ECS wins first meeting with Kingwood

The Kingwood Lions couldn’t stay with Evangel Christian on Sept. 2, as the Lightning moved to 3-0 on the season with a 20-8 win while Kingwood fell to 0-2. (Contributed / Dianne Cunningham)

The Kingwood Lions couldn’t stay with Evangel Christian on Sept. 2, as the Lightning moved to 3-0 on the season with a 20-8 win while Kingwood fell to 0-2. (Contributed / Dianne Cunningham)

By CHRIS MEGGINSON / For the Reporter

ALABASTER – Alabaster has a new intracity rivalry. Evangel Christian School traveled 3 miles to Kingwood Christian School on Friday and came away with the program’s second 11-man football victory, 20-8 over the KCS Lions.

Evangel head coach Don Murphy was pleased to stay in the community for a short road trip compared to most of Evangel’s 8-man football road travel.

“We’ve had to travel to Memphis, Nashville and the other side of Atlanta,” Murphy said. “This was great. At the end of the game you see the guys circle up in the middle of the field and they know each other and are slapping each other’s back. They played hard on both sides, but they’re friends out there.”

Evangel, which was coming off its first-ever 11-man football win the previous week against Patrician, scored on the opening drive with a 2-yard touchdown run by Brad Baggett.

Kingwood drove down field in 12 plays, but turned the ball over deep in Lightning territory. Evangel once again marched down field, this time capped by a 4-yard touchdown run by quarterback Micah Murphy for a 13-0 lead after a missed extra point.

The Lions kept Evangel in check for most of the remainder of play, holding the Lightning to their lowest point total since the 2015 season opener, a 40-20 loss at Franklin Christian (Tenn.).

Evangel had one had more strike to close the first half up 20-0. Backup QB Phillip Flanders hit Murphy on a 67-yard touchdown pass, aided by a block by Baggett, to score with two seconds left before halftime.

“That’s what broke the camel’s back,” said Kingwood head coach Sheldon Ward. “We had a really good game plan for them, and it showed. If it’s not for that last play, it’s 14-0. If we’re going into half 14-0, there’s no telling what could have happened. We’ve got to go to work Monday and get better.”

Murphy finished with 84 yards rushing on 14 carries, 67 yards receiving and completed four passes for 36 yards. He had 14 of the Lightning’s points with rushing and receiving touchdowns and was 2-for-3 on PATs. Baggett had 63 yards rushing on 12 carries. Logan Smith and Cameron Kimbrell were Murphy’s main receiving targets with 34 and 14 yards, respectively.

“We’re learning each week, and they came out ready for our run,” Don Murphy said. “Our offense stepped up and did what they needed to do.”

Kingwood found the end zone with 1:30 left in the game on a 2-yard touchdown run by Jontae King and 2-point run by Michael Williams.

“We can’t afford to be down early and expect to fight back,” Ward said. “We don’t have an explosive offense, but we really played a lot better. We can’t turn the ball over.”

John Wood led Evangel’s defense with 16 tackles, followed by Logan Smith’s eight and five from Davis Windsor. Flanders and Mason McEvoy each had interceptions.

Tyler Henderson had two sacks for Kingwood.

Evangel (3-0) returns to Kingwood’s Ron Cox Field to host Ezekiel Academy (2-0) in its region opener.

“If you’ve never seen 8-man football, you need to come out next week,” Don Murphy said.

Kingwood (0-2) will travel to Evangel Christian Academy (0-2) in Montgomery on Sept. 9 for its AISA Class AA, Region 1 opener.