It's a 1,300 mile trip to Phoenix to face the Firestorm who are in their first year of existence.
That's of no concern for Crusader coach Brenton Illum
He's more concerned about his own team as it gets ready for the new season.
Evangel was 4-6 last year and was picked to finish sixth in the NAIA's Heart of America preseason poll.
The Crusaders return 30 letterman and 14 starters from last year's team.
And Illum will be leaning on that experience.
"After you've been here for awhile, that continuity is so magical," said coach Brenton Illum. "When guys know what to do without being coached. This program runs itself in so many ways now. Especially on the defensive side, we have so many older guys. Guys who have been contributing for us for a long time. They know what we expect."
"We have good depth. We have a lot of experience sophomores and seniors. And alot of incoming freshman so we'll have a good defense this year. I feel good about it. We had a good camp and everybody's ready. We have good players coming back so everyone's ready to play," said linebacker Kenny Bennett.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo--The high school football season will start a little later at a number of stadiums Friday night because of the heat.
The changes are more drastic in regard to the Nixa Eagles.
Rich Reheagen's Eagles were suppose to play at Jefferson City Helias Sunday afternoon on ESPNU.
But that game has now been moved up one day and they'll play the Crusaders Saturday night at 7:00 p.m.
No word on whether ESPNU will still televise the game.
It's one of a number of changes that will happen in week one because of the high temperatures forecast for Friday.
It's also fair to note, that this year's high school football schedule is one week earlier in the month of August than in previous years in order to accommodate the longer playoff schedule.
In addition to Nixa, the Springfield public schools announced that the games at Parkview, Hillcrest and Central will all start at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.
Waynesville also pushed it's home opener against West Plains back to 7:30 p.m.
Willard at Nevada has now been pushed back to 8:00 p.m. along with Catholic at Strafford and Ozark at Bolivar.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo--In our Bear Nation report, the Valley preseason soccer poll came out and Jon Leamy's Bears are picked to finish first.
And Wednesday night Missouri State played its first game on the new Allison South pitch against Missouri S&T in an exhibition.
Missouri State would waste no time getting on the board.
Jack Griffin centers this ball, its knocked around and Hoegg Emmerich is there to knock it in.
Later in the first half, S&T on the attack, but the Miner is tripped, that's a foul.
That sets up this free kick.
S&T's Mitch Morris heads the ball in to tie the game up at one.
But Missouri State goes onto win 2-1.
The first place Kansas City Royals wrapped up their short two game set in Colorado last night, with KC looking for a fourth straight win.
Alex Gordon gets things going in the top of the second when he takes this deep to right, a solo shot - it's 1-nothing, Royals.
KC adds to that in the fourth when Erik Kratz lines out to right, but that's good enough to score Josh Willingham - it's 2-nothing.
But the Rockies rally in the sixth, it's 2-1, bases loaded and Matt McBride takes one deep to left center, into the bleachers - a grand slam and it's 5-2, Colorado.
The Rockies end up snapping the Royals' winning streak 5-2.
The St. Louis Cardinals beat Cincinnati 7-3 - that four in a row for St. Louis and seven of their last eight.
While Springfield beat northwest Arkansas 2-1, that's four straight wins for Springfield.
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