Southwestern College is known for Jinx, the spooky black cat that supposedly puts a hex on every opponent that goes to Winfield, Kan.
Kansas Wesleyan has Demarco Prewitt and Shaq Bradford.
The NAIA’s leaders in scoring and sacks combined forces as Prewitt ran for 200-plus yards and four touchdowns while Bradford terrorized quarterbacks with a KCAC-record 6.5 sacks, pushing the No. 6 Coyotes to a 34-20 victory over Southwestern. For the first time since 1931, Kansas Wesleyan finished the regular season unblemished, posting an 11-0 mark. The 2018 campaign is the first without any losses or ties.
Southwestern (6-5, 5-5 KCAC) turned the game into a true street fight. Linebacker Grant Torgerson picked off a pass by KWU’s Johnny Feauto, setting up the Builders in KWU territory. A few plays later, Kansas Wesleyan sophomore Scott Helsper returned the favor, plucking the ball from the air after a lob by Southwestern quarterback Christian Gordon at the five.
Wesleyan marched the other way, punching the ball into the end zone on a four-yard run by Prewitt with 1:57 left in the opening quarter.
Southwestern’s answer didn’t take long, but largely because of the switch in quarterbacks. Austin Early stepped on the field with the wind at his back and floated a 53-yard TD pass to Edrick Gonzales, knotting up the score at 7-7 with 10:41 to go in the second.
KWU matched the second-quarter answer after a forced punt with five minutes remaining in the half. The Coyotes waltzed down the turf, and ended the half with a 16-yard TD connection between Feauto and sophomore Charlie Simmons.
Kansas Wesleyan used that momentum to send a message in the third, ripping the Southwestern defense, capping the drive with Prewitt’s second four-yard TD. The PAT was unable to take place after a bad snap, making the score 20-7 in favor of KWU.
Southwestern quickly trimmed the margin when Early zipped a two-yard pass to the back of the end zone, finding Carvontez Gates. The Moundbuilders bobbled the PAT snap, keeping the deficit at seven points with 8:04 to play in the third. Following at KWU punt, Early made the game a 20-all stalemate when he found Gonzalez on a 41-yard strike at the 3:45 mark.
Both defenses wouldn’t budge until the wind aided Kansas Wesleyan. Southwestern whiffed on a punt, placing the ball at the Moundbuilder 29. The very next play, Prewitt exploded through a crease, finding the goal line 29 yards later with 4:05 to play for our BE Wealth Play of the Game. Wesleyan iced the road tilt with a one-yard score by Prewitt on the next drive.
The junior from Menifee, Calif. carried the ball 39 times for 217 yards and four scores. Prewitt closed out the regular season with 204 points scored, surpassing the previous KCAC single-season record of 196, set by Tabor’s Roger Butler in 2005. KWU’s offense also set a new mark for KCAC points, racking up 597, smashing the old record of 535 by Sterling in 2016.
Bradford tallied 11 tackles, 9.5 for loss with 6.5 sacks. The hits behind the line of scrimmage were the most in a KCAC game, but also the most by anyone in the NAIA this season. To add to that, the junior from San Diego, Calif. increased his sack total to 19.5, surpassing the previous single season KCAC record of 18, set by Ottawa’s Matt Cline in 1992.
Kansas Wesleyan (11-0, 10-0) now waits for its postseason assignment for next weekend. The Coyotes find out at 4 pm Sunday, but they do know they’ll host.