Bethany College ended the 2017 season with a 65-21 loss to 17th ranked Tabor College on Saturday afternoon in Hillsboro. Bethany ended the season with four consecutive losses, after starting 5-1 and sniffing the Top 25 for the first time since 2011.
Although the final score was lopsided, it didn’t start pretty for the Bluejays. Tabor took the opening drive from its own 25 yard line, and marched 17 plays downfield. However, the drive stalled at the Bethany 7, and Tabor was forced to settle for a field goal. The kick was blocked, and Bethany took over with the score still 0-0. After a 3-and-out by the Bethany offense, Tabor’s Curry Parham threw just his 5th interception of the season when he was picked off by Bethany’s Deauntre Roberts. Roberts, making his second straight start at cornerback, had his third INT in the last 2 games.
After another Bethany punt, Tabor’s Parham found senior Zach Johnson for a 39 yard strike, giving Tabor a 6-0 lead with 0:05 left in the 1st quarter. Tabor scored on their next two offensive series’, pushing their lead to 20-0 with 10:06 to go in the 2nd period. Star running back, and the KCAC’s leading rusher, Drevion Cooper got in on the fun with a 27 yard touchdown run with 2:44 to go in the 2nd frame. Tabor then kicked a field goal right before the half to take a 31-0 lead into the locker room.
Bethany’s Isaiah Salazar had his best two drives of the contest to start the third quarter. The junior quarterback led Bethany on a 8 play, 69 yard scoring drive, capped off by a 14 yard touchdown to Mike Milbourne with 10:55 left in the 3rd. After another Cooper touchdown run, he then found Milbourne for a second time on a 25 yard hookup with 6:38 remaining in the 3rd. It was Tabor on top, 38-14.
Cooper found pay dirt for the third time late in the 3rd, making it 45-14 Tabor with 3:22 left in the session. Bethany’s Salazar then threw a pick-6 to Sean Kelley on the final play of the period, giving Tabor a 51-14 lead heading to the 4th.
After two more rushing touchdowns, Tabor pulled their starters with just over 8:00 left in the game. Bethany freshman quarterback Bryce Banks found Rodney Molette with an over the shoulder fade in the closing seconds, giving the young QB his 3rd touchdown in the final 2 games of the season.
Cooper rushed for a career high 324 yards, giving him over 1,000 yards on the season. Parham rushed for 65 yards on 8 carries, and found the end zone twice on the ground and twice through the air. He was 14-32 passing, with 190 yards.
Bethany’s Salazar finished 11-20, for 169 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Banks was 6-16 for 76 yards, with 1 touchdown.
Bethany finished the 2017 season 5-5, a four game improvement from 2016. Tabor clinched a share of the KCAC Championship, and finished 8-2 overall, 8-1 in league play.
By James Westling