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Eveld shines in season of progression

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Tue. November 8, 2011 | Joey Knight | Email

Eveld shines in season of progression

His role lies somewhere between caretaker and catalyst of Jesuit's offense. First-year QB Tommy Eveld understands that. Each week, it's about making a few big plays and minimizing the botched ones.

"We're not asking him to win the game for us," said Jesuit coach James Harrell, whose team seeks its 12th consecutive triumph against rival Tampa Catholic on Thursday. "We're asking him to just manage it."

Therein lies a significant progression for the 6-foot-4 senior.

Less than two months ago, Eveld simply was trying to manage his disillusionment.

After flourishing all summer in seven-on-seven action, Eveld was demoted to second team when Harrell determined fellow senior Aaron Paulsen was a more mobile fit in Jesuit's power running scheme. Paulsen started the first two games and had modest success before tearing a knee ligament in Game Three.

Enter Eveld, who has evolved into a model of efficiency (60.2-percent completion rate) and leadership for the Tigers (8-1), who finished 8-0 in Class 5A, District 8.

"(The demotion) definitely made me tougher, I know that," Eveld said.

"I know for a fact that I handle adversity a lot better now, so when something doesn't go the way that I was planning, I kind of know that, whatever it is, it's probably not going to be as bad as almost losing what I would say is my whole future."

A cerebral combination of height and heredity (his brother, Bobby, is USF's backup QB), Eveld likely would be throwing a minimum 25 times a game in a spread offense. As it stands, he has had only four games of 20 or more attempts.

But the results are difficult to argue. Jesuit has run for 1,420 yards and thrown for 1,562. In the process, Eveld has thrown only five picks, and drawn interest from the likes of Ole Miss, Cincinnati and USF.

"He's done a great job progressing," Harrell said. "The run game has helped him a lot. ... He's learned to take what the defenses give him and is not trying to force things."

Thursday night, in the eighth start of his varsity career, Eveld again will try to navigate that fine line between being too passive and too pass-happy.

"(Harrell) says don't go out and win the game for us, and he tells me to manage the game," Eveld says with a smile, "but it's like the under-the-table way of saying, 'You're responsible for this game.'"

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