Lightning advance to nationals

The Evangel Lightning made program history Friday night by defeating Grace Baptist of Hiram, Ga., 52-8, to earn the Independent Christian Schools of Georgia and Alabama Conference Championship.

Quarterback Henry Foster was named as the game’s MVP, leading the Lighting (11-1) with a 4-of-7 performance for 115 yards and two touchdowns.

“It’s huge for us,” Evangel head coach Steve Dean said of the win. “As much success as we’ve had, we’ve never won the conference.”

The Lightning got on the board early, opening a 16-8 first-quarter lead over Grace.

Grace would not score again.

“We peaked at the right time,” Dean said. “We’re playing as well as we have all year.”

The Lightning added 14 points in the second quarter, 16 in the third quarter and six in the final quarter.

Hunter Burridge had 120 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns for Evangel, while Collin Hipps caught both of Foster’s touchdown passes.

Defensively for the Lightning, Luke Webb had nine tackles, while Hipps had eight tackles, including five sacks.

Hipps, Webb and Burridge were named to the All-Conference team.

“Our senior leadership is really good,” Dean said.

The win advances the Lightning to the National Association of Christian Athletes Tournament in Dayton, Tenn.

Evangel will play Wednesday and Saturday.

Curtiss Hipps contributed to this report.