Sterling Rallies, Wins KCAC with Victory Over KWU
Mike Hammett - November 16, 2013 6:23 pm
The Kansas Wesleyan University football team played sharp for a half, but No. 16 Sterling used a stronger second half to rally and pull away in a 36-19 win over the Coyotes on Senior Day at Salina Stadium. Sterling clinched the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference title with the win.
The Coyotes started strong, opening the scoring with a 52-yard touchdown pass from Trey Dallas to Zach McClain, giving the Coyotes a 7-0 lead with 9:05 to go in the first quarter.
Sterling answered, returning the ensuing kickoff to the 33-yard line of KWU. Two plays later, the Warriors scored on a 36-yard pass from Reggie Langford to Antonio Bray, tying the game at 7.
The game remained scoreless into the early part of the second quarter, when the Coyotes recaptured the lead on a safety. Sterling’s long snapper sent the ball sailing over punter Eddie Juarez’s head, and Juarez was tackled in the end zone for the safety, putting KWU up 9-7 with 13:27 to go in the half.
After the free kick, the Coyotes needed just eight plays to score again, on a 29 yard run by Taylor Sachs off a lateral from quarterback Sam Vaughn, who played most of the game after Dallas was injured in the first quarter. KWU led 16-7.
The Coyotes added a 28-yard field goal by Terry Stecker to end the first half, taking a 19-7 lead to the locker room.
The second half was all Sterling, but it didn’t look that way immediately. Langford fumbled on the first play of the half, and the Coyotes recovered. However, Stecker missed a 36-yard field goal, and Sterling took over.
The Warrior drive would stall, but the Coyotes would start the next drive at the 6-yard line. Fullback Colby Donohue fumbled two plays later at the 10, and Sterling recovered. Three plays later, the Warriors celebrated a 1-yard touchdown run by Marquis Miller, pulling within five at 19-14 with 5:03 to go in the third quarter.
Stecker missed a 46-yard field goal on the next drive, and Sterling needed just one play to score, as Langford hit Bray for a 71-yard touchdown pass, putting Sterling up 22-19 after a two-point conversion.
Sterling added to the lead in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by Miller and a 92-yard pass from Langford to Bray. The Coyotes never threatened to score in the final frame.
Sterling was held to 290 yards of offense, but 257 of those yards came in the second half. Sterling was held to 68 rushing yards.
Kansas Wesleyan had 436 yards in the game. Vaughan was 12-for-32 passing for 164 yards and three interceptions. Taylor Sachs had 33 carries for 146 yards and a touchdown. The Coyotes committed five turnovers in the game.
It was the final game for 23 Kansas Wesleyan seniors, as the Coyotes celebrated senior day, and also what is planned to be the final game in Salina Stadium, with a brand new on-campus facility slated to open by the start of next season.
Sterling is 9-2 and is the KCAC champions at 8-1. The Warriors will await their playoff assignment. Kansas Wesleyan ends the season 4-7 overall and 3-6 in the KCAC.