Rising Star: Maize South’s Evan Cantu
WICHITA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - One of the top running backs in the state, Evan Cantu from Maize South had a record breaking game last Friday. Rushing for over 400 yards and five touchdowns in the first round of playoffs, but it’s his triumph over social anxiety and Tourette Syndrome that makes him even more inspiring.
With almost 2,400 total yards and 25 touchdowns this year, Maize South senior running back Evan Cantu is a spectacle to watch on the field.
“Evan gives you a great game every Friday. He’s fun to watch, he can do a lot of things and he appreciates those big guys up front working for him,” said Maize South football coach Brent Pfeifer.
Cantu gives most of the credit for his nearly 2,000 rushing yards so far this season to his offensive line.
“But I’ve got to get my linemen straight,” Cantu said. “They’re the ones that 99% of the time that are going to help me with all my stuff.”
And Pfeifer said he’s most proud of everything Cantu has overcome leading up to this point.
“I’ve known Evan since he was a little kid and to see him where he is now, especially just personality, social wise and how he can interact with people,” said Pfeifer. “When he was young, he was pretty quiet and he has grown just immensely as a person.”
At a young age, Cantu was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and Tourette Syndrome. Then in middle school his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
But he found comfort in football and in coach Pfeifer.
“Football’s definitely my stress reliever and middle school when I started coming here as a kid and I always looked up to him,” said Cantu. “Five years ago, it was her breast cancer awareness anniversary and the football team gave her all these Team Tonya shirts. I’ve loved him ever since.”
“His skills on the football field are phenomenal to watch but that’s probably what I’m most proud of is seeing where he was as a young kid and where he’s at now. It’s pretty great to be a part of,” said Pfeifer.
Cantu said he gets goosebumps when thinking about potentially playing football at the next level.
“When I was a kid, I always wanted to do that and football just relieves everything I have bad at school, everything at home,” said Cantu. “It’s a stress reliever and without football I really wouldn’t be the man I am today.”
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