By RYAN ARANDA
On Friday, Oct. 16, students all across Redlands East Valley were inspired, encouraged, and moved by the words of one man. That one man was special speaker and former NFL quarterback, Vince Evans.
Vince Evans is well-known by most for playing for the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League. However, in his presentation, the former professional showed that his journey to fame was quite challenging.
The presentation, which was organized by REV teacher Mrs. Nicole Harper, was introduced with a flashback video of one of Evans’ most famous games as an NFL player. The game was played between the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets on October 10, 1993. Evans is known for leading his team to multiple comeback victories throughout his career, and this game was a prime example of it.
After trailing 17-0 in the later first half, the Raiders would rally back to trail by just three with a score of 20-17 with over four minutes remaining in the matchup. It was then up to Evans to lead his team on the potential game-winning drive.
Evans and the rest of the team was determined to walk out of the game victorious. On the final drive, the quarterback marched his team down the field, completed five passes in a row, and handed the ball off to HB Nick Bell for the score that would clinch the win for Oakland. The Raiders won the game and completed the comeback in a final score of 24-20.
Following the game clip, Evans started his speech explaining his beginnings as a young NFL hopeful in the city of Greensboro, North Carolina.
Growing up, you could often find Vince playing football with friends and watching football on television, specifically University of Southern California football, but not until after he had finished his homework and chores around the house.
Evans was an outstanding player at a young age, and this helped him when he got to high school, as he impressed countless amounts of scouts with his play. However, he did say that he was never able to win a state championship, as he applauded the REV football team for doing so last season.
After high school, Evans made the tough decision of leaving his home state and traveling across the country to California to attend L.A. City College. At LACC, Evans would play QB, as he had his whole career.
His strong play did not go unnoticed, as he was given the honor of being named the “Offensive Player of the Year.”
The team would soon go on to play in the Potato Bowl. While the Potato Bowl was not the most famous college bowl game, it was a turning point for Vince’s career.
In the bowl game, Evans impressed numerous scouts, but most importantly, USC scouts. Following the game, the Trojans offered him a scholarship, which Evans accepted, as he could now fulfill his dream of attending one of the nation’s top colleges.
He would go on to be drafted in the sixth round of the 1977 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. He was also popularized later in his career by his great play for the Oakland Raiders.
Throughout his presentation, Evans stressed the importance of staying humble, as he learned the significance of this as a young man. He explained that being conceited and arrogant will not help those who truly wish to be successful in life.
While Evans began his motivational speech during fourth period, he continued into lunch, with Mr. Washburn, Christian Club, and many others in attendance. He expressed his strong Christian beliefs, reminding fellow Christians to keep their faith in God and in his actions.
When asked about the presentation, REV senior, Christian Coston stated that, “What really got me is when he was talking about his faith in God and how we as people shouldn’t let the world judge us and that for Christians like myself, to stay on path in my obedience and righteousness.”
The former Raider also emphasized being thankful for the parents, teachers, coaches, and other role models that one will have in their life, supporting them in their journeys.
All in all, Evans provided Redlands East Valley with knowledgeable advice that every student can use in their respective life paths.