LANCASTER – Entering his sophomore season as the starting fullback for the Lancaster Flying Arrow football team, Evan Gates pinned a single sheet of paper to his bedroom wall.
On it were the names, Trevor Landon and Tyler Glass, along with each player’s season and career rushing statistics. At the bottom of that paper was a quote that read, “Dreams don’t come true, they are MADE true!”
Amongst a long and truly impressive list of Lancaster running backs who have worn the blue and gold over the years, Trevor Landon and Tyler Glass have been considered to be the best of the best when it comes to the family of Flying Arrow fullbacks. There are certainly others like Tyler Landon, Andy Hoch, Trae Mezera and Nic Wood.
But it was Glass who had just set the school’s single-season rushing record with 1,966 yards during his senior season in 2014, and Landon held perhaps the most coveted record in school history with 4,277 career rushing yards.
With a lot of hard work, an abundance of determination and circumstances beyond his control, Gates made his dreams come true by surpassing not only those two rushing records, but eight others, over the course of his record-breaking run at Lancaster High School.
While getting the start at fullback as a 165-pound sophomore, Gates suffered a season-ending injury early in the fourth game of the 2015 season and finished the year with 337 yards in essentially three games.
He started in 26 varsity games during his career at LHS, and is now Lancaster’s all-time leading rusher with 4,729 yards. He is second to Landon in career rushing attempts with 651, Landon having 658.
Gates has also established new career records for most 100-yard games with 22 and for most 200-yard games with 10. He is also second in career rushing touchdowns with 62, Glass having 73.
When it comes to single-season rushing records at Lancaster, Gates owns them all except for two; touchdowns and yards per carry.
While Gates did rush for 33 touchdowns this past season, Glass has a strong hold on the school record with 40, set during a state championship run in 2014. And, a 16.5 yard-per-carry average set by Jon Schmitz in 2001, will most likely never be touched.
Gates does have the school record for most rushing yards in a single season with 2,287, set his junior year in 2016 when he also finished as the state’s top rusher. He also has the second-best single-season mark of 2,051 rushing yards set this past season. He is currently the only rusher in school history to surpass the 2,000-yard mark in a single season, which he has done in back-to-back seasons.
Gates also owns the school records for most rushing attempts in a single season with 296, most 100-yard games with 11, and most 200-yard games with five, which he has done two years in a row.
During this past season’s 62-27 romp over previously unbeaten Prairie du Chien on Sept. 29, Gates set four new single-game school records with 387 rushing yards and total offense, along with 403 all-purpose yards, and 50 rushing attempts.
Last season Gates rushed for 326 yards on 38 attempts in a playoff loss to Clinton, which at the time was second in school history only to Nic Woods’ 349-yard performance against Platteville in 2015.
Earlier this season during a non-conference contest against Westby, Gates also tied a 66-year-old school record set by Ken Irish, by rushing for seven touchdowns in a 56-34 Flying Arrow victory.
When it comes to awards and honors handed out at the conclusion of this past season, Gates has gotten his share of recognition.
He was named the SWC Offensive Player of the Year, as well as the team’s Offensive Player of the Year and the team’s overall Player of the Year.
He was named to the Southwest Wisconsin All-Regional team by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association, and has since been named to the WFCA All-State first-team.
He was even named a finalist by the Wisconsin Sports Network for the Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch award, given annually to the state’s top senior running back.
Like any running back though, Gates owes much of his success to those on the offensive line, and to a coach who believed in him enough to carry the offensive load over the course of his career.
“He’s got a unique ability like I’ve said before, and we saw that when he was a freshman and got into some games late,” said Lancaster coach John Hoch. “Fortunately he’s been able to stay healthy for the most part.”
“He’s grown and developed into a very good runner. I’d really like to see him in the “I” formation, because that’s where he belongs. But he didn’t seem to mind doing what we were doing though,” coach Hoch added.
Gates plans to play football at the next level, and has been contacted by a number of college coaches from all three divisions.
Lancaster High School
1. Evan Gates 4,729
2. Trevor Landon 4,277
3. Tyler Glass 4,112
1. Tyler Glass 73
2. Evan Gates 62
3. Trevor Landon 61
1. Trevor Landon 658
2. Evan Gates 651
3. Andy Hoch 602
1. Evan Gates 22
2. Trevor Landon 20
3. Tyler Landon 19
1. Evan Gates 10
2. Tyler Glass 7
T3. Trevor Landon 4
T3. Tyler Landon 4
1. Evan Gates 2,287
2. Evan Gates 2,051
3. Tyler Glass 1,966
1. Tyler Glass 40
2. Evan Gates 33
3. Tyler Landon 28
1. Evan Gates 296
2. Tyler Landon 286
3. Evan Gates 285
1. Evan Gates 11
2. Tyler Landon 10
3. Evan Gates 9
1. Evan Gates 5 (twice)
3. Tyler Glass 4
T4. Tyler Glass 3
T4. Nic Wood 3
1. Evan Gates 387
2. Nic Wood 349
3. Evan Gates 326
1. Evan Gates 7
T2. Evan Gates 6
T2. Ken Irish 6
T2. Trevor Landon 6
1. Evan Gates 50
2. Evan Gates 44
3. Nic Wood 39