Evangel championship bound

The Evangel Christian Lightning continued its dominance through the regular season with a first-round playoff shutout win over Covenant Christian Academy (Loganville, Ga.), 62-0.

The win propels the Lightning (10-1) to the ICSGA championship against Grace Baptist Christian School of Hiram, Ga., Friday at a neutral site in Douglasville, Ga. The Lighting’s offense opened up a 24-0 lead in the first quarter and duplicated it in the second quarter to take a 48-0 lead into halftime.

But it was the defense that drew Evangel head coach Steve Dean’s attention.

“They’re just awesome,” Dean said of his defense. “We challenged them this week. They’re just physical.”

Although Dean was quick to point out the Lightning’s defensive play, he could not deny the offense’s superiority.

“We were very balanced tonight,” Dean said. “It was probably the best performance of the year.”

The Lightning started the scoring in the first off of a 3-yard Hunter Burridge run.

Quarterback Henry Foster connected with receiver Collin Hipps for 7 yards to increase the lead to 16-0 before Jakan Sylestine took the ball in from 17 yards to close out the scoring in the opening quarter. In the second quarter, it was Foster to Hipps again, this time from 37 yards, to increase the lead to 32-0. Burridge returned a punt 49 yards for the next score and then Sylestine closed out the half with an 8-yard run.

The Lightning went scoreless in the third before Sylestine added his third score of the game on a 3-yard fourth quarter run. Auston Sullivan nabbed an interception to stop a Covenant drive before Joshua Flanders closed out the night with a 2-yard touchdown run.

Defensively for the Lightning, Hipps had a team-high 9 1/2 tackles, including three sacks, while Luke Webb ad nine tackles. Wesley Dean had eight tackles, including three sacks.

The Lightning close out the season Friday in the ICSGA championship in Douglasville, Ga. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.