By MATT VINES, Journal Sports
MARRERO – Evangel put together another of its patented fast starts Friday, building a 10-point lead against No. 5 seed Archbishop Shaw in the second round of the Division II Select playoffs.
But unlike so many times this season, the No. 12 seed Eagles couldn’t maintain control as Shaw scored the final 17 points of a 20-13 Evangel loss.
Mistakes and turnovers kept ECA off the board for basically the final three quarters.
“We made some critical mistakes and had a few turnovers, and it was frustrating to not be able to hold the line and execute in the later quarters,” said Evangel coach Denny Duron. “We wish we could have a few of those moments back, but our kids played hard all night long.
“Hats off to Hank Tierney and this Shaw program, a class program. We just couldn’t put enough of our moments together tonight.”
Evangel (7-5) started strong by leaping to a 13-3 lead by the early stages of the second quarter.
Quarterback Peyton Fulghum connected with brother Parker Fulghum from 52 yards out to open the scoring with a 6-0 lead on Evangel’s first possession.
It turned out to be the final time the Fulghum twins hooked up on a scoring pass in their Evangel careers. Both Fulghum brothers finished among the state leaders in their respective categories, according to geauxpreps.com.
Shaw (9-2) kicker Henry Zelaya answered with a 42-yard field goal to halve Evangel’s edge, 6-3.
Evangel running back Tyreek Robinson sprinted to a 17-yard touchdown run out of the Wildcat, widening the gap to 13-3.
But those were the final points Evangel could muster from an offense that’s eclipsed the 40-point mark seven times this season. Shaw’s defense locked down on the visitors.
Shaw quarterback Mason Wilson had a hand in both of the Eagles’ touchdowns in their comeback bid.
He scored on a 10-yard run midway through the second quarter to slice Evangel’s advantage to 13-10.
Receiver Caleb Williams escaped on a crossing route over the middle of the field on an 82-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to snatch a 17-13 lead in the opening minute of the third quarter.
Neither team could put together much offensively in the second half as the score remained unchanged until midway through the fourth quarter.
With the threat of trailing by multiple scores, ECA’s defense made a goal line stand in which they turned Shaw away three times inside the 5-yard line.
Zelaya chipped in a 23-yard field goal to push Shaw’s edge to 20-13 with 4:51 remaining.
“Our defense played especially well tonight, and they gave us a chance by keeping it to one score,” Duron said. “This team is a great group of young men, and it’s been a joy to watch them grow and develop.”
Evangel appeared to be in business when Robinson ripped off a big kick return to push deep into Shaw territory, but a block-in-the-back penalty wiped out the return and pinned the Eagles back.
Shaw’s defense forced a missed fourth-down conversion with three minutes left to seal its ninth straight win after an 0-2 start to the season.
For the second time in as many seasons, Evangel’s playoff run ended with a close second-round road loss in South Louisiana.
Evangel fell to No. 4 seed E.D. White of Thibodaux this past season by a score of 32-29.
As a program, the Eagles have hoisted 14 state championships in a 24-year span from 1993-2006.
But the last trip Evangel made to the quarterfinals came in 2018, which means no current Eagle has experienced a deeper playoff round than the second.