A host of Evangel Christian defenders wrap up a Victory Christian (Miss.) runner in a Sept. 6 matchup. The Lightning is 5-0 thus far in the season. (Contributed/Cari Dean)
A host of Evangel Christian defenders wrap up a Victory Christian (Miss.) runner in a Sept. 6 matchup. The Lightning is 5-0 thus far in the season. (Contributed/Cari Dean)

Archived Story

Evangel Christian looks to keep rolling through season

Published 3:52pm Wednesday, September 25, 2013

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Writer

There are very few teams in the state as hot as the Evangel Christian Lightning at the halfway point of the season. After five games, ECS is 5-0 having scored 257 points, and allowing just 31 points versus the Lightning.

The closest any team has come to a win was in the opener against Ballard. The Lightning surrendered 16 points, the most in one game all season.

The team has an open date Sept. 27, but head coach Del Clayton said the team used the time off to heal and get ready for the next matchup.

“We approach it the same way every week,” he said. “It’s hard to keep focused, but (the players) are. We plan on taking care of business.”

While it may appear that ECS has been on cruise control from the opening game, Clayton said nothing could be farther from the truth. Instead, only the focus of practice has changed.

“At the beginning of the season, we work on fundamentals,” he said. “At this point, we work on fine-tuning the game plan. We work on things that have given us trouble and mental toughness.”

Clayton said if there is any issue the team has faced so far, it has been keeping the players who have been in the program for an extended period of time from getting too comfortable.

“We have so many guys that are seniors,” he said. “Most have played since eighth grade, (and) they’ve heard it over and over. We’ve got a real mature group (that’s) focused on the next opponent. They’ve been handling it well.”

With five games down, Evangel has three games separating the Lightning from the highly anticipated Sky Bowl rivalry game with Hope Christian. The two schools have been the class of the ACSC this season, as Hope is undefeated as well.

As expected, Clayton said his squad isn’t focused on Hope just yet.

“We don’t really talk about it, but (the fans) know where we’re headed,” he said. “We don’t really talk about it or bring it up. As far as coaching goes, I’ve taken a peek at them. (We) can’t make it bigger than what it is.”

The Lightning return to action Oct. 4 against Evangel Family Christian of Montgomery at home.

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