SHREVEPORT — Nic Brossette put University Lab on his back and gave his team four touchdowns and 341 yards rushing Friday night at Rodney Duron Field.
But the Evangel duo of Dakota Duron and Trent Taylor helped the Eagles outlast University 52-45 in a Class 2A semifinal.
Evangel (12-2), which has won nine straight games, advances to the Superdome next week to face No. 1-ranked John Curtis (13-0), a 55-0 winner over Springfield.
The game wasn’t decided until the last play, when University quarterback Nik Kragthorpe heaved a desperation pass. It was a jump ball, which Taylor intercepted at the Evangel 20.
Trailing 45-44, Evangel marched 67 yards on 11 plays for the winning TD. Taylor, who caught 14 passes for 201 yards, got behind the defense for a 12-yard reception from Duron with 2:59 left on the clock.
The Eagles went for two, and Duron found Taylor again for the two-point conversion and the winning margin.
Brossette made it difficult for Evangel to bring him down all night. He had 61 yards and six carries on the TD drive that put University ahead 44-39 with 9:52 remaining. On the next-to-last play of the drive, Brossette’s helmet was knocked off on a 6-yard run to the Evangel 2.
Jarrod Franklin replaced Brossette for one play and scored the touchdown.
Javin Webb was a workhorse for Evangel with 29 carries for 178 yards, but Duron and Taylor handled the big plays for Evangel’s offense.
Duron completed 27 of 37 passes for 338 yards and two touchdowns.
“We knew it would be a great football game, because University is a great football team,” Evangel coach Phillip Deas said. “We knew it was going to be a four-quarter fight. That’s what it turned into, and we were fortunate to make some plays.”
University coach Chad Mahaffey saw his team finish its season at 12-2 and also had its 11-game winning streak snapped.
Evangel marched 69 yards after the opening kickoff as Webb went the final 20 yards by breaking a couple of arm tackles. University’s John Trusty blocked the extra point to give the Eagles a 6-0 lead.
The Eagles made it 13-0 when they capitalized on an interception by Brendan Everage at the University 20. Three plays later, Webb darted scored from the 2.
University finally got it going to start the second quarter. Brossette bulled his way over tacklers the final three yards to finish a 10-yard touchdown run that cut Evangel’s lead to 13-7 after the PAT.
Webb added a seven-yard touchdown run on Evangel’s next possession.
But Brossette wouldn’t be outdone. His seven-yard run TD run came with 6:39 left in the second quarter. The highlight of the drive was a 32-yard pass play from Kragthorpe to Manny Miles, who finished with five catches for 68 yards.
Kragthorpe completed 13 of 19 passes for 231 yards but had four interceptions.
Brossette also added a 10-yard run before halftime to tie the game at 20, but Josh Davis kicked a 23-yard field goal for Evangel with three second left to give the Eagles a 23-20 advantage at the break.
The third quarter was back-and-forth. Brossette didn’t let the fans get settled in their seats as he took the ball on University’s first possession and raced 80 yards for the touchdown. He broke four tackles along the way as he put the Cubs back on top 26-23.
But Evangel came right back on a really weird play. Duron hit Taylor for a 10-yard pass completion. Taylor fumbled and Franklin recovered for University.
But Franklin put the ball on the ground. Taylor scooped it up and ran 72 yards for the touchdown, giving Evangel a 30-26 edge.
Chris Moore made his presence felt for the Cubs next with a 64-yard touchdown grab from Kragthorpe that put University ahead 33-30 with 7:58 left in the third quarter.
But Webb came right back with a 1-yard TD run and a 37-33 Evangel lead.
Taylor’s 44-yard TD catch from Duron gave Evangel its largest lead of the night with 28 seconds remaining before the beginning of the fourth quarter.
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