Evangel completes second undefeated regular season with win over Southern Christian

Published 1:35 am Saturday, October 14, 2023

By CHRIS MEGGINSON | Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER – Evangel Christian School celebrated Homecoming and Senior Night with a 61-12 victory over Southern Christian to close the regular season a perfect 10-0 in front of a sellout crowd at Clayton-O’Neal Field. It’s the second-straight undefeated regular season for the Lightning, which have now won 27 consecutive games.

“I’ve been doing this a long time and this is only the second time in my career. They just happen to be back-to-back,” ECS head coach Tim Smith said. “God’s been good to us. He’s blessed us. It’s nothing I’ve done. I’m not smart enough. It’s what He’s done for us.”

Quarterback Kemp Swords exceeded 2,000 yards of total offense for the season, now at 2,100. His 90 yards rushing and 69 yards rushing in the win gives him 768 rushing yards and 1,332 yards passing through 10 games.

Swords’ 77-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter was the longest play of the game. He also threw two touchdowns of 42 and 36 yards to Cade Joiner and Zion Thompson for Evangel’s first and last scores of the first quarter.

Southern Christian showed a small challenge early, tying the game, 6-6, on a 56-yard pass from Elijah Bailey to Jagger Scott. Clay Stanton answered with a 55-yard touchdown run, as the two teams combined for 19 points in less than 30 seconds. Caeleb Austin scored on a 36-yard run to extend the ECS lead, 20-6, before the Thompson touchdown made it 27-6 at the end of the first quarter.

Swords’ touchdown run opened the second half, followed by a 16-yard QB touchdown run from Eli Black. It was 41-6 when Joiner intercepted a pass and took it 45 yards for a pick-six. Southern Christian got on the board again with a 7-yard touchdown run before Austin scored from 55 yards out to close the first half with a 55-12 lead. Austin led the team with 94 yards rushing, and Evangel finished with 348 total rushing yards.

Kye Gray was 7-for-7 on extra points and attempted an unsuccessful 37-yard field goal in the second half.

The final touchdown of the night came from senior offensive guard Baylor Parker on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Joshua Looman led the defense with five tackles, while Reed Castleberry had four. A total of 21 players recorded a tackle for the Lightning, which also saw 14 different players gain yards on offense.

“We played a lot of kids tonight,” Smith said. β€œThe fun part is we’ve watched some kids grow up this year into good football players.”

Evangel (10-0) will have a week off before the Alabama Christian Sports Conference (ACSC) playoffs begin. Smith says it is the first time the players will have more than a day off since July 10 as they prepare to host East Central Homeschool in the ACSC semifinals on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.