For a half, the Haughton Buccaneers went toe-to-toe with the No. 5-ranked team in Class 5A. But the Evangel Eagles used a big third-quarter to pull away for a 45-21 District 1-5A victory Friday night in Haughton.
The Bucs dropped to 5-4 overall with their fourth straight loss and 1-4 in district. Haughton closes the season Friday against Captain Shreve (3-6, 1-4), which defeated Loyola 24-21 in a non-district game Thursday night.
Haughton will be going to the playoffs regardless of the outcome of the Shreve game. The Bucs could even host a first-round game. Haughton was No. 21 in the latest LHSAA power ratings released Tuesday, but No. 15 among non-select schools. The top 16 teams will host first-round games.
Evangel improved to 8-1 overall with its eighth straight victory and 5-0 in district. The Eagles clinched a share of the district title and can win it outright with a victory over Byrd on Thursday at Lee Hedges Stadium.
Byrd (8-1, 4-1) and Parkway (8-1, 4-1) are tied for second. If Byrd defeats Evangel and Parkway downs Airline, the Yellow Jackets, Eagles and Panthers will share the title. If Airline defeats Parkway and Byrd wins, the Yellow Jackets and Eagles will be co-champs.
Evangel took an early lead on Connor Curry’s TD pass to Corey Henderson. Haughton rallied quickly as Darius Brooks hit Antonio Woodfork with a 63-yard TD pass. Nico Broadway’s PAT tied it at 7.
Evangel regained the lead on Curry’s 2-yard TD run. But Brooks hooked up with Josh Lister for a 10-yard TD pass and the game was tied at 14 at the half.
The Eagles took control with four TDs in the final eight minutes of the third quarter. Curry scored on a 2-yard run and hit Tanner Ash twice for touchdowns.
The Bucs got back within two touchdowns on Pryce Curry’s 53-yard TD pass to Josh Lister. But the Eagles scored again on a 55-yard pass from Curry to Jamarquez Mims.
Brooks completed 10 of 18 passes for 144 yards with one interception. Pryce Curry was four of six for 69 yards.
Woodfork and Lister both had big games. Woodfork caught four passes for 119 yards. Lister caught seven for 90.
The Bucs had only 18 yards on the ground.
Cade Thompson led the Bucs defense with seven solo tackles and one assist. Terrence Sweeney had three solos and four assists.
— Russell Hedges, email@example.com