For Holy Cross, it was pretty much over after the opening kickoff.
Evangel Christian’s Orlando Puryear returned the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown and it was all downhill from there for Holy Cross in the Tigers’ 59-9 loss in the opening round of the Division I playoffs Friday night in Shreveport.
Holy Cross, the No. 12 seed, ended its season at 3-8. Evangel, the No. 5 seed, advanced to play at St. Paul’s, the No. 4 seed.
It marked the second year in a row the Tigers were eliminated from the playoffs by Evangel. The Eagles downed Holy Cross 42-7 in the second round of the 2015 playoffs.
By the time Evangel was done in Friday’s game against Holy Cross, the Eagles managed two touchdowns each from their special teams, offense and defense – all in the first half.
Holy Cross responded to Puryear’s kickoff return with a time-consuming drive that was culminated on a 6-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chandler Fields to Albion Ford.
The Eagles’ special teams were at it again, this time with Caleb LeBoy returning the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown.
Puryear and LeBoy’s kickoff returns represented quick scores for Evangel but that was nothing compared to a 21-point outburst for the Eagles to put the game away that took less than one minute.
It scoring barrage started with a 35-yard touchdown run by Evangel running back Tamauge Sloan.
After a pair of special teams touchdowns and an offensive score, it was time for the Evangel defense to join it. Davin Cotton returned a fumble on a botched flea-flicker for a touchdown.
Moments later, Jarrick Bernard picked off one of Fields’ four interceptions of the game to set up a 36-yard touchdown pass from Evangel quarterback Connor Curry to Christian Bailiff.
Another interception for a touchdown, this one by Evangel linebacker Bobby Bell, contributed to a 28-point second quarter for the Eagles.
All Holy Cross could manage was a field goal late in the second quarter as the Eagles put the game away by halftime.