By Gary Lloyd
CLAY — Teachers at Clay-Chalkville High School sometimes email head football coach Jerry Hood, to tell him what a great job certain players are doing in class.
Hood during the last football season got one of those emails, praising junior Mekail Evans, the teacher explaining that the 5-foot-9, 195-pound inside linebacker who wore No. 30 on his jersey was a pleasure to teach.
“That’s the one memory that I thought about (Wednesday) all day,” Hood said.
Evans died earlier this week. On Tuesday night, he was in the shower at home after working out at the YMCA. The family heard a thud come from the bathroom.
“He had apparently had complications due to an enlarged heart,” Hood said. “That’s what the coroner is telling us.”
Hood said he got a message from Evans’ mother about midnight Tuesday. He was at the hospital with the family in the wee hours Wednesday morning.
“A very sad situation,” Hood said.
Evans had been in the Clay-Chalkville football program since the seventh grade. Last season as a junior, Evans was ninth on the Clay-Chalkville defense with 23 tackles. He totaled three tackles for loss. Hood said Evans was going to be “heavily counted on” this year and probably had an athletic future at a small college.
Rising senior defensive end Kendall Jones said he and his teammates used to joke around and laugh with Evans in the locker room.
“Everybody on the team is his brother and we have lost one but we are going to do big things this year in honor of our brother,” Jones said.
Hood said Evans seemed at his happiest in the last year. He called him a “tough kid and tough player” who routinely finished first in workouts and drills.
A memorial fund has been established through Regions Bank to help with unexpected costs the family will incur. A candlelight vigil is set for 7 p.m. on the field at Cougar Stadium.
“I just can’t say enough good things about the kid,” Hood said. “He was one of my favorites to coach.”
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.