Matanzas quarterback Dakwon Evans said his learning curve is built on trust — trusting the process and trusting his team.
Head football coach Matt Forrest would also like to see the junior trust his arm a little more.
Evans threw two first-half touchdown passes and then ran for three more scores as the Pirates hammered Pine Ridge 42-0 in their season opener on Aug. 25 at the Ship.
“Kwon's in that limbo right now where he has more trust in his feet than he does his arm. And he needs to trust his arm more than he does his feet,” Forrest said. “And so that's going to be the next big thing in his progression.”
Evans and the Pirates will have a better gauge of their progress when they host Tocoi Creek on Friday, Sept. 2.
The Toros defeated Beachside, a first-year school, 36-19 in their opener.
“We're going to have a strong test,” Forrest said. “St. Johns County teams are always really well disciplined. From our standpoint, every week gets harder. When we talk about this mountain that we're trying to climb here and trying to become a program that's relevant, trying to get to that state championship caliber level, no step gets easier.”
Cole Hash, who caught a 62-yard touchdown pass and intercepted a pass against Pine Ridge, said Matanzas had an abbreviated week of practice leading up to the game because of rain and lightning.
“We tried to work as hard we could no matter what the circumstance, because nobody cares either way whether we had a full week of practice or got one day in.” Hash said. “So, we just banded together and got the job accomplished.”
“From our standpoint, every week gets harder. When we talk about this mountain that we're trying to climb here and trying to become a program that's relevant, trying to get to that state championship caliber level, no step gets easier.”
— MATT FORREST
Jordan Mills caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Evans to open the scoring in the first quarter. The Pirates made it 14-0 in the second quarter when Hash put a move on his defender to get wide open. Evans hit Hash in the chest, and the Pirates’ Swiss Army Knife ran untouched into the end zone for the 62-yard reception.
“When I saw him come open, I was like, wow. I got hyped, and I just threw it,” Evans said. “I trusted him. It's all about trust. You've got to trust the team. That’s one of the big things I'm working on, trusting the team, trusting the process.”
Forrest was pleased with the execution.
“I told Kwon, sometimes those are the hardest throws to make, the one when they're wide open,” Forrest said. “And Coach (Kyle) Johnson, our wide receivers coach, came on the headset and said, they’re also the hardest to catch.”
Evans scored on runs of 41 and 17 yards to put Matanzas up 28-0 at halftime. He added another 17-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that was set up by Luke Doner’s blocked punt. That score triggered a running clock. Zach Furey added a 5-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
All three of Evans’ touchdown runs came on scrambles. While Forrest would have liked Evans to stay in the pocket longer, Hash said the quarterback is getting more comfortable with his throws.
“Just him being able to hit me with that ball gave him that confidence that he needed to just let the ball rip,” Hash said. “He also threw a great ball to me in the end zone. I just didn't come down with it.”
Said Forrest, “I think this was his just his 12th game playing quarterback, so he's still young and still feeling things out. He knows the offense. It’s just getting him to take the next step.”