By Haley Stesiak
Northwest Christian defeated Payson Saturday night 31-13 to advance to the 3A semi-finals for the sixth time in the last seven years.
The Crusaders went up early in the first quarter with a 35-yard touchdown run by senior running back Caleb Egherman. After the score NCS had complete control.
“(Egherman) has been great for a long time,” head coach David Inness said. “He can run with power. I would not want to defend him if I was a coach, because you can’t find him.”
Throughout the night, the NCS offensive line was dominant, giving senior quarterback Tyler Worrell time in the pocket and Egherman time to find the gaps in the Longhorns’ defense.
“Our o-line has been getting a lot better,” Worrell said. “They won us this game today.”
Inness has seen his lineman grow on both sides of the ball.
“The key is our offensive line has gotten better and we have been very good defensively all year,” Inness said.
NCS has made several playoff runs in the past, but with this team, Inness said it’s a clean slate.
“It’s our first (semis) with these guys,” Inness said. “It’s got nothing to do with myself or the coaches. We’ve got great kids that work hard and play hard.”
This year’s team is resilient according to Egherman.
“We always seem to get the train rolling come playoff time,” Egherman said. “We’re just ready to keep going.”
Saturday night American Leadership beat Florence 38-21 to advance to the semi-finals on the other side of the 3A bracket. The Crusaders will face off with the Patriots at 2:00 p.m. at Williams Field High School next Saturday.