After an 0-3 start, the Evangel Christian Academy Eagles proved they’re still the team to beat with a 56-20 victory over the Parkway Panthers in a District 1-5A opener Friday night at Rodney Duron Field.
Evangel, which faced a tough early schedule, improved to 1-3 overall. The Eagles have lost one district game since moving up to 1-5A in 2015. They won the outright title the last two seasons and shared it with Parkway and Byrd in 2015.
The Panthers hung with the Eagles early. After Evangel took a 7-0 lead, Kentravious Morris recovered a muffed punt at the Eagles 29. Caleb Shearin picked up his own fumble and raced to the 10. Alijah Barnett went seven yards to the 3 and scored on the next play.
The Panthers had a miscue on the PAT attempt and trailed 7-6 with 4:51 left in the first quarter.
Evangel answered with a TD, but Parkway got within two early in the second quarter on a 57-yard pass from Gabe Larry to Kobe Gill. A pass on a two-point conversion attempt fell incomplete. Larry, a sophomore, was making his first start in place of his injured brother, Amani.
The Eagles then took control, scoring three unanswered touchdowns for a 35-12 halftime lead.
Parkway couldn’t stop Evangel running back Tamauge Sloan. According to The Times, Sloan rushed for 251 yards and four touchdowns. One of those was a 91-yard run.
Larry completed 10 of 25 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown in the second quarter.
He connected with Gill for a 60-yard TD in the third quarter. Gill finished with three receptions for 126 yards.
The Panthers had a difficult time moving the ball on the ground, gaining just 69 yards. Dan’Marquez Moore led the team with 29 yards on eight carries. Barnett had 21 on six.
David Bennett was in on six tackles. Kaybien Smallwood and Jaden Jones were in on five each. Smallwood also recovered a fumble.
Parkway hosts Airline on Friday. The Vikings (1-3) defeated Southwood 35-0 Friday night at Airline.