McPherson College ran roughshod on Bethany College Saturday, amassing 402 yards in a commanding 37-7 win at Anderson Stadium.
Not only did it snap a five-game losing streak by the Bulldogs dating back to Sept. 28, but it also ended a similar streak at Anderson Stadium.
It also marked the second-straight win over Bethany for McPherson coach Pete Sterbick.
The Bulldogs were solid in all three facets of the game Saturday, as the defense picked off both Swede quarterbacks three times and kicker Michael Phillips added three more field goals to his school-record total. The defense smothered Bethany, allowing only 152 yards of total offense.
For Bethany, it was a tough pill to swallow a week after defeating Tabor College in what will be considered the biggest upset of the KCAC this season.
“It was a tough deal,” Swede coach Manny Matsakis said. “Trying to manufacture some offense and we just kept shooting ourselves in the foot. Where we did things correctly a week ago, this week, no matter what, we didn’t do things exactly way we needed to.”
It didn’t help that the Bulldogs seemingly went deep into the playbook against their inter-county rivals, as McPherson opened the game with a halfback pass from Gerald Hardridge to Tremon Robinson for 34-yards. The play set up a 22-yard field goal by Phillips.
Phillips would also hit 24- and 28-yards, bringing his school-record single season total for the year up to 13.
The Bulldogs found paydirt again 20 seconds into the second quarter, as Havelock Pomele rushed in a 10-yard touchdown that made it 10-0 McPherson (4-6, 3-5 KCAC). From there, is was all McPherson, as quarterback Jordan Hoffman would connect for two passing touchdowns to Jordan Brady and Hardridge, while also rushing in a score himself.
The Swedes’ lone score came in the fourth quarter, after Cody Linnebur recovered a Bulldog fumble on the McPherson 41 with 7:50 remaining in the game. Former Canton-Galva standout Cody Savage then orchestrated a six-play, 41 yard drive the culminated in Savage running in a four-yard touchdown.
Hoffman finished the game passing 18-for-36 and 202 yards. Tremon Robinson was the beneficiary of most of those passes, as he caught 11 for 161 yards.
Pomele racked up 111 yards on the ground for the Bulldogs in 22 tries, including the touchdown run. All told, the Bulldogs had 166 yards on the ground to Bethany’s 63.
Savage ended up leading the Swedes (2-8, 1-7) in passing with 68 yards, completing 4-of-16, almost all coming in the fourth quarter. Zach Dovenbarger worked most of the prior three quarters, throwing 7-for-19 with 21 yards and two interceptions. He was sacked three times for a loss of 13 yards and tossed two of the three Bethany interceptions, two of which went to McPherson’s Trea Lott.
Page 2 of 2 - “They did [get a lot of pressure on Dovenbarger],” Matsakis said. “It wasn’t like he was blitzed with pressure, it was more like their corners were collisioning guys. They couldn’t get off the line of scrimmage like we normally can and it cost us. Without question.”
The ground game was led by senior Tevis Linnebur’s 43 on 13 tries. He was the only Swede to reach double digits. Prestyn Atherton led the Bethany receiving corps with 37 on two catches.
The season wraps up for both teams on Saturday, as McPherson travels to Winfield for a showdown with Southwestern College, while Bethany will face off with Bethel College. Both games will kick off at 1:30 p.m.
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