The Gatorade State Football Players of the Year were selected based on athletic production and impact in the 2015-16 season. Each winner also demonstrated high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership.
For the list of the other 2015-16 Gatorade State Football POY’s, click here.
THE WINNER: Mark Evanchick
School: Darien (Conn.)
Position: Defensive end
Weight: 238 pounds
Athletic achievement: He had led the Blue Wave to a 9-0 record and a berth in the Class LL state quarterfinals against Staples High, scheduled for Dec. 1. At the time of his selection, Evanchick had recorded 64 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 30 tackles for a loss, nine quarterback hurries and forced two fumbles. The state’s all-time leader with 63.5 sacks, the two-time Class LL First Team All-State selection has tallied at least three sacks in five games this season.
Academic excellence: Evanchick has maintained a 3.34 GPA.
Exemplary character: The Connecticut High School Lacrosse Coaches Association’s Defensive Player of the Year as a junior, he has volunteered locally as part of a fundraising campaign to benefit diabetes research and as a youth football and lacrosse coach.
“Mark Evanchick is one of the best defensive linemen I have seen in a long time,” said Marce Petroccio, head coach of Staples High. “He has an incredible combination of speed, strength and leverage that reminds me of JJ Watt. He is almost impossible to block.”
THE FUTURE: Evanchick will attend the University of Pennsylvania in the fall of 2016, where he will play lacrosse.