Missed opportunities proved costly for the Evarts Wildcats in a 24-8 loss to Williamsburg in the Mountain Middle Athletic Conference championship game Saturday at Cumberland.
Evarts (7-2) drove inside the 20 four times but only came up with one touchdown, a 10-yard run by Christian Boggs in the second quarter.
The Wildcats also had a safety in the third as Jordan Howard made a tackle in the end zone.
It was the best finish for the Wildcats since the Mountain Middle Athletic Conference was formed.
“These kids play with a lot of heart, and no matter how the odds are stacked against them they never give up,” Evarts coach Justin Luttrell said. “People didn’t expect us to even make the play offs and here we stood in the championship game. I told my boys today, it’s not over yet we still have something to prove in the state playoffs.”
Evarts opens the state playoffs on Saturday, traveling to Prestonsburg to play Adams at 5 p.m. New Harlan will play host to the Hazard/Paintsville winner in another first-round game at the James A. Cawood field.
Mountain View won the fifth- and sixth-grade playoffs, defeating Cumberland 6-0 on Saturday at Cumberland after downing Evarts 14-8 in the semifinals Thursday.
Quarterback Tyler Osborne scored on a 10-yard run in the fourth quarter to break a scoreless tie and sent the Bears to the title.
Wyatt Hensley had two touchdowns in the win over Evarts, one on a pass from Osborne.
Jayden Ward scored for Evarts on a 65-yard run in the third quarter. He also added the two-point conversion.
Evarts, the defending league champ, ended the season at 6-2.
“My boys played hard till the very end,” Evarts coach Ryan Sawyers said. “They never quit. That’s what us coaches have taught them all season us to never give up. I’m very proud.”
Cumberland advanced to the finals with a 14-0 win over Lynn Camp on Thursday at Cumberland. Donovan Simmons and Jonah Swanner had touchdowns for the Redskins.