Bulldogs travel to Southwestern Saturday


Supposedly, McPherson College’s Bulldogs are done with their heavy lifting.
The Bulldogs have taken on the best of the KCAC and survived each time, compiling a 5-0 conference record, 6-0 mark overall and achieved a No. 6 national ranking.
The Bulldogs on Saturday begin a stretch of three games, starting with a road trip to Southwestern, against teams with a combined 2-16 record.
Kickoff at the new Jantz Stadium is set for 1:30 p.m.
“The past two years we have started slow against Southwestern, so it is important to get out fast on them,” Mac coach Joe Bettasso said.
The Bulldogs are steaming toward their first KCAC title in 58 years and basically need to avoid an upset pothole.
Of the Bulldogs’ six games, three have come against teams ranked at the time, the most recent being a 56-42 decision over then-No. 14 and unbeaten Kansas Wesleyan.
But their motive Saturday against a Southwestern team that is 1-4 in the KCAC and 1-5 overall is the fact Mac never seems to play well in Winfield.
The Builders’ record is somewhat deceiving. They have been competitive in a number of games, including last week’s overtime loss to Bethany and a three-pointer to Friends after leading by 11 points. Also, they have lost a five-pointer to Panhandle and played Sterling tough, only to lose 28-17.
The Builders suffered a big loss last week when standout quarterback Jordan Barrett broke his leg late in the game. He joins their top threat, running back Michael Coppock, on the injured list. Coppock was leading the KCAC in rushing through three games before being lost for the year, the third time that’s happened in his career.
“Southwestern is a very young football team that has caught the injury bug,” Bettasso said. “Obviously they lost Coppock again, which is a huge blow for them. That poor kid can’t buy a break. They lost their starting quarterback last week on a late drive against Bethany.”
The Moundbuilders feature one of the KCAC’s best players in linebacker Zak Tazkargy, a first-team KCAC pick last year who figures to repeat as he’s been outstanding.
The Mac offense continues to boast fabulous numbers. Quarterback Shane Mascarenas has 1,995 yards and 21 TDs, while Andy Skinner has 44 catches for 831 yards and 10 scores, while Joe Middleton has 39 catches for 664 yards and nine scores. Running back Aaron Lafitte provides the balance with 612 yards rushing and 13 TDs.