Score: Evangel 28, #12 Benedictine 21
Records: Evangel (3-0); Benedictine (2-1)
Location: Ozark, Mo. | Tiger Stadium
OZARK, Mo. – A late drive in the final minutes came up short as the Evangel football team knocked off 12th-ranked Benedictine 28-21 on Saturday night in Heart of America Athletic Conference action.
Evangel knocked off its third consecutive nationally ranked team to improve to 3-0 on the season as Benedictine fell to 2-1 on the season.
The Crusaders stopped the Ravens on the 2-yard line as time expired when Dalton Taylor tackled Marquis Stewart. Benedictine took over with 1:47 left in the game and drove into Evangel territory before calling a timeout with six seconds left. A pass from Shaefer Schuetz was caught by Stewart, but his effort to get into the end zone came up two yards short.
Twenty-one points for Evangel came near the end of the second quarter through the middle of the fourth to help the Crusaders build a 28-14 lead.
Hardesty would connect with Jansen Acklin in the corner of the end zone as Acklin pulled the one-handed score in to extend the lead to 21-14 in the third quarter. Hardesty finished 23 of 33 for 264 yards and two scores to help Evangel take the lead before the final score in the fourth quarter.
Darrius Lee capped a six play 85-yard drive as he broke loose down the visitor's sideline with the 29-yard footrace culminating in the Crusader end zone. Lee led Evangel in rushing with 66 yards on 13 carries while Zayne Kyser added 35 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown coming in the first quarter.
Defensively, Evangel sacked the Ravens four times with Telacey Wilder bringing down the quarterback twice. Micah Daniels led Evangel with 11 tackles and two tackles for a loss and a sack, while Jeno Bottinelli and Sam Morton each tallied seven tackles.
Both teams finish with over 400 yards of total offense, however, Evangel won the turnover battle with an interception by Bottinelli and a fumble recovery in the first half.
The win over the nationally ranked Ravens is the third for the Evangel football team this season with the 'sweet victory'. St. George's Donuts is a proud sponsor of all Crusader victories over nationally ranked opponents.
Evangel hits the road for the first time in 2018 next Saturday at Peru State. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. from Peru, Nebraska.
For the latest information on Evangel Athletics, follow the Crusaders on Facebook at Facebook.com/EUAthletics 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.