Score: #8 Evangel 34, Graceland 17
Records: Evangel (7-0); Graceland (0-6)
Location: Lamoni, Iowa | Hunstman Field
LAMONI, Iowa – The 8th-ranked Evangel football team put nearly a perfect ribbon on the final crossover and non-conference matchup of the season Saturday afternoon.
The Crusaders scored early and often taking a 34-17 win at Graceland to stay perfect and improve to 7-0 on the year.
A complete team effort saw the defense pick off Graceland four times as Maurice Downey ended the Yellowjackets first drive at midfield with his second interception of the year.
The Crusaders scored on a quarterback sneak from Hardesty to finish off a five play 50-yard drive that took just over two minutes. After holding Graceland to a turnover on downs, Evangel increased its lead to 20-0 with Darrius Lee scored from 1-yard out.
The sixth touchdown run of the year for Lee was set up when Hardesty 3 of 4 on the drive with big plays from Collier and Dallas Hester to get inside the Graceland 3-yard line. Hester would score on a 69-yard pass and catch in the second half after the defense stopped the 'Jackets on their opening drive of the half.
Hester finished with his second 100-yard receiving game of the year as his score put Evangel up 27-3 with 11:27 left in just the third quarter.
Evangel capped a third-quarter drive with a 3-yard run from Fabian Cuveilje to push the lead to 34-3.
The Evangel defense was outstanding again allowing just three points until the final nine minutes of the game.
Joining Downey with an interception included Andrew Poppen, Dalton Taylor, and Micah Daniels. Andreas Moeller tallied one of the two sacks for the Crusaders as well as four tackles for a loss, while Sam Morton led the way with nine tackles. Morton also had the other Evangel sack.
Hardesty finished 13 of 19 for 290 yards and two scores through the air in addition to one of the ground.
Evangel opens Heart South Division action next Saturday at home against Central Methodist. Kickoff from Tiger Stadium in Ozark is scheduled for 12 p.m.
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.