“Right now, it’s Dane’s football team.”
Those were the words of Head Coach Orlondo Steinauer upon learning that star quarterback Jeremiah Masoli would miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL.
Next man up as the saying goes.
For the Ticats, Dane Evans is that next man, and he’s someone who the coaching staff has a lot of faith in.
“He can make all the throws on the field. He’s mobile enough where he can keep you off guard.” Said Coach Steinauer. “He doesn’t have any problem stepping up in the pocket and delivering a throw. I’ve seen him stand in there and take a hit. He’s a tough guy and he’s competitive. He’ll keep coming at you.”
Evans was born in Oklahoma but moved to Texas at the age of six. This is where his love of football began. From there, he would attend Sanger high school in Texas and then play his college ball at the University of Tulsa.
After spending training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles, Evans signed with the Ticats in October 2017. Since then Evans has rocketed up the depth chart, outlasting a number of quarterbacks. Including some high profile imports.
With his contract up after last season, he had the opportunity to test free agency, but ultimately decided to remain in Hamilton, even though there was no guarantee of playing time.
“I felt wanted and I wanted to be here.” Evans said of why he chose Hamilton. “I love this city, everything about it. They love their football here. It’s kind of like being back home.” Said Evans.
Speaking of being back home, Evans said he was looking forward to the tough crowd Saskatchewan might provide, pointing some of his past experiences in hostile environments.
“It’s going to be awesome. It’s just another element to the game.” Said Evans of the atmosphere he was expecting from the crowd at Mosaic. “We had good crowds at Tulsa at home and on the road and then with Texas high school football, I’ve been playing in front of those kind of crowds for a while. I’m really excited, it’s going to be a good environment.”
Ahead of last week’s game, offensive co-ordinator Tommy Condell said he planned to keep the offence the same, however he did say that he does need to try and tailor towards Evans’ strengths a little bit.
Evans got off to a rocky start in the game last week. The Ticats elected to take a shot deep for Mike Jones on their first offensive play. However the ball was thrown into the wind which resulted in it being underthrown, allowing Loucheiz Purifoy to pick it off. Not exactly the start Evans was hoping for, but he showed great resiliency and was able to get his team back into the lead in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, Cody Fajardo was able to scramble to the pylon and find the end zone in the last minute of the game and the Riders took home the 24-19 victory.
Even without their leading receiver, and with starting running back, Maleek Irons, seemingly getting injured on the first play of the game, Dane Evans had the Ticats in the game in the dying seconds in a hostile environment.
He also posted respectable numbers, throwing for 196 yards on 65% passing. He also threw a touchdown to Anthony Coombs who made a beautiful toe touch catch in the end zone.
Evans will make his first career start at Tim Hortons Field on Saturday at 7 p.m. against the BC Lions. The Tigertown faithful will be hoping he picks up his first career win, and helps the team improve to 6-2 on the season.