LAMONI, Iowa – Second-half miscues cost the Evangel Valor football team a 46-35 setback Saturday evening at Graceland in Heart Conference cross-division non-conference action.
Evangel built a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and added a third touchdown in the second quarter to take a 21-0 lead with 12:01 left in the half. However, Graceland scored three times on Valor turnovers and blocked a punt to overtake Evangel with a 39-28 lead midway through the third quarter.
The Valor would make it a one-possession game at 39-35 on the final play of the third quarter on a 69-yard pass and catch from Hayden Conrad to Dillon Hester. Conrad finished 19-of-39 for 237 yards and two touchdowns, and two interceptions, while Hester led the way receiving with eight catches for 190 yards. Hester also scored twice, joining Josh Tips and Michael Murry.
A third interception would end a Valor drive in the fourth quarter as the Yellowjackets managed to punch it in the endzone on a 63-yard touchdown catch from Reggie Wilson with 8:12 left in the game.
Both teams tallied over 400 yards of total offense, but three interceptions and two blocked kicks helped hold Evangel at bay.
The Valor would make a final drive and seemingly score a touchdown with just under two minutes left in the game. However, the officials called the catch incomplete, and Evangel would come up short, turning the ball over on downs with 50 seconds left in the game.
RJ Wakley also threw a pair of touchdowns, going 9-for-13 for 110 yards and an interception in the loss.
While neither team was efficient behind the chains, Evangel was just 3-of-17 on third downs and 0-for-2 on fourth down. Graceland did convert twice on fourth down, going 2-for-3, and was also 7-of-21 on third downs.
The loss snaps a five-game win streak for the Valor against Graceland dating back to a 6-3 win for the Yellowjackets in 2015.
Evangel returns home next Saturday to host No. 22 Culver-Stockton at Eagle Stadium in Nixa. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.
For the latest information on Evangel Athletics, visit Facebook at Facebook.com/EvangelValor, Twitter (@EvangelValor), or EvangelAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on their favorite EU teams by downloading the Evangel Athletics Gameday App through the App Store or Google Play.