Just three days after suffering a season-ending ankle injury, junior DeShawn Evans was back at the practice field supporting his teammates on the Westland High School football team.
It's that attitude that has helped Evans emerge as a popular team leader.
Evans, who was in his second season as the Cougars' starting quarterback, suffered a broken right ankle on his team's second offensive play from scrimmage in a 41-28 loss at Franklin Heights on Sept. 15.
"DeShawn has had a great attitude," coach Kyle Goebbel said.
"He was very upset on the field and he came back after going to the hospital and saw the team. He's definitely trying to keep a great attitude about it. He was at practice (Sept. 18). He was on crutches and all booted up."
The injury occurred after Evans scrambled for a short gain up the middle. He immediately knew something was wrong.
"I felt a few pops in my ankle and I couldn't move," he said. "I had to wait for everybody to come out there. I was getting held up by one dude and another dude just dove straight into my leg and got caught underneath him and it was all bad."
Evans sustained three broken bones and a torn ligament and underwent surgery Sept. 19. He visited practice Sept. 20 and planned on being on the sidelines when the Cougars visited Canal Winchester on Sept. 21.
"It's unfortunate, but I just have to get through it and look forward to what's next," Evans said.
Sophomore Tyquwone Workman replaced Evans at quarterback and passed for 229 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
"(Workman is) a sophomore and he has a lot of confidence in himself," Goebbel said. "He knew he was fighting for a job with DeShawn, but DeShawn had a whole year of experience on him, but he definitely has the tools to be a very good quarterback."
Workman was expected to start against Canal Winchester.
"Me and (Workman) have worked side-by-side the whole season," Evans said. "I just want to help him out and help him do the best job he can."
For the season, Evans completed 29 of 68 passes for 292 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions.
"I just feel terrible for him," Goebbel said. "He started 13 straight games for us. He's hung in there through a lot of tough times and was really working his butt off. He's also a really good basketball player, if not one of the best basketball players in our school, and I also feel terrible about that."
Evans said doctors indicated he would be out eight to 10 weeks. He hopes to return to the basketball court by mid- to late-December.
"I can't wait," he said.
Rob Hayes, who attended the Franklin Heights game, is preparing for his first season as boys basketball coach.
"I told him the first thing you do is listen to the doctors, you rehab as well as you can and you wait until you're 110 percent to come back because there's nothing worse than rushing something coming back and making it worse," Hayes said.
"We're not sure where his future goes, but he has one in a couple of different areas if he wants it, so right now it's about getting him healthy."
Matt Bailey led the Cougars in rushing through four games with 181 yards and one touchdown on 38 carries. Daunte Campbell led in receiving with 17 catches for 178 yards and three scores.
Westland, which is 1-4 after losing to Canal Winchester 24-14 on Sept. 21, opens OCC-Central Division play Friday, Sept. 29, at home against Upper Arlington.
The Golden Bears are 2-3 after losing to Pickerington Central 41-7 on Sept. 22. They managed just 179 total yards in a 26-0 loss to Westerville South on Sept. 15.
"We always know that we're in the best league in central Ohio, if not in Ohio, and we start with Upper Arlington, which is a great program," Goebbel said. "It's exciting to play them."
Boys cross country
The boys cross country team continues to make progress as it prepares for the postseason.
The Cougars finished sixth (157 points) of 14 teams behind champion Watterson (46) in the Arrowhead Invitational on Sept. 20 at Whetstone. George Reyes was 13th in 18 minutes, 19 seconds to lead Westland.
The girls team did not have enough runners for a team score.
Aja Nathans finished seventh (22:12).
The boys finished second (60) of six teams in the Shin Splint Invitational on Sept. 16 at home behind champion Whetstone (20). Manny Rojas led the Cougars, finishing 10th (19:07) of 57 runners.
Reyes was 11th (19:09), followed by Kevin Reyes (12th, 19:22), Billy Holland (13th, 19:22.6), Timmy Wotring (19th, 20:53.9) and Connor Milligan (20th, 20:55.9).
The girls did not have enough runners for a team score. Nathans was second (23:32.9) and Bethony Fay was 11th (27:20.2) of 26 runners.
Girls volleyball team
earns first league win
The girls volleyball team is looking to build on its first OCC-Central win of the season.
The Cougars defeated Central Crossing 26-24, 20-25, 25-21, 25-16 on Sept. 19 and were 3-11 overall before playing Hilliard Darby on Sept. 21. They are 1-4 in the OCC-Central.
"We are getting better with each match we play," coach Nicole Zumpano said.
"We are excited to start the second round of conference play and really start surprising people."
Zumpano said the strong play of middle hitters Joan Kowal and Hannah Walls has been key to the team's progress.
Below are the coming schedules for the Westland cross country, boys golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 30 -- Pickerington North Invitational
Sept. 26 -- Franklin Heights at Mentel Memorial
*Sept. 26 -- Home vs. Upper Arlington
Sept. 28 -- Home vs. Columbus Academy
Sept. 30 -- Home vs. Dublin Scioto
Sept. 23 -- Home vs. Grandview
*Sept. 26 -- At UA
Sept. 26 -- Home vs. Hamilton Township
Sept. 28 -- Home vs. Teays Valley
*Sept. 26 -- At Marysville. The Cougars lost to the Monarchs 25-12, 25-21, 25-19 on Sept. 5.
Sept. 27- At London
*Sept. 28 -- Home vs. Dublin Coffman. The Cougars lost to the Shamrocks 25-8, 25-7, 25-4 on Sept. 7.