Liberty’s Sam Evans is having a phenomenal start to his senior football season. The wide receiver has 19 receptions for 380 yards and six touchdowns through four games, proving to be an integral part of the Lions’ 3-1 start to the season.
Evans, whose Lions are also 2-0 in Carroll County play and will host Winters Mill at 6:30 p.m. Friday, recently spoke to the Carroll County Times about his season and the group of seniors hoping to lead Liberty to a playoff run.
(Editor’s note: Questions and answers have been edited for clarity):
Q: You guys have been putting up some big numbers, getting some big wins. What’s been driving the success?
A: Coming off two rough seasons the past two years, we had a lot of sophomores on varsity two years ago, so we have that whole group that are now seniors. We knew Walkersville was going to be a big game to start. We were preparing for that all summer. We came out against Walkersville and got a big win, 34-14 — that was a big win. But then we had Boys’ Latin and fell, 21-20. That was pretty rough. I think we got too high after a big win over Walkersville, but that definitely humbled us. These last two weeks, practices have been much better, all the seniors are together leading the younger guys. We’ve had two great team wins.
Through three weeks you were leading the county in receiving. Is that something you were expecting or knew you were capable of?
I never really like to pay attention to stats that much; they get in your head a lot. But I do have high expectations for myself. But at the end of the day, I’d much rather win games, be top of the county and not be the leading receiver, than be the leading receiver and not lead the county. The individual stuff is great, but the team stuff definitely comes first in my mind.
You and quarterback Jack Pellicciotti seem to have a good connection together. How has that developed?
We’ve been friends forever, going back before we even played football. All summer we’ve been working. We went to camps together, college camps together. We even went on a few college visits together. But it’s not just me, all the receivers, we’re one tight-knit group always working together. We’re all really close.
So that even goes back to the backyard football days after school?
For sure, it goes way back to playing rec soccer and travel soccer before we even played football in elementary school. Even cookouts in the backyard doing everything.
How important is it to have that connection where you know what each other’s going to do?
We each know each other’s tendencies. When a play breaks apart, we know each other’s tendencies. He knows my speed, where I can catch a ball; I know his arm talent, his arm strength.
You said this senior class has been playing varsity together since sophomore year and has been together way before that. Has this always been the year you’ve pointed to?
We thought last year was really going to be the year. We had our senior running back last year, Tommy Nelson. He was extremely talented and we thought that was going to be the year. It didn’t turn out that way. But after last season, that motivated us a lot. Over the summer, we’re looking and saying, “Wow, all these guys are getting much stronger.” Then we thought, “This could be the year. We can make something happen.” We haven’t done it yet, but we have that capability.
Do you play any other sports besides football?
In the past, I played baseball, but this past year instead of baseball I ran track in the spring. And I also play basketball.
How much does track help you?
I definitely think it helped me, just with explosiveness and the power in my legs. It helped my running form. Running routes, I feel stronger in my hips and my hamstrings.
So who’s your Super Bowl pick this year?
I want to say my Ravens, but I got a sleeper team: the Dolphins. I think they can pull something off.
You really think Tua [Tagovailoa] can do it?
Without [Jaylen] Waddle and Tyreek [Hill], I don’t think he could, but with them two, as long they stay healthy, they can do it.
So out of the entire Liberty football roster, who would win a Madden video game tournament?
Luke Collins is a big video game guy, so either Luke Collins or Bryan McLauglin, one of our seniors.
Who on your team you think will make the best coach one day?
Definitely Jack. Jack, just seeing him coach our backup quarterback now, he’s good with teaching mechanics. I think he’ll be a good coach one day.
You said you had these cookouts, if there’s a big team cookout, who do you not want anywhere near the grill?
Ethan Crosby, easy.
What song gets the team fired up? What are you listening to in the locker room before taking the field?
Probably “Dreams and Nightmares” by Meek Mill. That’s a popular one. Then “In the Air Tonight,” by Phil Collins is a good one. And sometimes Luke Collins will be getting chants ready. He’ll get us hyped without any music.