LEAVENWORTH – Having dispatched their longtime rival last week the Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes are back on the road Saturday for just the second time this season.
KWU, 3-1 and ranked 16th in the NAIA, plays the Saint Mary Spires (1-3) in a 1 p.m. in a Kansas Conference game at Charles J. Berkel Memorial Stadium.
The Coyotes routed Bethany 49-6 last Saturday at JRI Stadium where they’ve played three of their four games this season.
“It’ll be a tougher test than last week and we’re on the road,” coach Matt Myers said. “We’re leaving at 7 in the morning so it’ll be wake up, ride on a bus and prepare yourself mentally. We’ll get there about 10:15 then it’s two and a half hours till the game. It’s our longest road trip of the year, it’s something we haven’t done with these guys so we’ll see.
The Coyotes pummeled Bethany for 602 total yards and limited the Swedes to 202 that included a minus-2 yards rushing. Tony White threw for 222 yards and three touchdowns, Tyler Boston rushed for 96 yards, Nick Allsman 87 and Paden Hazuga and Drevon Macon combined for 12 catches and 168 yards and two scores.
KWU finished with 343 yards rushing. The explosion came after the running backs talked during the week with former Coyote coach Matt Drinkall, now an assistant at Army.
“They talked about quarterback and tailback mesh,” said Myers, who was a member of Drinkall’s staff for two seasons. “Coach Drink does a good job with that and it’s good to hear it from a different voice.”
Boston saw his most extensive duty of the season and took advantage of the opportunity.
“Ty Boston does a great job and we do have really good tailbacks,” Myers said. “Allsman understands the scheme and how to play within it, Boston’s a big physical runner. (Mark) Benjamin broke one loose and D’Heaven Domena got in the end zone.
“We are confident in all of them but unfortunately there’s only so many reps to go around. It’s one of those things trying to figure out where they fit in, when they fit in.”
White rebounded from a tough outing against Bethel a week earlier and completed passes to nine different receivers.
“Tony was 20 for 27 and was completing the ball down the field, which is what he needs to do,” Myers said. “If the (receivers) are not open then he needs to check it down or run the ball. We need to put confidence in these guys to go make plays. If they make a mistake that’s fine, our defense can survive it.”
The defense was superb after Bethany scored on its first drive of the game.
“The concept of our defense is to penetrate and get zero or negative yard plays,” Myers said. “Every once awhile you will give up longer runs, it’s just part of the concept and the scheme involved in the defense. As long as you don’t panic and we correct it’s not a big deal.”
Saint Mary lost to Friends 38-20 last week in Wichita. The Spires’ offense is led by freshman quarterback Erick Covington and features sophomore tailbacks Jartavious Martin and Raymond Webster. Webster had 113 yards rushing on 16 carries and a touchdown against Friends while Covington was 12 of 30 passing for 194 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Martin has 214 yards rushing on the season and Webster 186. Covington’s completed 38.6 percent of his passes for 450 years with three touchdowns and six interceptions.
“They have a couple of really good tailbacks that run violently so we have to run and tackle well,” Myers said. “Their quarterback’s a lefty. He’s pretty slippery and can run and he’s not afraid to sling it.”
Myers said the Spires alternate their defensive fronts.
“Half the time it’s a 40 front, a quarter of the time it’s a three-man front then a portion of the time they’ll go to a 3-3 stack,” he said. “We’ve seen it all before and now it’s just executing. They also have a really good linebacker (Hennessey Thomas, team’s leading tackler).”
KWU has won the last four games against Saint Mary, outscoring the Spires 238-17 in the process. The Coyotes won 49-7 last season at JRI Stadium and have won 16 of the last 20.