By Marty Gordon
Tanner Evans rushed 193 times for 1,467 yards with 12 touchdowns this season as a multi-purpose player for the Christiansburg High School football team. He also passed 38 of 73 yards for 696 yards with another 13 scores as he led the Blue Demons all the way to the state Class 3 state semi-finals.
Christiansburg stretched a 10-win season deeper than they have ever been in the past 12 years before losing to Heritage.
Evans was a big part of the success as everything ran through him on both sides of the ball with him typically not coming off the field for offense, defense and special teams. Thus, he has been given the unofficial title of “Swiss Army knife.” All not bad for a youngster who just turned 16-years-old during the last week of the season. He started eight games at quarterback and another five at tailback.
For his effort, Evans has been named the 2022 all-county, all-city offensive player of the year.
The junior football player has worn the #4 jersey number for the past two seasons with a little unknown reason. It has special meaning for Evans as the number belonged to Ashlyn Poole, a CHS volleyball and softball player who was killed in a tragic 2018 auto accident.
“She and my sister Madelyn were best friends so I thought it would be a fitting way to remember her when I take the field,” Evans said.
The all-around athlete has also garnered some admiration from a little three-year-old little boy. Kash Lewis, whose father is a track coach and teacher at CHS, always high-fives players as they come on the field and when they leave.
But from Day 1, Evans has stopped and given the youngster some special attention. Kash knows the QB by name and definitely recognizes him on the field even when watching a game on television.
The “awe” effect was caught on camera by several people after the team’s second home game.
Evans said it’s like Kash is his best friend, and it’s kind of cool as he looks up to him.
The football player admits he really did not want to play quarterback this season, instead favoring his tailback position.
Coach Alex Wilkens said Evans could probably play on the offensive line or receiver if asked upon. “He is just that gifted of an athlete. He is a talented player,” he said.
Evans is also an outstanding baseball player and is leaning on trying to play the sport in college. This year’s success on the football field has brought some inquiries from several football programs, he says football is secondary to baseball.
Looking ahead to his senior season, Evans believes the team and program can take the next step next year. “The Christiansburg program is still coming up, and I think we will have more progression next year,” he concluded.