The return of Arizona legend Byron Evans to Tucson leads to victory

Byron Evans (far left) stands with fellow former Arizona Wildcats (left to right) Julius Holt, Marsharne Graves (the offensive line coach at South Mountain, Jerry Beasley and Reggie Gaddis (Holt photo)

South Mountain Headcoach and former Arizona Wildcat Byron Evans is used to having great success on the Tucson football field.

He can add the 26:20 victory over Tucson High on Friday night in the shadow of the Arizona Stadium – where he was named All-American Linebacker and Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year in 1986 – to his list of football successes in that city .

Evans and the Phoenix South Mountain Jaguars traveled to Tucson to take on the Tucson Badgers and their freshman head coach Richard Sanchezwho began coaching at Sunnyside when Evans was a member of the Philadelphia Eagles’ famous “Gang Green” defense in the early 1990s.

Evans took the job at his alma mater South Mountain High School last year.

Sanchez, # 2 active victories among high school football coaches in southern Arizona at 161 (after 170 from Santa Ritas Tom Joseph), was hired to take over the Badger Football program thereafter Justin Argraves left to accept the position as head coach at Cienega.

Evans was an outstanding linebacker among Larry Smith in Arizona from 1983-1986. At 552, he is second in Arizona history to Tackles, second behind Ricky Hunley.

After his time in Arizona, Evans was drafted in the fourth round of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1987 and occupied the middle linebacker spot in the City of Brotherly Love, where he played with greats like the big ones, for eight years Reggie Whitewhere they were both part of the legendary “46 Defense” named by the coordinator Buddy ryan.

Needless to say, he knows a little about defense.

That was fully on display in the first half and limited the Tucson offensive to just over 100 yards in the first two quarters of the game.

South Mountain came out aggressively after the coin toss, forcing a quick badger punt followed by a long touchdown drive, and hitting the Tucson defense with a running back Billy Watson and quarterback Baily Watson.

South Mountain scores 4th and 1st in a 2-yard run from # 2 Billy Watson. Watson was instrumental in the drive, which lasted over 5 minutes and was 12 games long. Jaguar’s extra point attempt is not a good one. 6-0 Südberg. @AllSportsTucson pic.twitter.com/zkLaA0S1Uh

– Harrison Moreno (@HMorenoNews) September 25, 2021

However, a failed fake punt attempt deep in the Jaguars’ territory gave Tucson a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to place the Badgers at the 1-yard line. After a 1 yard sneak from quarterback 10 Devin Neuman, the Badgers were right back in the game with 5:39 at halftime.

Some confusion by the end of half prevented Tucson from adding any more points, and the result 7-6 Tucson.

The second half created a lot more excitement for those more in love with offensive football.

South Mountain got the kick-off at the second half and marched across the field like their first drive of the game, bringing the ball into the end zone. Evans said after the game that the key to winning those opening drives at the start of the halves was how the Jaguars “believe in each other”.

From then on it was a back and forth battle between the offensives of both teams.

Each offensive seemed to find more rhythm in the second half, and the lead of both quarterbacks, Neuman for Tucson and Watson for South Mountain, helped make both offensives more successful.

The first pass touchdown came towards the end of the third quarter when Watson found Isaiah Hubbart for a 13 yard touchdown pass to make it 18-13 in South Mountain’s favor.

After a defensive stop on a subsequent Tucson Drive, which resulted in an interception in the end zone of Wishes thomas of South Mountain, his second of the game, South Mountain finished the night with a 57-yard run of Jaylen Hickaby to ice the game 26-13.

Tucson would get a late game touchdown to bring it within 6 but couldn’t get the ball back on the side kick. South Mountain could kneel down the clock.

“Everyone fought, everyone played well and we’re just happy about the win,” said Evans after the game.

Tucson High (0-3) is scheduled to play at Rincon / University High School next Friday, while South Mountain (2-1) will face Phoenix Sunnyslope.

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