Evangel locked and loaded for another ACSC title
By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Editor
ALABASTER — At the onset of the 2014 football season, the Evangel Christian Lightning had more questions than answers when it came to filling out its roster.
After all, the squad had lost 16 seniors from the 2013 Alabama Christian Schools Conference state championship team, and were in search of players to surround the three starters left.
Lack of depth aside, the Lightning found ways to win. Aside from a 34-32 loss at the hands of Victory Christian out of Columbus, Miss., the squad has won every game on its schedule. The squad now eyes a Nov. 7 rematch with Central Christian to play for another ACSC state championship.
Head coach Don Murphy said while the squad doesn’t have a lot of experience in playoff situations, he said he felt the team was focused headed into the contest.
“I think they love each other enough, they (stay focused),” he said. “Practice has been great.”
Murphy said the way the few seniors the squad possessed have meshed with the younger players over the course of the season has been key.
“It’s been phenomenal,” he said. “Our offensive line, they’ve gelled well together. Tyler Byrd (he’s) a leader. Andrew Thompson has been our field general. We’re certainly not last year’s team, but we’re doing well.”
Murphy also said that he felt the key to taking home the trophy will be shutting down a powerful Central offense looking to avenge a 40-14 loss at the hands of the Lightning on Sept. 19.
“Defense, no question,” he said. “It’s going to be a dogfight. It felt a whole lot closer than the score. We’ve got to contain them.”
While Murphy, in his first year at the helm of the Lightning, said a win would be a great accomplishment for him personally, he also said he wanted it more for the team and coaching staff.
“It’d be fantastic, but it’s not about me,” he said. “It’s a team effort.”
The Lightning will kick off at 7 p.m. at the Evangel Sports Complex, located at 6020 Highway 119, Alabaster.
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