Evangel takes down Ballard, eyes Sky Bowl matchup

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Editor

If there were any thoughts that the Evangel Christian Lightning might overlook the Ballard Christian Eagles in anticipation of their Oct. 3 matchup with arch rival Hope Christian, they Lightning quickly dismissed them — along with Ballard — in a 44-8 road romp Sept. 26.

Evangel’s offense scored early and often, notching the first touchdown of the game on a Mason Murphy 7-yard run, with Micah Murphy adding the extra point to make it 7-0 with 8:17 left in the first quarter.

Andrew Thompson got the air game going with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Mason Murphy, with Micah Murphy adding the point after to give the Lightning a 14-0 lead with 5:28 left in the quarter.

Ballard scored next with a 15-yard pass as Jarret Scott hit Justin Smith for a touchdown, and then Phillip Saylor for the two-point play to cap off an 11-play drive to pull the score to 14-8 to open the second quarter.

Evangel promptly answered with a Micah Murphy 52-yard run for a touchdown, with the Mason Murphy PAT attempt no good to make it 20-8.

Tyler Byrd and G.T. Abraham then combined to sacked Scott in the endzone for a safety, to make it 22-8. Evangel scored on the next drive, as Andrew Thompson hit Byrd for a 25-yard touchdown pass. Micah Murphy made the extra point, and the Lightning led, 29-8.

With 38 seconds left in the first half, Evangel scored on a 9-yard run by Micah Murphy, set up by a Byrd fumble recovery. The extra point by Micah Murphy was good, and the Lightning took a 36-8 lead into halftime.

The Lightning scored once more in the game, as Akil Corbin took a 1-yard run in for a score. D.J. Leipert converted the two-point play to cap off an 11-play, 63-yard drive and the game, as Evangel sealed the 44-8 win.

Head coach Don Murphy said he was pleased with the entire team’s effort.

“Very proud of our second string offense that made a statement by starting the second half with an eight minute drive,” he said.

Micah Murphy led all Evangel rushers with 73 yards and two touchdowns, while Andrew Thompson was 5-for-8 passing for 74 yards and two touchdowns. Byrd posted five solo tackles, two assists, a sack and a fumble recovery.

Murphy also said the squad was anticipating the Sky Bowl against Hope Oct. 3.

“Two great teams (and) fans,” he said. “Great rivalry, looking forward to it.”