A field goal by a freshman kicker gave Bethany its second win on the year in a thrilling 23-20 upset win over Tabor on Saturday.
Both teams entered Saturday’s game at Anderson Stadium going in opposite directions. Bethany came in off of a blowout loss last week and on a four game losing streak. Meanwhile, Tabor entered on a three game winning streak.
However, the Swedes came to play in the opening quarter as its defense set the tone by holding the Bluejays to three-and-outs on its first two drives. Tabor also muffed a Bethany punt which was then recovered by the Swedes to give the BC offense new life.
Quarterback, Austin Denson, led the Swedes on a scoring drive that capped off with a six yard touchdown pass to Trey Mendoza. The PAT was booted through and Bethany led 7-0 midway through the first quarter.
Tabor had an answer offensively though. The Bluejays drove and answered with a touchdown pass from Trey McGee to Justin Swims. The Bluejays tried some trickery and went for two, however, the conversion failed so Bethany still led 7-6 at the 3:53 mark in the first quarter.
The Swedes’ offense continued to fire on all cylinders. Bethany drove the ball right back down field led by Denson’s arm. This time the drive was finished off by a 34 yard touchdown pass to Rodney Molette to put Bethany up 14-6 with 1:38 to go in the first.
The second quarter was dominated by both teams’ defense. Neither team was able to find the endzone, however, Wyatt Townsend knocked through a 20 yard field goal late in the second quarter to give Bethany the 17-6 halftime advantage.
The third period was much like the second. Bethany’s defense continued to give Tabor’s offense fits. The Swedes were able to tack on another Townsend field goal–this time from 23 yards–as Bethany led 20-6 going in to the final quarter.
That’s when Tabor’s offense woke up. Particularly, its ground attack. Running Back, Josh Johnson, led the Jays on two scoring drives in the fourth quarter. The senior back would carry the Bluejays downfield on both drives. The first was capped off by a Jordan Dixon six yard touchdown run. Dixon found the end zone a second time with 3:23 to go to tie the game at 20-20.
Bethany got the ball back and had a nice kickoff return with Aderias Ealy taking the ball to the Tabor 47 yard line. Unfortunately, Bethany had to punt after a three-and-out giving the ball right back to Tabor.
That’s when the Swedes’ defense–which had played one of its best games of the year–stood tall. The Swedes picked up a crucial sack on third down to force a Tabor punt with still more than one minute remaining in the game.
Bethany took over at the Swede 40 yard line with 1:06 to go in the game.
Denson would convert two huge passes on the final drive, the first to Molette to give the Swedes a first down. The second was a long downfield throw to Jeffrice Wilson that put BC in field goal range. Bethany then brought on Townsend a third time–this time for the win–with four seconds remaining in the game.
Townsend would come through as the freshman nailed his third kick of the day to put the Swedes ahead 23-20 with one second remaining.
A Tabor kickoff return was contained as the final second ticked away and the Swedes’ sideline stormed the field in response to Bethany’s big win.
Tabor (5-4, 4-4 KCAC) had its three-game winning streak snapped. It was the first time the Bluejays had lost to the Swedes since 2013. Johnson’s 97 rushing yard–the majority of which came in the final quarter–were not enough to put Tabor over the top.
Bethany (2-5, 2-5 KCAC) ended its four game skid. Molette once again had a huge day receiving as the Swedes’ senior had 13 receptions for 220 yards and a score. Denson completed 25 of his 41 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns on the day. The win for Bethany was its first over Tabor at home since 2008.
Bethany looks to build a winning streak this week, as the Swedes travel to take on the one-win Friends Falcons in Wichita. Kickoff is this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on Salina radio station, 95.5 The Rock.