Score: Evangel 41, Central Methodist 28
Records: Evangel (4-3, 1-0 Heart); Central Methodist (1-6, 0-1 Heart)
Location: Fayette, Mo. | Davis Field
FAYETTE, Mo. – The Evangel football team built an early lead and was able to steal a 41-28 win to spoil Homecoming for Central Methodist Saturday in the Heart of America Athletic Conference South Division opener.
The Crusaders continued their mid-season momentum and walked away Saturday having won four of its last five games. More importantly, Evangel improved to 1-0 in the Heart South Division as the whole conference started divisional play.
Evangel was able to carry a balanced attack Saturday rushing for 209 yards, as freshman quarterback Zeke Kuyawa threw for 132 yards and three touchdowns. Kuyawa finished 10-of-12 with no interceptions in his first collegiate start.
Anthony Riley paced the Crusader rushing attack carrying 24 times for 90 yards and a touchdown. Riley was one of three Crusaders to rush for a score as Darrius Lee and Brett Grelle each found the end zone with Lee rushing for 82 yards.
Evangel took a 14-0 lead before Central Methodist found the end zone late in the first quarter.
Grelle scored from 1-yard out to finish an eight play 43-yard opening drive. After an interception on the first possession for CMU, Evangel started with the ball in CMU territory. Just five plays in, Kuyawa found Brady Collier for his first touchdown of the game with 8:19 left in the first quarter.
Kuyawa and Collier would hook up again in the third quarter for the game's final score giving Evangel a 41-28 lead. Collier led Evangel with four catches for 45-yards and two touchdowns.
Lee would plunge into the end zone just before the end of the first quarter to give the Crusaders a 20-7 lead. The point after attempt was no good ending a streak and school record 58 consecutive extra points made by junior Derek Roberts.
CMU would battle back into the game just before halftime with a 10-play 63-yard drive and a 15-play 96 drive. The Eagles pulled within 27-21 with the second score coming in the final three seconds of the first half.
Evangel bounced back in the third quarter as Kuyawa found Dallas Hester who raced 55-yards for his third touchdown of the season. Hester's score came with 5:56 left in the third quarter as CMU answered one more time to pull within 34-28.
After the Kuyawa to Collier score in the final minute of the third quarter, neither team would score in the fourth quarter.
A pair of fumbles by the Crusaders kept hope alive for the Eagles. However, the rushing attack for Evangel and a second turnover sealed the win for the Crusaders. Telacey Wilder sacked the CMU quarterback forcing the fumble that was recovered by Taylor Green.
Josh Evans led Evangel with nine tackles, and 0.5 sack as Green and Sam Morton added eight tackles each. The Crusaders sacked the Eagles three times, and the two turnovers give Evangel seven takeaways in the last two games.
Evangel renews its Heart South Division Rivalry at MidAmerica Nazarene next weekend. Kickoff from Olathe, Kansas is scheduled for 2 p.m.
For the latest information on Evangel Athletics, follow the Crusaders on Facebook at Facebook.com/EvangelAthletics or go to www.EvangelAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the Go Evangel Front Row App at EvangelAthletics.com/FrontRow available on Google Play and in the App Store.