Boo Time: Childhood events have stuck with Evans

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Oct. 16, 2007 - DaQualin Evans received two valuable things from his aunt - his nickname and a necklace.

Evans, a senior receiver for the Sulphur Springs Wildcats, was given the nickname "Boo" when he was a baby. The necklace, which commemorates his late father, he received a few years ago.

Evans wears the necklace, which has a picture of his father, Chris Johnson, and his football number, 44, to inspire him, though he is hesitant to talk in depth about it. His father was killed when Evans was two months old.

As far as his nickname, Evans doesn't know how he earned it, but more people know him by Boo than DaQualin.

"People have been calling me that all my life.," Evans said. "Everybody calls me that."

Whatever name he goes by, Evans just wants his number called when it comes to pass routes.

The wide receiver has caught 26 passes for 408 yards and five touchdowns. He is averaging a team-high 15.7 yards per catch and has scored 30 points, which is second on the team.

His signature route is the fade, going deep and hauling in long passes. But, SSHS head coach Greg Owens said Evans has become better at blocking and running routes to become a more complete receiver.

"He's a very gifted athlete that is matured a bunch from last year to this year," Owens said. "Boo's always had great hands, but he's worked hard at becoming a better route runner and becoming a better receiver overall.

"He's one of our best blockers, and he can still make the spectacular catch. He can give you the 'Wow' catch and highlight catch."

He made two of those catches the last two weeks, tight-roping the sideline for a TD against Liberty-Eylau, then making a catch between two defenders in the corner of the end zone against Mount Pleasant.

Evans was an All-District wide receiver last year after catching seven TD passes. He also plays basketball and was on the regional qualifying 4x200 relay team in track.

In fact, he clocked a 4.49 in the 40-yard dash in the summer, the second-fastest time on the team.

More importantly, Evans has a magnetic personality that draws people to him, Owens said, whether it's at work at Brookshire's or when the Wildcats showed up for Lamar Elementary's annual pep rally last week.

"All the kids were going, 'Boo, Boo," Owens said. "He just has that big personality. He's a good kid with a great personality. He wants to be good and he works hard at being good."

One thing they needed Evans to do this year was to become more consistent to take advantage of his size (6-2, 175) and speed.

"We talked to him about becoming more physical, and he's done that. We want him to have the attitude of 'You can't cover me,' " Owens said. "Boo gives our offense the deep threat. They have to honor him because he's caught some big passes. He may not be the possession receiver, but he can get deep and catch the ball. "

He has been a complementary receiver to Jeff Beck, Chris Thompson and Jace Jackson, each of whom has at least 25 receptions and four TDs this year.

"Boo may draw some extra coverage that allows us to do some things on the other side with Jace and Jeff and Chris to free them up a little bit," Owens said. "He may not catch as many balls as he wants, but it frees up some other things."

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