SPRINGFIELD–In the 46 year history of the Evangel football program, the Valor have only had four perfect regular seasons. Two before the new millenia, and two after, including this fall.
So, armed with an unblemished record, all that was left to do was sit around and wait to hear their postseason fate.
Which is why Coach Hepola and the rest of the Valor hosted a team watch party at trask hall this evening. One by one, the 20 team field for the NAIA Football Championship Series were revealed, with Evangel earning the number 9 seed.
And while a top 10 ranking sounds great, it comes with a caveat. Because only the top 8 teams get a first round bye and the luxury of hosting a playoff game.
Now, you’d think after being one of a only couple undefeated teams, who beat three ranked opponents this fall, the Valor would’ve been a shoe-in for the top 8, well, you’d be wrong.
So, even though Coach Hepola and company will be on the road next Saturday, nothing was gonna take away from making the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
“Winning games is hard to do,” said Valor Head Coach Chuck Hepola. “And knowing how difficult it is just makes me more proud of our kids, our coaches, just the way we do things. Just proud that our kids are able to finish the regular season 11-0. Doesn’t happen very often, so we should embrace that and enjoy that and let’s go out and do well here in the playoffs.”
“It’s really exciting. It’s a lot of hard work,” said Valor quarterback RJ Wakley. “A lot of dedication that every single one of us has put in. The coaches, the players. Every single one of them has sacrificed and we’ve all sacrificed and put our bodies on the line. All for this.”