By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports
It would take more than a light rainfall to dampen the spirits of Evangel fans at Rodney Duron Field Friday night.
After the Eagles had played on the road for seven straight weeks, they were taking on the Huntington Raiders in their Homecoming game on the beautiful new artificial turf field.
Spirits were dampened somewhat, however, as the teams gathered near midfield following Evangel’s 21-14 victory over Huntington in the District 1-4A matchup.
As the Eagles (5-4, 4-2) were celebrating the hard-fought victory over the Raiders (5-4, 4-2), Evangel junior Garrett Burns lay at midfield as medical personnel tended to the injured wide receiver and trainers waited for an ambulance to arrive.
“He’s unbelievable,” Evangel head coach Denny Duron said of Burns, who was on the ground for about five minutes at the beginning of the fourth quarter following a 19-yard run that put the Eagles at the Huntington 3-yard line. “He’s just amazing. He was himself tonight. That’s what he does.”
“He’s a tough kid,” Evangel quarterback Peyton Fulghum said of Burns, who gains more yards after contact than most players gain before.
Burns, who had 125 yards rushing on 16 carries before leaving with the injury, was sandwiched between Huntington defenders at the end of the 19-yard run. Two plays later, Peyton Fulghum found his brother Parker for a 5-yard touchdown pass that put the Eagles up 21-8 with 6:51 left in the game.
“We overcame a lot of stuff tonight,” said Duron, whose Eagles trailed 8-7 at the half.
Evangel got on the board first when Jamal Jordan intercepted a Jamarion Washington pass and ran it back 44 yards for a touchdown. With Kaegan Kent’s PAT, the Eagles took an early 7-0 lead.
Washington got the start at quarterback as Kam Evans’ shoulder injury kept the Huntington star, the state’s second-leading passer, on the sidelines. Evans is “day-to-day” and hopes to be back in the lineup for the Raiders’ final regular-season game against Bossier next Thursday.
Huntington took the lead midway through the second quarter as John Solomon followed a 64-yard run with a 1-yard TD and then ran in the 2-point conversion to put the Raiders up 8-7.
Solomon had 123 yards rushing in the first half and finished the game with 131 yards on 13 carries.
Evangel recaptured the lead (14-8) three minutes into the third quarter when Damari Drake scored on a 9-yard run and Kent converted the PAT. Kent was 3-for-3 on the night. The Eagles’ defense, which held Huntington to just 48 yards rushing in the second half, caused a fumble and recovered it deep in Raiders’ territory to set the offense up on the go-ahead drive.
After Evangel padded the spread to 21-8 on the Fulghum family hookup, Huntington got within 7 points (21-14) with 4:58 remaining in the game when Washington connected with Kenton Brossett for a 30-yard touchdown.
“Defense played their tails off tonight,” Huntington head coach Stephen Dennis told his team following the loss.
The Raiders’ defense held the powerful Evangel passing attack in check and held Peyton Fulghum to just 65 yards on 12-of-19 passing with 1 TD.
“The effort was there tonight,” said Dennis. “We just didn’t make enough plays. So what do we do now? We go home, watch the film, proceed to get better, and get ready for Senior Night (against Bossier).”
Evangel closes out the regular season next Friday at Booker T. Washington.
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Evangel 21, Huntington 14
Score by quarters
Huntington | 0 | 8 | 0 | 6 | – 14
Evangel | 7 | 0 | 7 | 7 | – 21
E – Jamal Jordan 29 interception return (Kaegan Kent kick)
H – John Solomon 1 run (Solomon run)
E – Damari Drake 9 run (Kent kick)
E – Parker Fulghum 5 pass from Peyton Fulghum (Kent kick)
H – Kenton Brossett 30 pass from Jamarion Washington (run failed)
Huntington (34-166), John Solomon 13-131 1TD, Jamarion Washington 12-37, Jamarion Mims 5-2, Kaleb Tucker 1-2, Tre Carter 3-(-6).
Evangel (33-195), Garrett Burns 16-125, Dashawn Johnson 9-36, Damari Drake 5-32 1TD, Peyton Fulghum 3-2.
Huntington (6-8-1-73), Jamarion Washington 6-8-1-73 1TD.
Evangel (12-19-0-65), Peyton Fulghum 12-19-0-65 1TD.
Huntington, Kenton Brossett 2-39 1TD, Jarvis Davis 1-18, John Solomon 1-11, Jimmy Anderson 1-9, Carter 1-(-4).
Evangel, Judah Whorton 4-24, Parker Fulghum 3-17 1TD, Brayden Curry 3-13, Jackson Graham 1-11.