Score: #6 Evangel 21, Central Methodist 14
Records: Evangel (8-0, 1-0); Central Methodist (3-4, 0-1)
Location: Ozark, Mo. | Tiger Stadium
OZARK, Mo. – A fall day turned into a wet slugfest Saturday as the 6th-ranked Evangel Crusaders fought off Central Methodist, 21-14, to stay undefeated on the season and win the Heart South Division opener for both teams.
After both teams punted on their opening drives, the Crusaders muffed a punt giving Central Methodist the ball at the Evangel 22-yard line. The Eagles needed just two plays to take a 7-0 lead over Evangel.
Evangel would take the lead early in the second quarter when Trey Talley pushed his way into the end zone capping a 5-play 48-yard drive. Talley and Ben Friend split time in the backfield for the Crusaders as each found the end zone on Saturday with Friend leading the way for 96 yards, while Talley added 21 yards on 11 carries.
A 14-7 lead wasn't enough as rains welcomed both teams to start the second half.
After trading possessions, Friend punched his first rushing touchdown from the goal line with 5:36 left in the third quarter. The score capped a 15 play 54-yard drive that took just over seven minutes off the clock to put the Crusaders up 21-7.
Central Methodist would answer almost immediately, scoring on the first play of the fourth quarter from 6 yards out after a 13 play drive. The Eagles rushed for 151 yards with 113 coming from Kaylon Johnson.
Closing out the game was the Evangel defense.
The Eagles ended the game 0-for-4 on fourth down as the Crusaders never broke. With four sacks, the Evangel defense was led by Sam Morton who tallied 11 tackles and 2.2 tackles for a loss with 0.5 a sack.
Micah Daniels also added 0.5 a sack while adding eight tackles for the Crusaders.
Evangel will host MidAmerica Nazarene next Saturday for Homecoming and Senior Day at Tiger Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 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.