The Bethany Swedes had a business trip go bad Saturday afternoon in Leavenworth, as they fell 33-29 to University of Saint Mary.
Barely a year old, and still sporting its new car smell, Charles J. Berkel Memorial Stadium provided an electric atmosphere on Homecoming for the Spires.
After a Bethany punt, Saint Mary freshman running back Rhyler Estenbaum took his first career carry 56 yards to the house, and the Spires led 7-0 with 11:11 to go in the 1st.
Bethany threw an interception on their next series, which led to a 2-yard Zach Hilliard touchdown run, and found themselves down 14-0 with 7:17 left in the 1st.
The second quarter didn’t start any better for Bethany, as Spires quarterback Drew Cortez found Tae Turner for a 21 yard score to make it 21-0 with 11:54 on the clock.
Midway through the second session, Bethany finally woke up. Linebacker Kyle Williams intercepted Cortez, and 8 plays later, Bethany was on the board. Quarterback Isaiah Salazar found Mike Wimberly for a 27 yard touchdown with 6:15 left before the half.
After a Javan Moore pick near the goal line, Bethany found pay dirt on their next drive to cut the deficit to 7. Salazar hooked up with Wimberly on a 19 yard crossing pattern to make the score 21-14 with 3:14 in the 2nd. Saint Mary fumbled on the first play of their next drive, leading to Salazar finding Wimberly for another touchdown with 19 seconds remaining before halftime. The contest was deadlocked at 21 at intermission.
The first 12 points of the second half belonged to Saint Mary via a Bethany safety, field goal, and Cortez touchdown. With the score 33-21 Saint Mary, Bethany’s Salazar found Rodney Molette for a 57 yard touchdown with 9:52 left in the 3rd. Molette hauled in a circus catch 2-point conversion and the Swedes inched closer, 33-29.
Bethany blocked a Spires field goal with 4:18 remaining and had all the momentum for a potential game winning drive. However, Bethany turned it over on downs on the Spires 43 yard line. After a Saint Mary punt, the Swedes had one more chance. With their backs against the wall and starting from their own 5 yard line, Bethany’s drive stalled on the Swedes 30.
Bethany falls to 4-1 overall, and 3-1 in league play. The Swedes return home to host nationally ranked Sterling next Saturday at 1:30. Coverage begins at 1pm, on 95.5 The Rock.
By James Westling