No. 20 Tabor Surges Past No. 24 Kansas Wesleyan

Kansas Wesleyan football head coach Matt Drinkall described Tabor as an anaconda.

The snake wrapped around the Coyotes and didn’t let go.

No. 20 Tabor scored 28 unanswered points to surge past No. 24 Kansas Wesleyan in a 41-20 victory at Joel H. Wiens Stadium Sunday.

Before the postponement, Tabor had the ball at the Kansas Wesleyan 42. About eight hours later, The Bluejays picked up right where they left off. Quarterback Curry Parham took an option play to the end zone for a 43-yard score.

Kansas Wesleyan answered with an eight-play drive. Quarterback Kelly Cordova capped off the attack with a two-yard TD pass to tailback Demarco Prewitt. Tabor missed on the two-point try earlier, thus giving KWU a 7-6 advantage with 7:10 to go in the first.

The rest of the half would be about miscues.

KWU’s next march would end inside the Tabor 25 because of a Jerrod Ferguson fumble. Tabor allowed a punt block, Wesleyan touched the ball a second time and the Bluejays recovered, only to boot the ball to the KWU five-yard line. The Coyotes flipped the field on an 85-yard pass from Cordova to tight end Trenton Poe-Evans, but turned the ball over on downs at the four.

Tabor’s next punt was blocked again, this time by safety Quentin Carter. Sam Pierce recovered the ball in the end zone to push KWU’s lead to 14-6 with 7:45 to play in the half.

The Bluejays turned to two big plays to give them a spark. Tailback Ontre’Von Cooper recorded a 73-yard rush, setting up a six-yard TD for fullback Talance Smith. Following a KWU punt, halfback Drevion Cooper ran 65 yards, allowing Ontre’Von Cooper to score on a 12-yard rush the next play. To top off the half, defensive tackle Lolani Faaloua intercepted a pass, constructing a scoring opportunity. Drevion Cooper seized the moment, rushing past the goal line for a two-yard score, putting Tabor ahead 27-14 at the break.

Kansas Wesleyan received a gift on Tabor’s first drive of the second half. A high snap went over Parham’s head, forcing him to fall on the pigskin at the Tabor 34. Kansas Wesleyan stalled, giving the Bluejays the ball. Tabor compiled a 15-play waltz with Drevion Cooper completing the dance with a five-yard TD with 3:03 to go in the third.

To close out the third, Cordova was picked off by Tabor corner Sean Kelley, but Wesleyan received the ball back after a fumble forced by defensive lineman Troy Calloway. Wesleyan’s ensuing drive would end with a turnover on downs at the Bluejay 19-yard line early in the fourth.

The Coyotes had one final charge. For the third-straight week, Kaleb Whitehair blocked a punt, this one recovered at the 11-yard line. On the next play, Prewitt sniffed out the end zone, making the score 34-20 with 11:25 remaining in the game. Kansas Wesleyan’s next possession started at Tabor’s 30, but all momentum was soon lost. On third down, Cordova tossed the ball, only to be met by Tabor defensive end Evan Sprayberry, who swatted the allegedly backward pass and picked it up for a Tabor touchdown, placing the game out of reach.

Cordova was 10-of-25 passing for 168 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He added another 72 yards on the ground. Poe-Evans reeled in two catches for 91 yards.

Tabor ran for 302 yards, led by Drevion Cooper with 150 yards and two scores on 13 carries. Ontre’Von Cooper had 101 and a TD on the ground on seven totes.

With the loss, Kansas Wesleyan (5-3, 4-2) dropped to third in the KCAC, tied with Bethany. The two meet next Saturday for a 1:30 kick, with pregame at 1 pm on FM 104.9.