An emotional season for first- year head coach Pete Sterbick’s McPherson College Bulldogs came to a close Saturday, as Sterling College took down McPherson 23-21.
On their first drive of the game, the Warriors took it 76 yards for a score. On their next possession, Sterling took it 71 yards to make the score 14-0 with just over one-minute remaining in the first quarter; a big 35-yard pass was the largest gain on that drive.
Sterling then took over at its 26 and was marching the ball down the field until Trea Lott picked off a Warrior pass at the McPherson 8-yard line. The Bulldogs couldn’t convert, however, and went into the locker room facing a 14-0 halftime deficit.
The second half started much like quarter number two ended, with neither team moving the ball more than 25 yards until McPherson took over at the 50-yard line. Quarterback Jake Snodgrass made four-straight completions, ending with an 18-yard touchdown reception by tight end Paul Rotering, bringing the score to 14-7.
Another touchdown for the Bulldogs came in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter coming from Snodgrass to Byron O'Rourke from seven-yards out.
Sterling, after being held scoreless for the past quarter, took its next opportunity and punched it into the end zone, re-capturing the lead at 21-14 with just less than 13 minutes to play. A safety on McPherson was how the next points were put on the scoreboard, brining the score to 23-14.
The Bulldogs bounced back as Snodgrass found Rotering again for another TD with nearly 6:30 remaining. Mac College took over again with four minutes left in the game but was unable to move the ball and had to give it back to Sterling after an incompletion on fourth down.
The Bulldogs would get the ball back again but with just three seconds remaining in the season and 86 yards between them and a touchdown, but couldn’t pull out a miracle, as a pass from Snodgrass went incomplete.
Sterling only attempted six passes on Saturday but that’s all they had to as their run game was rolling, racking up 252 yards on 63 attempts. Mac College ended the game with 57 yards on the ground and 229 through the air.
The Bulldogs split their carries nearly evenly with Snodgrass having the most attempts with nine, which he took for 21 yards. Havelock Pomele ran the ball eight times for 27 yards while Terrance Jones rushed six times for just seven yards.
Snodgrass went 19-of-38 in the passing game for 229 yards and three touchdowns; he also had two interceptions in his final game as a Bulldog. Fellow senior Julius Record was the top receiver for McPherson, hauling in 13 passes for 133 yards.
Record’s 83 receptions in just nine games this season set a McPherson College school record for most passes caught in one year, a record that was 13 years old.
Page 2 of 2 - Rotering may have only caught the ball twice in the loss to Sterling but they were both for touchdowns and added up to 50 yards.
The Bulldog D gave up the most yards on the ground that they have all season but held Sterling to just 68 yards passing for 320 total yards, which is close to 50 yards more than their average for the year. Micah Roehl had nine tackles for the day, two for a loss and one sack, leading the team in all categories; two other Bulldogs had sacks.
Jimmy Wilson totaled eight tackles in the game, six solo, putting him second on the team.
The Bulldogs finish the year 4-5 overall and 4-4 in the conference, putting them sixth. Mac College was picked seventh by the coaches and ninth by the media in the preseason poll.