Defense Steps up in 34-14 win for No. 25 Evangel at Avila

Defense Steps up in 34-14 win for No. 25 Evangel at Avila

The Basics
Score: #25 Evangel 34, Avila 14
Records: Evangel (7-3, 4-0 Heart); Avila (3-7, 1-3 Heart)
Location: Kansas City, Mo. | The Zarda Complex
Box Score

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The No. 25 Evangel Crusader football team forced five turnovers Saturday to hold off Avila, 34-14, and stay perfect in Heart of America Athletic Conference South Division action.

The Crusaders improve to 4-0 in the Heart South Division and set up a possible title game with No. 2 Baker next Saturday.

Evangel took a 13-7 lead into halftime after two field goals from Derek Roberts and a 13-yard touchdown pass from Cameron Hardesty to Chance Smith.

However, Avila stormed out of the locker room and marched 76-yards in nine plays as a 39-yard pass and catch from Tristan Askan to Theo Berry gave the Eagles a 14-13 lead. On the ensuing possession, Evangel would answer driving 60-yards in nine plays to regain the lead with 1:34 left in the third quarter.

A 16-yard pass to Zayne Kyser helped save the drive, and Hardesty found Dallas Hester down the sideline for a 40-yard completion to help set up the touchdown. Terry Robinson scored from 1-yard to put Evangel up 20-14.

Evangel would stop Avila on its next four drives with two interceptions and a fourth down stop with 7:00 left in the game. In total, the Crusaders picked off the Eagles five times in the game with two of the picks leading to touchdowns.

The first interception set up Robinson's run in the first half as the second put the game out of reach when Zayne Kyser dove for the pylon for the score. Kyser led Evangel with 71-yards on 16 carries and the late score.

Zeke Kuyawa finished with 33-yards on five carries as Robinson added 17-yards for Evangel.

Cameron Hardesty was 15-of-26 passing for 172 yards and two touchdowns. The second came in the fourth quarter after a missed field goal and a fourth down stop, Hardesty connected with Brady Collier for his fifth touchdown of the season.

Hester led Evangel with six catches for 96-yards as Hardesty connected with eight different receivers in the game.

Brady Dawson led Evangel with ten tackles as Josh Evans finished with eight tackles and one sack.

Interceptions for Evangel came from Dawson, Andrew Poppen, Jeno Bottinelli and ZaKorey Barr.

Up Next
Evangel can clinch a regular season Heart South Division Championship and earn a bid to the NAIA Playoffs next week with a win over No. 2 Baker. Kickoff from Tiger Stadium in Ozark is scheduled for 12 p.m.

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