Evangel Football Finishes No. 17 in NAIA Coaches Top 25 Poll

Evangel Football Finishes No. 17 in NAIA Coaches Top 25 Poll

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Evangel football team finished No. 17 in the final NAIA Football Coaches' Top 25 Poll released by the organization.

Despite finishing 9-2 on the season and holding wins over No. 15 Grand View and national runner-up Benedictine, the Crusaders dropped from No. 14 to No. 17. The Crusaders two losses came to No. 5 Baker and MidAmerica Nazarene during the 2018 season.

The Heart of America Athletic Conference saw four teams ranked in the Top 25 and placed a team in the national championship game for the second time in three seasons. Benedictine fell in Saturday's championship game, 35-28, against Morningside as Baker and Grand View joined the Crusaders in the final poll.

Evangel is set to return over 85 percent of its production in 2019 on both sides of the ball. As a team, the Crusaders ranked in the top 10 nationally including, third in sacks per game, fifth in scoring defense, sixth in total sacks, sixth in rushing defense, and eighth in total defense. Evangel also ranked 15th in fewest sacks allowed on the offensive side of the ball.

Top 25 Highlights (historical information dates back to 1999)

  • Morningside scored to take the lead for good on a 16-yard connection from Trent Solsma to Connor Niles.
  • Benedictine finishes 2018 No. 2 overall, its highest ranking to conclude a season. Overall, the last time the Ravens were as high as No. 2 in the poll was on Sept. 24, 2002.
  • The Baker (Kan.) Wildcats checked-in at No. 5. It is the highest ranking for the team since Oct. 30, 2017 when the squad from Baldwin City, Kan., was ranked No. 2.
  • Saint Francis (Ind.) and Kansas Wesleyan both jumped into the top five after completing their seasons in the NAIA Football Championship Series Semifinal Round.
  • Saint Xavier (Ill.) made the biggest jump. The team rose 10 spots from 17 to seven. The Cougars provided perhaps the biggest upset of the championship after handing then-No. 2 Marian (Ind.) a 34-21 loss in the first round.
  • Carroll (Mont.) owns the most No. 1-rankings with 57, followed by former NAIA member Sioux Falls (S.D.) (55) Morningside (28), Georgetown (Ky.) (25) and Marian (22).
  • Morningside holds the longest active streak with 149-straight Top 25 mentions.

Poll Methodology

  • The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences.
  • Each conference is given one rater for every four schools in the league.
  • The Top 25 is determined by a points system based on how each voter ranks the best teams. A team receives 25 points for each first-place vote, 24 for second-place and so on through the list.
  • The highest and lowest ranking for each team (a non-rating is considered a low rating) is removed and the team's ranking will be recalculated with an additional point added to each team for every ballot (including discounted ballots) that the teams appear on.
  • Teams that receive only one point in the ballot are not considered "receiving votes."
  • For the complete Top 25 calendar, click here.

2018 NAIA Football Coaches' Top 25 Poll – Postseason (Dec. 18)

RANK

LAST WEEK

SCHOOL [1st Place Votes]

RECORD

FINAL POINTS

1

1

Morningside (Iowa) [16]

15-0

366

2

7

Benedictine (Kan.)

13-2

352

3

8

Saint Francis (Ind.)

10-3

338

4

6

Kansas Wesleyan

13-1

324

5

12

Baker (Kan.)

9-3

289

6

13

Concordia (Mich.)

10-3

282

7

17

Saint Xavier (Ill.)

9-4

271

8

15

Dickinson State (N.D.)

9-3

269

9

2

Marian (Ind.)

10-1

262

10

3

Bethel (Tenn.)

10-1

237

11

4

Reinhardt (Ga.)

9-2

220

12

5

Northwestern (Iowa)

9-2

216

12

11

Cumberlands (Ky.)

10-2

216

14

9

Langston (Okla.)

9-2

186

15

10

Grand View (Iowa)

8-3

184

16

16

Rocky Mountain (Mont.)

8-4

161

17

14

Evangel (Mo.)

9-2

145

18

18

Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)

7-3

127

19

19

Georgetown (Ky.)

7-3

111

20

20

Ottawa (Kan.)

8-2

87

21

21

Southeastern (Fla.)

7-3

79

22

22

College of Idaho

6-5

66

23

23

Dordt (Iowa)

7-3

47

24

24

Eastern Oregon

6-4

39

25

25

Siena Heights (Mich.)

7-3

22

Dropped from the Top 25: Arizona Christian.

Others Receiving Votes: Arizona Christian 20, Montana Western 5, Southern Oregon 5, Tabor (Kan.) 3.

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.

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