SHREVEPORT — On an absolutely beautiful Saturday afternoon at Independence Stadium, a really ugly high school football game was played at The Battle on The Border.
Evangel Christian Academy (1-1) managed a 21-6 victory over Warren Easton (1-1), but it was clear no one felt elated when the game was over.
The game, which started 25 minutes late, lasted 3 hours and 29 minutes. The “lowlights” were two ejections (one from each team), 31 penalties for 234 yards and 13 turnovers (seven interceptions and six lost fumbles).
“It was the most penalties I have ever had in coaching,” Warren Easton coach Tony Hull said. “We have to do a better job of coaching the kids.”
Raynell Beason was the offensive leader for the Fighting Eagles with 65 yards rushing on 12 attempts. But, Beason earned every yard against a stingy Evangel defense.
Hull tried everything and used two quarterbacks. Noah Berry got most of the action in the shotgun. Berry completed 16 of 40 passes and had four intercepted. Joseph Boyd didn’t have much luck, either, hitting on 1 of 6 passes for just 2 yards.
“We just need to understand the rules better the way the game is being called,” a frustrated Hull said about his team’s offensive futility. “I am very proud of my defense, though. My hat is off to them.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Evangel got things going in the second quarter following a 12-yard punt by Caldrick Williams. Evangel went 60 yards on seven plays.
Quarterback Connor Curry rolled to his right and then threw back to the left. Jamarquez Mims came out of the backfield to haul in the 16-yard TD pass to give Evangel a 7-0 lead with 10:54 left before halftime.
Defensive end Davin Cotton intercepted a tipped pass from Berry and returned it 16 yards for Evangel’s next touchdown and a 14-0 advantage.
Another short punt — 13 yards this time — set up Evangel with more great field position at the 19-yard line. Corey Henderson hauled in a 19-yard pass from Curry on the next play for the touchdown and Evangel had its scoring for the day.
Hull’s Eagles showed renewed enthusiasm in the third quarter. Trailing 21-0, Deshawn Meriweather made the big defensive play for when he recovered a Curry fumble at the Evangel 29.
Nick Bartholomew ran for 4 yards before Berry hit Richard Harris for a 24-yard gain to the 1. Berry then snuck behind a surge from his offensive line. That cut the deficit to 21-6 with 10:20 left in the third quarter.
Warren Easton’s defense held Evangel to just 21 points despite the penalties, turnovers and a 26.3-yard punting average by Williams. One of his punts went for zero yards in the fourth quarter to give Evangel a first down at the 10. But, the defense kept Evangel out of the end zone.
“I could not be prouder of our defense,” Evangel coach Byron Dawson said. “We got turnovers and we stayed focused throughout the game. There is no such thing as an ugly win because they don’t give you style points.”
Warren Easton actually won the turnover battle as its defense forced seven while its offense had five.
The Fighting Eagles had four fumble recoveries included in the turnovers.
Thomas Garner was a force on defense for Warren Easton with nine tackles, including six solo. He had two sacks for minus-5 yards. Devin Lewis added two sacks for minus-7 yards and also had nine tackles.