Evangel back on top in ACSC
Published 12:13 pm Friday, November 6, 2015
By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor
MONTEVALLO – For the fourth time in five years, the Evangel Christian Lightning are on top of the Alabama Christian Sports Conference. The Lightning put the finishing touch on a special season against Ezekiel Academy at the Evangel Sports Complex on Nov. 5 with a convincing 64-20 win to finish the season at 11-1, with 11 straight wins.
Evangel scored 60 or more points in six games this season, and only scored fewer than 50 points on three occasions. The Lightning averaged just north of 54 points per game in 2015, which even head coach Don Murphy admits is incredible.
“We had a really explosive offense this year,” Murphy said. “We were solid. We had a great line and great receivers. Whenever anyone would shut down one aspect of our offense, we could shift to something else really easily.”
In the championship game against Ezekiel, a team Evangel had already taken care of earlier in the season 64-32, the game was not a rout from the jump. The Lightning led by a slim margin after the first quarter at 22-14, and had to rely on two separate defensive stops inside their own 10-yard line to preserve the lead. After it settled down and got comfortable, however, the Evangel offense began to roll, and outscored Ezekiel 42-6 the rest of the way to claim the ACSC title back after losing in the championship game a season ago to Central Christian (Ga.) by eight.
Evangel was led all season by junior quarterback Micah Murphy, but while his coach and father acknowledges his quarterback and son’s incredible year, Murphy is quick to give ample credit to his son’s offensive line.
“He (Micah) is making the runs, but the blocks allowed him to make them,” Murphy said. “He can’t do it by himself, and those guys up front knew how to block.”
John Will Graham, John Connor Davis and Andrew Morris were the three senior offensive linemen making it possible for Murphy and backfield mate Brad Baggett to have the kind of success they did, and all three will be dearly missed up front.
The 11-1 record is nice, and so is the ACSC championship, but Murphy is not shy in saying he wishes his team had a chance to avenge the only blemish on its record, a first-game loss to Franklin Christian (Tenn.) by a final of 40-20.
“I’d love to have another chance at them, absolutely,” Murphy said. “That’s a really good team, they’re playing in the state finals in Tennessee, but I would love to have another opportunity. I didn’t have the boys quite ready for that one. We have drastically improved since then.”
Even with the one loss on the record, Murphy doesn’t view this team and its accomplishments as anything other than exemplary.
“This was a special group, a really special group,” Murphy said.