by Evangel Athletics
The Evangel football team finished No. 17 in the final NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll released by the organization.
Despite finishing 9-2 on the season and holding wins over No. 15 Grand View and national runner-up Benedictine, the Crusaders dropped from No. 14 to No. 17. The Crusaders two losses came to No. 5 Baker and MidAmerica Nazarene during the 2018 season.
The Heart of America Athletic Conference saw four teams ranked in the Top 25 and placed a team in the national championship game for the second time in three seasons. Benedictine fell in Saturday’s championship game, 35-28, against Morningside as Baker and Grand View joined the Crusaders in the final poll.
Evangel is set to return over 85 percent of its production in 2019 on both sides of the ball. As a team, the Crusaders ranked in the top 10 nationally including, third in sacks per game, fifth in scoring defense, sixth in total sacks, sixth in rushing defense, and eighth in total defense. Evangel also ranked 15th in fewest sacks allowed on the offensive side of the ball.