Prep football: Crim making most of expanded duties with Mohawks

12:20 p.m Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 Journal-News Sports

Evan Crim is happy to pull double duty for Madison High School’s football team.

Just don’t try to make him choose.

“That would be a hard one,” said Crim, a junior halfback and inside linebacker. “I love running the ball, but I love hitting people too. That’s the best part of the game.”

He also loves being part of something special with the Mohawks (9-2), who are enjoying a season of history. They rallied to beat Anna 14-10 last week in their first-ever Division V, Region 20 playoff game, and they’ve got a Week 12 date with Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy at Lakota East.

The Anna win was a mud-caked, joyous event at Madison’s Brandenburg Field.

“It was insane,” Crim said. “Just having the whole community out there supporting us … it was just a feeling I’ll never forget.

“When we were younger, people were always like, ‘Your grade’s going to be the one to try to make a push at this playoff thing.’ So when it actually happened, it was kind of like a relief. But I can’t even describe the feelings that I had.”

And he admitted it took a lengthy shower to rid himself of the never-ending mud.

“Oh man, I was scrubbing,” Crim said. “I was scrubbing for 10, 15 minutes.”

Madison halfback Evan Crim (34) fights for extra yardage during last Friday night’s 14-10 win over visiting Anna in a Division V, Region 20 quarterfinal at Brandenburg Field in Madison Township. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Defensively, he is a member of a linebacking corps that’s been overshadowed by the highly touted junior line of ends Cole Pelgen and Levi McMonigle, nose guard Max Evans and tackle Tanner Limon.

Crim and senior Levi Wilson are the inside linebackers, senior Jacob Spisak and sophomore Jake Phelps are the outside backers, and senior Damon Stepp and junior Kyle Melton help out wherever they’re needed.

“We basically take six guys and play four positions with them,” Mohawks coach Steve Poff said. “For the outside world and people not so close to the program, I think it would be very easy to overlook those guys. But that defensive line isn’t as good if they don’t have good players backing them up. If they had lesser people behind them, their jobs would be a lot harder.

“The linebackers have all been really steady. They all can line up in space and line up inside, and they’re all physical. They don’t miss much. We don’t spend a whole lot of time overcoaching them. We tell them where to line up and what their reads are and let them play. Sometimes it’s not perfect, but if they’re playing with effort, we’ll take that.”

The 6-foot, 190-pound Crim said everything starts defensively on the line.

“They’ve had a wonderful season so far,” he said. “I think (the linebackers) can hold it down in the middle if we just read our keys and do our jobs. We know our rules, and we get after it.”

Crim was a bit of a utility man last season while missing several weeks with an elbow injury. Poff said the only reason he wasn’t starting “was because he was playing behind three-year starters.”

But Crim knew his time would come this year. He’s a significant spoke in Madison’s Wing-T offensive wheel with 657 yards and seven touchdowns on 109 carries. The other halfback, senior Tyler Baumgartner, has 984 rushing yards, while junior fullback Cameron Svarda has a school-record 1,542.

“I’m happy to be in the same name as those guys because they’re having really great seasons,” Crim said. “I just do my job. When I’m asked to block, I block. When I’m asked to run, I run. I just kind of embrace my role.”

CHCA has a lot more playoff experience and is making its eighth straight postseason appearance. The Eagles also blasted the Mohawks 48-6 the last time they played in 2013.

Crim said that’s all irrelevant at Madison.

“I think we’ve got that mind-set of, ‘Why not us?’ ” he said. “We said that last week against Anna, and I think it still stands this week. If we believe in our locker room that we can do anything, I think that’s it.”

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