Evangel drops heartbreaker to Central Christian

Evangel's Micah Murphy reaches for a pass in the ACSC State Championship game on Nov. 7. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

Evangel’s Micah Murphy reaches for a pass in the ACSC State Championship game on Nov. 7. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By JAY BEARD/For the Reporter

ALABASTER — For the Evangel Lightning, a win would have made four ACSC state championships in a row, but the Central Christian Crusaders upset the Lightning 50-42 on Nov. 7 to end the streak.

On Sept. 19, Evangel’s homecoming game between the two schools ended up in a 40-14 rout for the Lightning, so the Crusaders of Sharpsburg, Ga. came into the game with something to prove.

With a 30-6 lead with 28.1 seconds left in the half, the Crusaders appeared to have the game in the bag after Jarod Farlow capped off a 6 play scoring drive with a nine-yard run into the end zone, but Evangel’s Micah Murphy ran the ensuing kickoff back 71 yards for the Lightning score, making it a 30-14 ballgame at the half.

In the second half, it appeared that a stop on fourth down might bring on the change in momentum that the Lightning needed, but a desperate pass by Andrew Thompson was intercepted on the first play of the new series. Within three plays, the Crusaders were able to capitalize with a 3-yard run up the middle with 5:07 left in the third to make the score 36-14.

The Lightning didn’t go down without a fight. In the fourth quarter, the Lightning put up 26 unanswered points, after Micah Murphy returned a punt for six tying the score 42-42 with 4:29 left in the game.

The Lightning weren’t able to get the stop they needed, as Central Christian took it into the end zone with just 44 seconds left in the game.

For Evangel head coach Don Murphy, the loss was a difficult one, but he said he was proud of the way his team responded after being down early in the game.

“I can’t tell you,” he said. “To be down three touchdowns at half-time, and to have our tail between our legs, and the way they played the second half. I mean they came back, tied the game, we had a shot but had a turnover. They grew up. They turned into men the second half.”

Evangel finished out their season 11-2, with their only other loss coming from Victory Christian on Sept. 5.