After narrowly escaping an opening week upset bid by Booker T. Washington (OK), North Little Rock (AR) travels south of the border of ‘the boot’ to take on an Evangel Christian (LA) squad that wasn’t so lucky in its opener against Bishop Dunne (TX).
As it happens, all four teams will participate in this year’s 2018 Battle on the Border.
Who: North Little Rock (AR) vs. Evangel Christian (LA)
Where: Independence Bowl, Shreveport, LA
When: Friday, Sept. 7 at 8:30 PM CT
Watch: LIVE on FloFootball
Let’s start with the obvious: North Little Rock hasn’t lost much lately.
In its last 35 games dating back to the first weekend in October, 2015, Jamie Mitchell’s team has been defeated just twice—to Bentonville in the ’15 state semifinals and to Fayetteville in the ’16 title game.
The Charging Wildcats ended last season ranked No. 7 nationally by MaxPreps after winning the program’s first state title since 1970 and completing its first undefeated season in a dog’s age.
From the early ‘90s through 2006, Evangel Christian won every single state title that the state of Louisiana had to give away. A decade passed before Byron Dawson brought another one home to Shreveport in 2016—and, with that, the Eagles were back.
In an abbreviated 2017, Evangel lost only to national powerhouse Allen (TX) before falling by a score in the state playoffs. Out of the gates in 2018, however, the Eagles dropped their home opener to Bishop Dunne (TX).
Oscar Adaway Faces An Uphill Battle
North Little Rock running back Oscar Adaway is the focal point of the offense—and for good reason.
The 6-0, 208-pound North Texas-commit scored three times in last week’s one-point victory over Booker T. Washington and will again be the focal point of the Wildcats’ offense when the team takes the field against Evangel on Friday night.
The defense he will face is strong.
Evangel held Bishop Dunne to just 40 yards rushing on 26 carries. Bishop Dunne starter Jaden Hullaby carried 14 times for 12 yards.
If the Eagles are able to duplicate that sort of dominance at the Battle on the Border, NLR may have an issue.
Evangel Defense Needs Some Help
Thus far, in 2018, the Evangel offense has looked a little, um, rough.
The unit managed just 7 points in the preseason and was suffocated in its home opener against Bishop Dunne, rushing for just 82 yards on 26 carries and passing for 39 yards.
The defense, led by three-star SMU commit Elijah Chatman, kept the team in it—and they will every week. But, if the offense can get rolling for Evangel, this team has a chance to be special.
Prospects to Watch
- Oscar Adaway, RB, North Little Rock — 3-star, committed to North Texas
- Na’Drian Dizadare, LB, Evangel Christian — 3-star, committed to Oklahoma State
- Drew Martin, TE, North Little Rock — 3-star, committed to Memphis
- Elijah Chatman, DT, Evangel Christian — 3-star, committed to SMU