Equal parts Houdini, the Energizer Bunny and a young Johnny Manziel, Livonia Churchill quarterback Evan Snead’s escapability often turns huge losses into touchdown tosses.
Case in point: During the third quarter of the Chargers’ Oct. 20 regular-season finale against Plymouth, Wildcat defensive tackle Jay Shqau split a pair of Churchill blockers and — in a split second, it seemed — had a firm grip on Snead’s mid-section.
One split second later, however, Snead spun out of the Wildcat’s grasp, rolled to his right, calmly directed his receivers like an air-traffic controller and lasered a spiral to Peyton Sitarski for a 42-yard score.
Although the Chargers dropped a 42-21 decision to Plymouth, Snead was his typical self, throwing for two TDs and running for another.
‘He’s our heartbeat’
“Evan provides a balanced attack,” said Churchill Head Coach Allen Fiegel, when asked about Snead. “He can hurt you through the air or with his feet.
“Although we have very good leadership in our program, Evan is our heartbeat, so to speak. As he goes, we all go.”
Like most accomplished high school quarterbacks, Snead puts in work away from practice.
No time to rest
During the off-season when Snead wasn’t competing for the Churchill track-and-field team, he frequently hooked up with members of his receiving corps to work on routes and to grow their camaraderie.
“We all had a group text chat and almost daily I’d message, ‘Field after school?’,” Snead said. “Some days everybody would show up, sometimes it was me and three receivers.
“The off-season work we put in really helps because it sharpens our timing and they know without thinking what to do when I start scrambling.”
Due in part to their tougher-than-average schedule, the Chargers advanced to the playoffs with a sub-.500 mark.
“Our whole team met at Oak Lanes bowling alley for a watch party when they announced the brackets on Sunday,” Snead said. “We knew our chances of getting in were about 50-50.
“When we found out we were in, the place erupted. I said, ‘Let’s get to work!'”
Snead starred for the Livonia Junior Athletic League’s Livonia Orioles before moving up to Churchill.
He still remembers his first touchdown — but it didn’t unfold the way you might expect.
“I was DB for the Orioles and I picked off a pass and ran it back about 60 yards,” he said. “I had some help from my teammates, though. There were a couple Garden City players holding onto me, but my teammates pushed them off.”
Snead said his favorite win this year was the Chargers’ 17-7 triumph over Livonia Stevenson.
“Last year when we played Stevenson, we were down two points and we had the ball inside their 5 late in the game and I fumbled,” he lamented. “So coming back this year and getting the win felt good.”
Snead, who revealed his favorite subject in school is science and his favorite QB to watch as a kid was — you guessed it — Johnny Manziel — has aspirations to become a firefighter after high school.
With his Houdini-esque skill set, he should also think about moonlighting as a magician.
Ed Wright can be reached at 734-664-4657 or firstname.lastname@example.org.