The Bethany Swedes defeated the Ottawa Braves in Lindsborg on a cool, fall night, 30-21. It was Bethany’s first home win over the black and gold since 2004.
It looked like Ottawa was going to manhandle the Swedes in the first quarter. The Braves took the opening drive 79 yards on 20 plays, and punched it in with a 1 yard quarterback sneak by Connor Byers to take a 7-0 lead with 8:38 remaining.
After a 35 yard missed field goal by Ottawa kicker Kyle Wokutch, Bethany answered with a 10 play, 80 yard drive, capped off by a 14 yard touchdown run from Aaron Knox with 12:52 to go in the 2nd frame. After back to back Ottawa punts, Bethany scored again on a 1 yard plunge by Knox with 52.3 seconds to go in the first half, making it 14-7 Bethany at intermission.
The second half started much like the first half with an Ottawa touchdown. The Braves took advantage of a relatively short field, and scored on a 6 yard touchdown run by De’Shawn Jones. That tied the game at 14, with 11:39 to go in the 3rd period.
The only turnover of the night occurred mid-way through the 3rd quarter, when Ottawa’s Byers lofted a pass down the right sideline and was intercepted by Bethany’s Dominic Dalmaso. Swedes running back Jafar Thomas exploded up the middle for a 75 yard run, setting up Bethany with first and goal from the 5. Two plays later, Knock would punch it in for his 3rd rushing touchdown of the night. Bethany led 21-14 with 7:17 left in the 3rd.
After a Bethany field goal early in the 4th, the Swedes were gashed for a 43 yard slip screen to Jones, and Ottawa trimmed the lead to 24-20 with 11:01 remaining in the game. However, Bethany’s Thomas got loose one more time, and went 68 yards untouched to the end zone to make it 30-21 with 10:42 left in the contest. Bethany forced two more Ottawa punts, and hung on for the nine point win.
Ottawa entered the game leading the KCAC in fewest penalties, but were flagged ten times for 86 yards. Bethany’s defense held the Braves to 8-25 passing for 109 yards, but allowed 287 yards on the ground. On the other side, Bethany’s offense accounted for 392 yards of total offense. Thomas finished with 188 yards rushing on only 13 carries.
The Swedes travel to Leavenworth next Saturday for a 1:30pm kickoff against Saint Mary. Bethany is seeking their first 5-0 start since 2011. That game can be heard on 95.5 The Rock, with pregame at 1 pm.
By James Westling