Evangel rolls in first win of the season

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

MONTEVALLO – The Evangel Christian Lightning got the 2016 sports calendar started with a bang on Friday night, Aug. 12, as the Lightning welcomed in visiting Russell Christian Academy and beat the Warriors handily by a final score of 66-14. Evangel built a 40-0 halftime lead, and the starters did not play a down in the second half.

Senior running back Brad Baggett scored the year’s first touchdown on a clean 10-yard scamper to the end zone in the first quarter, and followed that score up with another two-yard dive later in the quarter as the Lightning built a quick 14-0 lead before they opened the floodgates in the second.

To start the second quarter, senior quarterback Micah Murphy took a snap out of the gun, faked a handoff to Baggett, who was streaking toward the right hash, and took off down the left sideline, beating three Russell Christian defenders en route to a 25-yard scoring scamper. Later in the quarter, Murphy took a snap from the Warriors’ 20-yard line and dropped back, looking to pass. Russell Christian’s Tavis Brown came shooting into the backfield and seemed to have Murphy wrapped up around the 40-yard line, but Murphy shook him off, with the help of a well-timed block from Josh Lau, and turned what had looked like a potential 20-yard loss into his second score of the night, which gave Evangel a 32-0 lead.

Baggett added his third touchdown of the night in the second quarter as well, and the Lightning took a 40-0 lead into the half before waltzing to a 66-14 win.

“I was very proud of the way the entire team played from top to bottom,” Evangel head coach Don Murphy said after the game. “Thee is a possibility that they (Russell Christian) had negative yards of offense for the whole game, I know they did the first half. This was a great way to start the season and a good one to get under our belts.”

Murphy finished the game with 127 yards rushing on nine carries while Baggett finished the game with 61 yards rushing on 10 carries. John Lloyd had 40 yards on three carries and Adam Hyde had 37 yards on three carries as well to lead the way for Evangel in the win. Lloyd also led the defense with nine tackles.

Evangel is off now until Aug. 26, when the Lightning will welcome in Patrician Christian Academy. The Aug. 26 game will be Evangel’s first against an AISA opponent and will also be the Lightning’s first 11-man football game.