Lewis Evans is Haddonfield's top road warrior

Haddonfield’s Lewis Evans (12) looks to pass the ball around Newark Central’s Joel Uzoka-Simmons (10) during the Group 2 state championship game.

Lewis Evans played in a lot of football and basketball games in his junior year at Haddonfield High School.

None of them was in Haddonfield.

Evans was the Bulldawgs’ top road warrior, having helped both the football and basketball teams to championships in seasons without a home field or home court.

“I see a lot of similarities” between the football and basketball teams, Evans said. “Just the way we play. Everybody knows their role, and everybody will do whatever they need to do to help the team.”

Camera icon Tim Tai/Staff Photographer
Haddonfield’s Lewis Evans puts the ball up past Newark Central’s Joel Uzoka-Simmons during the Group 2 state championship game.

Evans was a top linebacker for the Haddonfield football team, which won the South Jersey Group 2 title.

That team played its “home” games at Cherry Hill West.

Evans also specializes in defense for the Haddonfield basketball team, which won the Group 2 state title.

That team played its “home” games at Cherry Hill East.

“A big part of my role is defense. I’ll get in and play defense,” Evans said. “If one of our big men needs to get rebounds, that’s what they’ll do.

“In football, if a defensive end needs to ride a down block to help me as a linebacker make a tackle, that’s what he’s going to do.

“So it’s like everyone knows what their job is and we just execute.”

Haddonfield’s football and basketball teams were without a home facility because of construction at the school. Evans believes the adversity strengthened both squads.

“I think it helps a lot,” Evans said. “I think it’s going to help me in my future, with all the things we’ve struggled with and all the problems.

“It’s just like in life: Just keep going. It doesn’t matter what happens; just keep going and never give up.”

The 5-foot-9, 180-pound Evans had 88 tackles and two interceptions for the football team, which defeated Sterling, Cinnaminson and West Deptford in the postseason to capture the sectional title.

On the basketball court, Evans is a reserve who provides energy and defensive intensity off the bench. He has averaged 4.4 points for a team that beat Camden in the sectional semifinals, Rumson-Fair Haven in the state semifinals, and Newark Central in Sunday’s Group 2 state final.

Camera icon Tim Tai/Staff photographer
Junior guard Lewis Evans averages 4.4 points and specializes in defense for the Haddonfield boys’ basketball team.

In the quarterfinals of the Tournament of Champions, Evan provided Haddonfield with its last lead of the season, scoring on a putback early in the fourth quarter for a 50-48 advantage over Group 3 champion Nottingham Tuesday night at Toms River North.

Nottingham finished the game on a 16-2 run to secure a 64-52 victory and ended Haddonfield’s season with a 29-4 record. The Bulldawgs also captured the sixth state title in program history.

“Teams aren’t going to play down to us just because we don’t have a home court,” Evans said. “We just have to go out and play.”

Evans said one big similarity between the football and basketball programs is the quality of the coaching.

He said the football staff led by head coach Frank DeLano and the basketball staff led by Paul Wiedeman set an example for the athletes with their dedication and commitment to the programs.

“Me personally, after a loss or if we didn’t play well, I feel like I let them down,” Evans said of the coaching staffs. “We have a great coaching staff in basketball. They draw up great schemes for us.

“In football, coaches will be like, ‘See you guys later’ on a Saturday after a lift and we know they are still there until late in the day, getting ready for the next game, watching film.

“I feel like we owe it to them because they work so hard and offer us everything we need to win.”

Evans said DeLano provided the motto that has guided both programs to championship seasons.

“One great quote I love from Coach DeLano, he’s always like, ‘Who cares?’ ” Evans said of the team’s perceived hardship. “Nobody cares. We don’t have a home gym. We don’t have a court. Nobody cares.

“Just play. It’s like our coaches have told us the whole year, ‘It doesn’t matter. Just play.’ ”