Evans and the others relish being people others look up to, remembering not that long ago that they were the ones looking up.
Shane Evans, a 2014 Prairie Ridge graduate who now plays on the offensive line at Purdue, began showing promise while in elementary school when he was playing with the Crystal Lake Raiders, then the Junior Wolves.
“I was kind of a chubby kid, but I was pretty good at football,” Shane Evans said. “So my dad (Matt) started looking places up (for speed training).”
Shane worked out one year at Regional Sports Center (now the MAC, located north of Crystal Lake off Route 14). The next year, he moved to Davis Speed Center. Soon, Shane had workout buddies like Bennett Tomlin, Danny Giffels and Austin Nirva joining him at Davis.
When Shane and his friends were in high school, Samson and his friends were taking note and starting to work out harder. By the time Samson’s group hit eighth grade, Shane was dragging them along to Davis for training.
As a lineman, Jenkins (pictured above) developed a kindred spirit with Shane Evans and took Shane’s No. 77 his freshman season. Gulbransen was already close with the Evans family as they are cousins. Ommen and Perhats shared that desire to get better and were regulars at Davis as well.
“I noticed in eighth grade how dedicated they were,” Schremp said. “They were working out and lifting and going to Davis Speed Center. You could tell how driven they were to wanting to be good players and really wanting to work. Not only physically, but emotionally all those kids were ready to go early because of the things they did off the field before we even got them.”
The freshmen did not go to the 2014 Wolves’ summer camp at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, but they already had an idea on what level they were playing. Perhats remembers being called into Schremp’s office after the team returned from Carthage.
“The freshman coaches had talked to Jacob and I both about it and gave us a hunch it would probably be happening,” Perhats said. “According to them, we were bigger, stronger and knew the game of football more than the rest of the kids at our level.”
Shane Evans is thrilled the current players found inspiration from he and his friends.
“They saw how much we worked out and how much effort we really put into making ourselves better,” Shane said. “They had it in them from the beginning. They always had a good work ethic and seeing us just motivated them more to do what we did and more, to pass us.”