Tim Smith gets win in first game at Evangel

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

MONTGOMERY – After spending 17 years as the head coach at Cornerstone Christian School, Tim Smith found himself in a different shade on Friday night, Aug. 18, as he started the season as the head coach of someone other than the Chargers.

Smith traded in the purple and yellow of Cornerstone for the blue and grey of Evangel in the offseason and made his debut for the lightning on Friday night as they traveled south to Montgomery to take on Evangel Montgomery.

And just like we became accustomed to at Cornerstone, Smith put a group of kids on the field that were ready to compete as his coaching debut was a rousing success in a 30-16 win over the Lions.

It also marked a new era for Evangel Alabaster not just for Smith replacing Don Murphy as the head coach, but also the replacement of Murphy’s son Micah Murphy, who was one of the best quarterbacks in the state last season.

There had been a battle between Kingwood transfer and sophomore Tyler Henderson along with Kamden Smith in the offseason to see who would handle the starting quarterback duties for the Lightning in 2017.

It was Henderson who got the start and played the majority of the game, but both got playing time before the final whistle blew and both had strong moments.

Henderson looked extremely impressive in the first half and seemed to build off of each positive play as he helped Evangel Alabaster jump out to a 16-0 halftime lead.

“I thought Tyler played really well in that first half,” Smith said. “He seemed to be very confident and continued making plays that we need our starting quarterback to make.”

In the second half, he picked up right where he left off taking Evangel right down the field for another quick score to extend their lead to 24-0.

After that score, however, Henderson’s confidence seemed to escape him. Whether it be nerves or complacency, several mistakes led to the Lions clawing their way back into the game.

It started with a bad snap that led to a safety, making the score 24-2 in the third quarter. On Evangel’s next possession, Henderson threw a pick six and all of a sudden it was a 24-8 game with a quarter still left to be played.

That score held up for a while, but late in the fourth, Evangel Montgomery scored again and added a two-point conversion with three minutes remaining to cut the lead to 24-16 after scoring 16 unanswered points.

This is when Smith decided to shake things up and put Kamden Smith in, who made the most of the opportunity by lead the Lightning on one final touchdown drive to seal the game. Smith used his legs to move Evangel’s offense down the field for the final touchdown of the game as the Lightning went on to win by the final of 30-16.

“I’m not sure what happened in that second half,” Smith said. “I think we just got a little complacent and it led to the guys getting a little bit rattled once we started having some bad snaps, which led to turnovers.”

Henderson threw two touchdown passes on the night, both of which went to his brother Kolby Henderson, while John Lloyd added a rushing touchdown and Smith added the fourth touchdown.

“We definitely have to quit fumbling and turning the ball over,” Smith said. “But overall, we won and I’m pleased. We need to play two complete halves next week, but for game one, I’m happy with how these guys performed and now we have something to build off of.”

Evangel will travel to Patrician Academy for a big game next week as they look to start 2-0.