evans ran for 274 yards - a 6A state-title record - and four touchdowns.

Imagine Evans' overall stats in 2016 if he played in more than just four games where he was still playing on the field in the fourth quarter. Yes, Evans was able to play in just four full games all season long and was pulled in most games by the middle of the third quarter.

How can anyone be expected to pick this humble, hard working and somewhat quiet kid off the field as anyone's Player of the Year?

It's simple.

Samson Evans from start to finish was simply the best player in the State of Illinois in 2016.

Evans reminded me of a combination of former EDGYTIM.com Player of the Year Tom Zbikowski (Buffalo Grove/Notre Dame/Baltimore Ravens) and pre-EDGYTIM.com standout QB Antwaan Randle El (Thornton Township/Indiana/Pittsburgh Steelers).

Evans showed the combination of speed/power/determination and work ethic of Zbikowski, mixed in along with the God-given athletic skills start/stop/burst/wiggle/first step and break away ability of an Randle El.

Yes, those are some big names and high praise. No, I'm not saying Evans is in that league. At least not just yet.

What I am saying is that Samson Evans in 2016 was simply in a class by himself.

100 Days to Kickoff Countdown

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USA Today

100 Days to Kickoff Countdown

High school football is right around the corner, sports fans.

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30. That night also represents the season premiere of High School Lites, 11:00 p.m. on NBCSCH.

In case you missed any of our previews, here is our rundown:

100 – Wed. May 22: Andrew

99 – Thu. May 23: 

98 – Fri. May 24: 

97 – Sat. May 25: 

96 – Sun May 26: 

95 – Mon. May 27: 

94 – Tue. May 28: 

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1 – Thu. Aug. 29:

 

100 Days to Kickoff: Andrew

100 Days to Kickoff: Andrew

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Victor J. Andrew Thunderbolts

Head coach: Adam Lewandowski

Assistant coaches: James Ramazinski, Gary Young, Tommy McGinnis, Eric Tanquilut, Joe Cesario, Patrick Wertz and Quinn Holler.

How they fared in 2018: 6-4 (5-3 Southwest Suburban); Andrew made the Class 7A state playoff field and lost to eventual state champion Nazareth Academy in opening round action. 

2019 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 31 @ Kewauskum WI
Sept. 6 vs Oak Forest
Sept. 13 @ Homewood-Flossmoor
Sept. 20 @ Lincoln-Way West
Sept. 27 vs Stagg
Oct. 4 @ Bradley-Bourbonnais
Oct. 11 vs Lincoln-Way Central
Oct. 18 vs Lockport
Oct. 25 @ Bolingbrook

Biggest storyline: After finishing back-to-back seasons with 6-4 records, can Andrew take the next big step in going deeper into the IHSA state football playoffs?

Names to watch this season: RB/DB John Bickel, OL/DL Adam Wisistorfer and S/OLB Joe DeHaan

Biggest holes to fill: The T-Bolts will need to replace seven graduated starters-- four of them one the offensive line. 

EDGY's Early Take: The T-Bolts, under third-year head coach Adam Lewandowski, have made back-to-back playoff appearances. Can Andrew keep up the program's positive momentum this fall? That should be the case of defense, as seven starters are back on that side of the ball. If Andrew can get answers at a few key spots (QB/OL), look for them to challenge for a state playoff spot this fall for the third consecutive year.