Kansas Wesleyan’s 30-24 loss to Bethel last Sunday night at JRI Stadium in the Graves Family Sports Complex didn’t set well with anyone in the program, particularly first-year head coach Matt Myers.
Reflection, self-inspection and a considerable amount of time watching video of the weather-delayed game took center stage this week.
“We took Tuesday to go back and watch the film and make corrections,” Myers said. “We made enough mistakes on offense and defense that it was worth a day just to sit in meetings and go back and fix it.
“When things go well you want to look out the window and when it goes poorly you want to look in the mirror. There’s equity on this team that these players have built and it’s their team. I’m just director of operations.”
The No. 18 Coyotes (2-1) will look to get back on track when they play arch rival Bethany at 7 p.m. Saturday at JRI Stadium. It’s the 112th meeting between the two teams.
The Swedes (0-2) lost to Avila 21-0 last Saturday in a game that was stopped early in the second quarter because of the weather.
Wesleyan has won seven in a row and nine of the last 10 against Bethany. The Coyotes won 54-0 last year in Lindsborg as Isaiah Randalle threw for 401 yards and six touchdowns. KWU has shutout the Swedes two of the last three years.
Myers said his team responded well during the week.
“We had good practices on Wednesday and Thursday, I thought we looked good,” he said. “You can point fingers but that’s what losers do and this team is not made up of losers. The pressure’s off now so the guys can go have fun and play football which is the point of this in the first place.”
The Coyotes led 24-16 after three quarters before Bethel rallied – the game-winning touchdown coming with 27 seconds left. Issues on both sides of the ball that weren’t seen in KWU’s first two games were addressed.
“Offensively delivering the ball down the field to open receivers, stepping up in the pocket and making good decisions – basic stuff that we just didn’t do,” Myers said. “Receivers not breaking off routes and coming back to the ball; our mesh in the backfield needs to improve. Keeping containment on defense instead of just running lateral and praying you’re going to make a play.”
The Coyotes had 306 total yards and held Bethel to 290 but two first quarter turnovers on KWU’s side of the field resulted in two Thresher touchdowns.
Quarterback Tony White (SR/Cincinnati, Ohio) was 10 of 21 for 113 yards and a touchdown – a 41-yarder to Drevon Macon (JR/Los Angeles, Calif.) in the first quarter. Nick Allsman (SO/Belleville, Kan.) had a team-best 77 yards rushing on 16 carries.
“We need to get really good at the few things that we do and make sure we can execute those things,” Myers said. “That’s what success is, executing at the highest level that we possibly can. That’s what we’ve talked about this week and that’s what we did this week.”
Bethany is led by interim head coach Vincent Grigsby who replaced Tyrone Carter in early August. The Swedes opened the season September 10 with a 65-0 loss at Southwestern before at home losing to Avila last week.
Bethany’s offense is led by senior tailback J.J. Allen and quarterbacks Alex Giragosian, a freshman, and senior Nick Truelove.
“Their tailback runs really hard,” Myers. “They’ve got a safety (Jaylin Talbott) that runs all over the field. I think we should have a lot of success as long as we take care of business and align properly and do our jobs. Should be a good day.”