WHEELING, W.Va. — Wheeling Park High School and members of the Wheeling community are remembering the life of former student and football star Donnie Evans.
Evans, 19, was shot and killed on Sunday in the Fort Worth, Texas area where he is originally from in what is being described by local media as a fight between dozens of people at an apartment complex.
The teenager rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2017 for Wheeling Park’s football team and graduated in May 2018, while he was living in Wheeling with his father who drove a truck in the oil and natural gas industry.
“I was shocked,” Chris Daugherty, Wheeling Park’s football coach confirmed the news to MetroNews on Monday afternoon. “I think any time a young man’s life ends early, our brain doesn’t know where to really put that.
“I am a father so I am heartbroken for his father, his mother and his family. I worry every single day when my kids walk out of the door. You pray as a dad that you don’t get that phone call. I can’t even imagine going through that.”
Daugherty said he found out the news of the incident early Monday morning from Evans’ father.
Evans arrived in Wheeling during the final semester of the 2016-17 school year to finish his junior year. Daugherty said the teenager fit in right away and got along with most everyone he met at the school.
“I think he felt vested and taken care of when he was here in Wheeling,” Daugherty said. “I think that is one of the reasons why his father reached out and let us know. He did have some people up here that cared about him and took care of him in the small time that he was here.
“He was a fun loving, funny kid. Literally every day there was a Donnie story of something simple that he did or said.”
Evans quickly fit in with the Wheeling Park football team, as well, leading the team in scoring during the 2017 football season with 19 total touchdowns. He rushed for 1,065 yards for the Patriots with 17 rushing touchdowns while recording 238 receiving yards and one touchdown catch in his only season.
With a couple of 2-point conversions and a defensive touchdown, Evans totaled 116 points.
“If he got a seam, he was gone,” Daugherty said. “He was a 10-second touchdown and could go the distance. That is what he gave us, those highlight-reel plays.”
Daugherty said the death sounded like a wrong place, wrong time event near Evans’ hometown of Aledo, Texas.
As more details are released in the coming days about how Evans’ life was tragically cut short, Daugherty knows the Wheeling community will continue to remember and miss him for a long time.
“Being that he just graduated, a lot of the kids here are talking about it and remembering him,” he said.
“Here in Wheeling we are going to remember the good, we are going to remember the funny Donnie.”