Whitewright's Evans picks Wayland Baptist

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat
Whitewright's Reilly Evans signs to play football for Wayland Baptist.

WHITEWRIGHT — Reilly Evans started in both of his seasons with the Tigers. As a senior he started on both sides of the ball and served as a captain.

He made an impact when he was on the football field to go with his influence in the locker room — two things that he hoped to continue at the next level.

“That was always my goal,” he said. “I always felt like I had the chance to play in college.”

It was a goal he was able to reach as Evans signed with Wayland Baptist University.

He chose the NAIA program over the University of Saint Mary.

“I fell in love with the ‘W.” I love it there and it was a place I could see spending the whole four years there,” said Evans, who spent his first two years of high school at Maypearl. “The coaches were really great. I know they are going to push me. It’s a great fit for me.”

Evans finished his senior season with 76 total tackles, 14 for a loss, to go with a pair of sacks, two pass break-ups and an interception in nine games at inside linebacker.

He also contributed 41 catches for 499 yards and four touchdowns at wide receiver.

Evans was a first-team all-district selection on offense and a second-team all-district choice on defense.

“Wayland said that if I wanted to try out at wide receiver I could,” Evans said.

Whitewright finished with a 5-5 record overall and a 2-4 mark in District 8-3A (II) play after it had to forfeit its final game of the season because of COVID-19 protocols. If the Tigers had won against Leonard, they would have advanced to the playoffs but instead finished tied for fifth place and a game out of the last spot that went to Leonard.

“It was out of nowhere. It happened so fast,” Evans said. “It never felt real until that Friday at 7:30 p.m. when we weren’t out there. It’s not something we talk about ever.”

As a junior he spent almost all of his time on defense and had 117 tackles, 12 for a loss, with three fumble recoveries, four pass break-ups and two interceptions in helping the Tigers reach the playoffs, where he returned one of those interceptions for a touchdown. It was the program's first postseason berth in three years and Whitewright had more victories than the previous two seasons combined.

“When I was younger I was a quarterback and I think that helped me understand offenses more while playing defense,” Evans said. “I didn’t have to worry about anything but hitting somebody and getting the ball.”

He was also a second-team all-district selection in helping the basketball team reach the third round of the playoffs, a place it hadn’t been since 2015.

Wayland Baptist, which restarted the football program with the 2012 season, went 2-5 overall and 1-4 in the Sooner Athletic Conference during a shortened season split across the fall and spring because of COVID-19. In 2019 the Pioneers went 4-6 and 3-5 in conference action. The program had a .500 record in 2018 and last had a winning mark in 2016.