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Evan Kieser's football life comes full circle

Posted at 5:21 PM, Sep 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-25 18:24:59-04
You never know where life is going to take you, but for Bellevue West’s Evan Kieser, life has always taken him behind center as a dual threat quarterback.

He and his coaches will tell you he doesn’t have the best throwing motion or arm strength, but what he lacks in brawn, he makes up for it with his brain.

“He’s just so intelligent," Bellevue West head coach Michael Huffman said, "You tell the kid things one time and he just remembers it moving forward.”


Watching him since junior high, Huffman says he knew Kieser would be the starting quarterback for Bellevue West one day. That day would come in 2016, his sophomore year.

Kieser led his team to victory, then they won the next two games. The team looked sharp, chatter of state title possibilities surrounded the Thunderbirds going into a big matchup with Millard West.

Kieser was making plays. Until the third quarter during a designed QB run.

“I was actually through pretty clean," Kieser said. "Then somebody hit me from my left side which caused my femur to bend over and it crushed the ACL so it popped it. And that was it. I can remember it like it just happened yesterday.”

MRIs showed he had a torn ACL, his season was over. Without Kieser, 

Bellevue West went on to win the Class A state title that year.

Kieser was so happy for his team, but sad he couldn’t play in the big game. His then backup was playing too well to take out.

“The guy that took over for Evan he was unbelievable," Huffman said. "He ended up getting first team all-state, all Nebraska honors, threw for 3,000 yards, a lot of touchdowns.”

 By the time Kieser was healthy again, he was asked to switch positions to wide receiver.
It was a way to get Kieser on the field. Not in the way he knew how, but he didn’t complain about the change. He just wanted to win. Thanks to his athletic ability and knowledge of receiver routes as a quarterback, he was a natural fit.
“He was dangerous, I mean he may not be as fast as some of us out here, but he can definitely make you miss in the open space," Bellevue West wide receiver Zavier Betts said. "If need be he can stiff arm, or he’ll make a cut and you won’t even see him coming and he’ll just go right across the field and score.”

Kieser found a way to succeed again. During his junior season in 2017, he caught 29 passes for 437 yard and 6 TDs. He immediately contributed again this year, his senior season.

“He had two huge third down catches against Lincoln High, a game that we won in double overtime," Huffman said. "Do we win those games if we don’t get those third down catches? I don’t know.”


As a receiver, Kieser became a true leader and showed confidence, which made him ready for what would happen next. In week two, quarterback Jacob Coldanghise went down in the first quarter. The team later found out he had a broken ankle.

“So I’m talking to Jacob who is on the ground, and by the time I got back to the team huddle, Evan is already in everybody’s face like we got this, we got this, We’ll go on from here,” Huffman said.

Kieser came in at QB and had himself a game. 

threw for 222 yards and four touchdowns.

“I don’t ever fold so I know if we are down I can make sure everyone is up and ready to go,” Kieser said.

Coldanghise has been ruled out for the season, and now Kieser returns to the position where it all started.

“The four years of high school, I mean how much I played freshman year and then the sophomore year ACL, then the junior year switch, and now the senior year switch back. I mean it’s been, it’s been insane," Kieser said.

He has led the Thunderbirds wins in their last three games, maintaining an undefeated season. It all sounds familiar, as if he’s picked up almost right where he left off. State title chatter surrounds the Thunderbirds again.

“The main drive is I didn’t get to play in it sophomore year,” Kieser said.

"What a neat story it would be if he comes back as our quarterback and we’re able to win our second state title," Huffman said.

Kieser’s football life has come full circle. Life always find a way to put him behind center to play quarterback.

But this time, Kieser has some unfinished business.