SHREVEPORT — Evangel’s stingy interchangeable 3-4 and 4-2-5 defense held Holy Cross to only one score while winning 42-7 in the second round of the Division I playoffs on a muddy and slick playing field at Rodney Duron Stadium.
“Our defense has been great all year long, and we had a wake-up call in our last two district games because we gave up more points than we had all year,” Dawson said. “We have responded, and the key is to peak at the right time.”
The first half featured both defenses bending but not breaking until late in the first quarter. That’s when Eagles running back Jamarqueza Mims broke through three arm tackles and scored on a 25-yard scamper.
Seconds before the end of the first quarter, Evangel defensive back Patrick Jones returned an interception 35 yards to put the Eagles up 12-0 after two failed extra points.
Holy Cross got on the scoreboard with 7.9 seconds remaining in the second quarter when Chandler Fields found his tight end Tyler Lamm on a 9-yard scoring strike. The Tigers went into halftime trailing 12-7.
However, the Eagles quickly snuffed out the Tigers’ momentum starting with and drive-ending interception by Orlando Puryear with 9:41 left in the third quarter.
A few plays later the Tigers muffed a punt, and the Eagles recovered. Mims then scored on a 10-yard run. Mims then completed a halfback pass to tight end Jeremias Houston for the two-point conversion and 20-7 lead .
“Well you know it was good for the guys who were hurt to have some time off and not have to deal with the physicality of a Friday Night game,” Dawson said bout a bye last week. “I was proud of how we worked and practiced, and it was a great off week of work.”
On the ensuing drive Tigers running back Ashton Smith fumbled the ball, and it was recovered by the Eagles Jarrick Bernard to set up excellent field position.
The Eagles’ DJ Anderson scored on 2-yard run and also converted the two-point conversion for a 28-7 lead.
Evangel’s defense added another score when Alex Elam returned an interception 34 yards for a touchdown.