Evangel to play in NACA Division II championship game

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

Evangel Christian School will play in the National Association of Christian Athletes Division II football championship game following a 27-18 win over University Christian School (Fla.) in the semifinals Nov. 10 in Dayton, Tenn.

The Lightning (8-5) will face Appling Christian Academy (Ga.) in the NACA Division II title game Nov. 12.

Junior quarterback Hayden Brown completed 9-of-17 passes for 170 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the semifinal win. Brown also rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.

Brandon Mackey added 50 rushing yards and a touchdown on nine attempts. Mackey also caught two passes for 32 yards and a touchdown.

Junior receiver Aaron Walker led the Lightning with 67 receiving yards and a touchdown on four receptions.

Evangel racked up 323 total yards on offense, including 153 rushing yards.

Evangel scored two touchdowns in the first quarter to take an early 14-12 lead in the game.

Brown scored on a 6-yard touchdown run and then completed a pass to Walker for the 2-point conversion to give Evangel an 8-0 lead. Brown completed a 9-yard touchdown pass to Mackey later in the opening quarter to push the lead to 14-0 before University Christian scored twice to cut the deficit to two points.

Neither team scored in the second quarter and Evangel went into the locker room at halftime with the lead. University Christian took its only lead in the game following a rushing touchdown in the third quarter.

Evangel responded quickly as Brown found Walker open for a 25-yard touchdown pass to put the Lightning back in front. Sophomore kicker Charlie Bell’s successful point-after attempt gave Evangel a 21-18 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Mackey capped the scoring for Evangel with a 9-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Senior defensive lineman Gentry Berry led the Lightning with 11 tackles, including four tackles for a loss, and three sacks.

Walker finished with eight tackles. Senior defensive lineman Cameron Cohill added five tackles and a sack. Senior defensive end Josh Flanders recorded four tackles and a sack.

Freshman linebacker Grant Webster had an interception. Brown recovered a fumble in the victory.