Football controls second half to get by McPherson 14-12

McPHERSON – Kansas Wesleyan’s defense stepped up its relentless pressure in the second half on Saturday against the McPherson Bulldogs.


The Coyote defense held McPherson to only 50 yards of total offense and zero points in the second half as the Coyotes rallied to grab a 14-12 win at McPherson Stadium.


The win bolstered Wesleyan’s record to 5-2 overall and in the KCAC, while McPherson fell to 2-4 overall and in the Kansas Conference. McPherson’s four losses have come by a total of five points.


Wesleyan struggled to get the offense going in the first half, and fell behind the Bulldogs 6-0 with 2:20 to go in the first quarter when Jonathan White scored on a 5-yard run, but Jimmy Mai’s PAT attempt would sail wide left.


The Coyotes’ ensuing drive would yield points as Richard Lara (SO/Bakersfield, Calif.) hit a diving Rhadarious Lomax-Spivey (FR/Aurora, Ill.) in the end zone for a 4-yard score and Aaron Main (SR/Tulsa, Okla.)’s kick was good with 14:48 left in the second.


McPherson’s next drive stalled at the KWU 12, and forced to try a field goal, Mai’s 34-yard try was badly missed giving the ball back to the Coyotes.


Two drives later Cole Parker (SR/Corning, Calif.) picked off a pass that was deflected straight up in the air and appeared to return it for a touchdown, but a penalty after the pick negated the score, but the Coyotes had it.


Wesleyan’s drive stalled, and McPherson took over at its own 45 and would go 55 yards in four plays as Aidan Frieson scored from 5 yards out, but the 2-point conversion try failed making it 12-7 with 7:35 left.


That score held until the half.


McPherson had 266 yards of offense in the first half, compared to 123 for the Coyotes.


The Coyotes drove to the McPherson 2 in the third quarter, but Nicholas Allsman’s fourth down run from the 2 came up short giving the ball back to the Bulldogs.


An interception by Lucas Rockford (SR/Springfield, Ill.) early in the fourth quarter set up the go-ahead touchdown for the Coyotes. The big play on the scoring drive a roughing the passer call on a third down that gave the Coyotes the ball at the McPherson 13. Four plays later Allsman scored from four yards out and Main’s successful PAT put the Coyotes up 14-12 with 9:58 left.


McPherson’s next two drives only netted the Bulldogs 19 total yards as the Coyote defense held the Bulldogs inside their own 36 the remainder of the quarter.


The Coyotes got the ball back with 3:43 left and got two big first downs, a 13-yard pass from Lara to Woody Banks (SO/Lewisville, Texas) and a 9-yard run by Allsman on 3rd and 7 at the KWU 33 to seal the win.


Lara was 12 of 21 passing for 132 yards with a touchdown and interception. Tony White (SR/Cincinnati, Ohio) threw one pass for 14 yards. Allsman had 22 rushes for 93 yards and a score. Mark Benjamin (SO/Houston, Texas) added 12 runs for 36 yards. Banks had four catches for 94 yards and Drevon Macon (JR/Los Angeles, Calif.) had five catches for 38 yards.


Cleon Hamilton (SR/Hinesville, Ga.) led the Coyote defense with eight tackles, and one for loss. Julian Urioste (SO/Portales, N.M.) had six stops. Rockford had five tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception.


The Coyotes are back at home next Saturday for Homecoming and Family Weekend. Wesleyan hosts Tabor for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Gene Bissell Field and JRI Stadium at the Graves Family Sports Complex.