Evangel holds off Peru State for first win

OZARK, Mo. – Big plays in the second half helped propel the Evangel football team to a 21-19 win over Peru State Saturday night at Tiger Stadium.

After both teams traded scores in the first half Evangel was able to strike first with a 73-yard touchdown pass and catch from Cameron Hardesty to Dallas Hester. Hester out raced the Bobcat defense to score his first touchdown of the season and give Evangel a 14-7 lead with 2:49 left in the third quarter.

Evangel would extend its lead on a screen pass to Zayne Kyser as he raced 48-yards for the score as the third quarter ended. Kyser finished with two scores, one rushing and one receiving as he carried 17 times for 61 yards.

Peru State would drive to start the fourth quarter and score from 8-yards out as Travis Carnahan reached the end zone on a quarterback keeper. However, Josh Evans blocked the extra point to keep the Evangel lead at 21-13.

After a quick three-and-out, Peru State answered with an 11-play 80-yard drive to pull within 21-19 after Myles Williams intercepted the two-point conversion attempt. Evangel would give the Bobcats the ball back after the ensuing drive stalled.

With the game on the line, Peru State lined up for a 47-yard field goal that missed to the left giving the Crusaders the ball back with 8 seconds on the clock. A quick kneel down gave Evangel its first win of the season.

Hardesty finished the night 11-of-19 for 200-yards and two touchdowns, connecting with Hester and Kyser. Hester caught three passes as he crossed the 100-yard mark for the third time in his career with 110-yards.

Defensively, Isaiah Daniels led Evangel with 15 tackles while Micah Daniles added 13 tackles and 1.0 tackle for a loss. Josh Evans finished with 12 tackles, 2.0 sacks and 4.0 tackles for a loss in the win.

Evangel returns to the road next Saturday at Culver-Stockton to continue Heart Cross Division action. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.