Johnny Feauto (SR/Boulder, Colo.) admitted it wasn’t one of Kansas Wesleyan’s best outings, as evidenced by four turnovers, 12 penalties and an injury to a key player.
The No. 4-ranked Coyotes found a way to rise above all of that plus a two-hour weather delay that made for a long and disjointed affair Saturday night at Graves Family Sports Complex.
Feauto threw for 296 yards and two touchdowns, wide receiver Stevie Williams (JR/East Los Angeles, Calif.) had seven catches for 223 yards and both TDs, Brandon Lowe (SR/Collinsville, Okla.) filled in admirably for the injured Demarco Prewitt (SR/Menifee, Calif.) and the defense was magnificent all night long as the Coyotes rolled to a 37-12 Kansas Conference victory over Tabor.
Like the old adage says, there ain’t no bad victories.
“To be a great team you have to find ways to win when you don’t have your best stuff,” said Feauto, who was 11 of 19 passing with two first-quarter interceptions. “We turned the ball over a lot and we really didn’t play very well, especially in the first half.
“But we were able to overcome some things and get past that, and that’s what you have to do. When you don’t have your best stuff, you have to figure out how to win.”
The Coyotes (2-0) did just that.
They led 10-6 at halftime despite the four turnovers and a muffed punt but were fueled by the defense’s sterling work.
The first half dozen minutes of the second half were a different story, though, and were pivotal. Wesleyan scored 21 points in 6 minutes and 10 seconds – the first touchdown coming on the first play of the half when Feauto hit Williams with a 66-yard pass – Williams sprinting under the ball in the end zone after running past two defenders.
Tabor (1-1) went three-and-out and one play after Nick Gallardo (JR/Corona, Calif.)’s 46-yard punt return, Lowe dashed into the end zone from eight yards out, making it 24-6. Two plays, two touchdowns.
After another Tabor three-and-out, Feauto completed passes of 41 and 23 yards to Williams – the second going for the third score of the quarter, giving KWU a 31-6 lead with 8:50 left.
Tabor ran one play after the ensuing kickoff before the was stopped because of lightning. Play was halted at 8:01 p.m. and didn’t resumed until 10 p.m.
Williams, a speedy transfer from Pasadena College (Calif.), was superb once again.
“Coach (Myers Hendrickson) told us to dump it to the short stuff and once they start slipping we were going to hit them over the top and that’s what we did,” Williams said. “I was just trying to get open and Johnny and I have a real good connection. He knows where to put the ball and where I’m going to be at and I just have to catch the ball.”
“He’s great,” Feauto said of Williams. “He’s a good playmaker and I know if the ball’s going to him, he’s going to make a play on the ball.”
Williams said he wasn’t sure the game would be completed Saturday.
“I thought we were going to finish it (Sunday), I was taking off my gear, I thought the game was going to postponed,” he said. “I’m glad they didn’t and we got the win.”
The Coyotes persevered despite Prewitt’s absence the second half. He played the first half and gained 127 yards on 25 carries and a touchdown, but was injured on his final carry before the break. He didn’t play the second half, watching the action from the sideline.
Lowe, a 5-foot-6, 161-pound senior, replaced him and had 92 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns – the second on a four-yard run with 2:16 left. KWU had 204 yards rushing and 500 total yards.
“B-Lowe stepped up and played great,” Feauto said. “I hope Prewitt will be back but if not, Lowe did an amazing job.”
“Brandon Lowe had a great second half and that speaks volumes for the five offensive linemen and the six, seven guys we play,” Hendrickson said. “They do a great job and we’ve got a lot of confidence in anyone we put out there.
“I thought we ran the ball exceptionally well against a good defense.”
While the KWU offense had several good moments, the defense was cement solid from start to finish. Tabor finished with 252 yards passing and a minus-1 yard rushing.
“The biggest number in this win is we ran for 204 (yards), they ran for negative-1,” Hendrickson said. “That’s Coyote defense, that’s Coyote offense, that’s winning football. That’s remarkable and just a great job on both sides of the football.”
Tabor freshman quarterback Trey McGee was 25 for 45 for 252 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions but his offense was one-dimensional.
He was sacked four times, twice each by ends Shaq Bradford (SR/San Diego, Calif.) and Anthony Munro (SR/Fresno, Texas). Running back Josh Johnson, who had 96 yards rushing against Southwestern Assemblies of God a week earlier, had nine carries for 0 yards.
“We knew coming in Tabor was going to be pretty dynamic at the quarterback position,” linebacker Jasper Chavez (SR/Rosemead, Calif.) said. “We wanted to shut down (the running game) first and we knew (Josh Johnson) is a very good back, one of the best in the KCAC.
“We just wanted to play our base coverage, our base defense. We knew that if we stuck to our assignments that we were going to hold them up.”
KWU travels to Wichita for its first road game of the season next Saturday. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Adair Austin Stadium. The Falcons defeated Saint Mary 21-6 in Leavenworth in their season opener Saturday. The Coyotes won last year’s game 83-0 in Salina.