After being down 13-3 in the second quarter, fifth-seeded Archbishop Shaw scored 17 unanswered points in their comeback victory over 12th-seeded Evangel Christian.
Shaw’s physicality up front was too much for the Evangel offense as they limited one of the state’s most prolific passing attacks to just 130 passing yards. The defense also forced two turnovers as Dallas Boerne recorded an interception and freshman defensive back Rontrae Carter forced a critical fumble that was recovered by Boerne in the fourth quarter.
“We’re the West Bank, we’re tough man,” legendary Archbishop Shaw head coach Hank Tierney said about his team’s resiliency. “They say it is the water we drink but the tradition at Shaw is to be tough and physical and our kids showed that tonight.”
In his second stint at the school, Tierney is still teaching the philosophy of “West Bank Tough”, which is something that had been taught during the school’s heyday when Tierney roamed the sidelines from 1983 to 2001, resulting in 185 wins, 12 district titles and a state title win in 1987, which remains the school’s and Tierney’s only sate title as a head coach.
Junior Archbishop Shaw quarterback Mason Wilson completed four of his seven passes for 131 yards and a touchdown. Wilson also had 22 carries for 200 yards and a touchdown. Shaw wide receiver Caleb Williams also had two receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown.
Evangel got the ball first and scored within the first minutes of the game when Peyton Fulghum found his twin brother Peyton for a 52-yard touchdown, making it the 17th time the twins connected for a touchdown this season. However, the extra point was missed, making it a 6-0 ballgame.
After Archbishop Shaw kicker Henry Zelaya nailed a 43-yard field goal to narrow Evangel’s lead, Tyreek Robinson would take the snap as the wildcat quarterback and raced to the pylon for a 17-yard touchdown to give the Eagles a 13-3 lead with 11:52 left in the first half.
However, Archbishop Shaw would march down the field and Mason Wilson capped off the long drive with a 10-yard touchdown run from Wilson, which would remain the score going into halftime.
On the second play of the second half, Archbishop Shaw would take its first lead of the game when Wilson threw a quick pass to Williams who then left everyone in the dust for an 82-yard touchdown pass to give Archbishop Shaw a 17-13 lead.
After Archbishop Shaw forced Evangel to fumble in the final seconds of the third quarter, Shaw drove the ball up to Evangel’s 3-yard line. However, Evangel’s front seven held on and forced Shaw to attempt a field goal where Zelaya would make his second field goal of the game to make the score 20-13 with 4:51 left to go in the game.
Evangel would have one more time to have a shot at keeping their season alive, but the Shaw defense forced the Evangel offense to turn the ball over on downs.
Archbishop Shaw (9-2) will advance to the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year in a row. The program has not advanced to the quarterfinals in back-to-back years since 2007-2008 which was during a stretch where the Eagles went to three straight state title appearances from 2006-2008. That’s a long time considering how much success Shaw has had and even Tierney could not believe it.
That shows you how far Archbishop Shaw’s football program had fallen off. Despite making three straight state title game appearances from 2006-2008 under then-head coach Scott Bairnsfather, Archbishop Shaw had a 47-90 record from 2009 to 2021 and only had a winning season once. In just two years into Tierney’s return, Archbishop Shaw has a record of 18-5 and has two district titles to its name.
Evangel (7-5) left a lot to be desired as the Eagles lost its fifth game of the season, which is also the fifth straight season that the program has done so. The Eagles have not won a playoff game on the road since 2018 where they beat C.E. Byrd 37-17. Evangel also hasn’t won a road playoff game that wasn’t located in Shreveport since 2016, which was the year they defeated both John Curtis Christian and St. Paul’s on the road en route to their 14th and most recent state title.