By Gary Lloyd
CLAY — A Class 6A state championship would have meant a lot to Mekail Evans.
Evans was a junior linebacker at Clay-Chalkville High School when he died in April. He was in the shower at home after working out at the YMCA when he apparently suffered complications due to an enlarged heart.
There was a lot of outpouring of support for Evans’ family from the Clay-Chalkville community, student body and football team. Evans, who wore No. 30 on his jersey, had been in the Clay-Chalkville football program since seventh grade. A candlelight vigil was held for him.
In 2013 as a junior, Evans was ninth on the Clay-Chalkville defense with 23 tackles. He totaled three tackles for loss.
Senior defensive end Kendell Jones said at the time of Evans’ death that “we are going to do big things this year in honor of our brother.” Clay-Chalkville has done just that, with one more game to win to finish off a perfect season, a championship season.
No. 1 Clay-Chalkville (14-0) faces No. 3 Saraland (13-1) on Friday at 7 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn. The winner will be the Class 6A champion.
“He’s always on our minds,” senior running back Art Smith said. “He would love to be with us, playing with us. It would mean so much to him, to us, to the whole community.”
Jones said he called Evans “Mack Truck.” He said team members keep him on their minds all the time. When the Cougars take the field before each game, two players always carry out his No. 30 jersey.
“Got to represent,” said senior cornerback Kam Prewitt, who knew Evans since his freshman year. “He’s one of us.”
Head coach Jerry Hood said his team learned a lot from Evans’ death. They learned about life and that winning isn’t the main focus. How could a state championship — or any win — matter more than a life? It doesn’t.
“We don’t ever forget him,” Hood said.
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.