Wagoner junior running back Lawrence Evitt was ready to carry the burden.
Entering the season, Wagoner was tasked with replacing the playmaking ability of Kevin Peterson, and then running back Devin Hawkins tore his ACL in a scrimmage. That left Evitt, who was going to share carries with Hawkins, as the playmaker.
And did he ever deliver.
Evitt rushed for 2,980 yards and 35 touchdowns — both school records — on 273 carries to earn a spot on The Oklahoman's All-State team.
“I didn't really think I was going to put up that many yards, but I kind of figured that it would come out to be easy for me a little bit,” Evitt said. “Not just easy like they're going to give it to me.
“It really is amazing how I came up with these big numbers.”
Evitt's season has skyrocketed him in the recruiting ranks, garnering interest from Oklahoma, Oregon, Oregon State, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and Kansas State.
Evitt rushed for two school records with 408 yards and six touchdowns in Wagoner's 44-27 victory over Oologah on Oct. 12. In total, he now owns six schools records.
He also had 31 carries for 25 yards or more this season, 15 of which went for 50-plus.
Not too bad of a replacement for Peterson, who was last year's Defensive Player of the Year and is now playing as a freshman defensive back at Oklahoma State.
“It really put the burden on him to carry the load on his own and he more than stepped up the challenge,” Wagoner coach Dale Condict said. “And the more carries we gave him, the better we got.”
Many wondered if Wagoner could replace Peterson, but that seems like a long time ago.
“It wasn't a lot of pressure, but it was like we can do it without Kevin,” Evitt said. “Everybody think we couldn't do it without KP, but I felt like we could do it without Kevin.
“Kevin, he was a wonderful athlete. I loved to play football with him, loved to run track with him and replacing him is a big responsibility to me.”