Nothing like a McPherson County backyard brawl to start week one of college football, and for the McPherson College football team defeating local rival Bethany College 30-13, it snaps a four-gaming losing against the Swedes and extends a three-game winning streak in home openers.
The Bulldogs went into tonight's game with Ed Crouch as the starting quarterback, but Jake Tierman was still in the rotation as head coach Paul Mierkiewicz ran a two-quarterback system throughout Saturday's win. But it was clear that Crouch was the one with the hot hands earlier in the first half when he threw two touchdowns and rushed for one.
The First one he found Ryan Lasco wide open in the end zone for a 1-yard pass. Next drive he threw to former McPherson native Ben Nikkel for a 25-yard pass to give the Bulldogs a 14-0. The Miami Gardens then native showed his wheels after scrambling for 48 yards into the end zone on 3rd & 17. Tierman also had his moments of putting up numbers in the stat sheet after throwing a 56-yard bomb to Cullen Grabast for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Crouch completed 10 of his 19 passes and threw for 90 yards and two touchdowns, while Tierman was 2-6 for 65 yards and one touchdown. There's no clear-cut decision whether who Mierkiewicz is going to choose to be the full-time starter, but both juniors showcase their skill sets against the Swedes.
"It's not the easiest thing to handle, and you have to have the right mind to handle it, and I think those guys did," Mierkiewicz said. "It's a matter of what is the best situation for us, and what we need."
The Bulldogs' defense and special put on a great performance against Bethany. The Swedes had opportunities to keep it a closer game when they reached the Bulldogs' territory, but no prevail due to turnovers and special team play. McPherson native Kollin Goering, making his first collegiate start at linebacker, led the Bulldogs with 13 tackles. Oluwaseyi Johnson was the sack leader with two and block one extra point field goal.
"One of the best things we were able to do defensively was flying around, running to the football and doing some nice things," Mierkiewicz said.
Bethany original starter Isaiah Salazar struggled during the game and was benched by Austin Densin in the second quarter, but later returned in the huddle in the second half. The Swedes were able to move the ball when they needed to, but nothing to show for it. The Swedes were able to get put points on the board after Quaylon Jones broke multiple tackles for a 9-yard touchdown early second quarter, but it was not until the fourth quarter they scored their second touchdown by Kyler Arter. Salazar finished the night with 210 yards and two interceptions. For Swedes head coach Paul Hubbard, it was a disappointing performance from all three points of attack.
"The defense has to stop giving up big plays. Our offense has to play consistently, and the special teams has to stop making the big bone head mistakes," Hubbard said."We got guys who played really hard," Hubbard said. We we're down 20-6 at halftime. The boys fought hard in the second half. We were moving the ball well. We just couldn't finish."
The Bulldogs next game will be on the road to Kansas City, Missouri as they will face Avila University next Saturday, Sept. 8 at 1:30 p.m. For the Swedes, now 0-2, will return home to Anderson Stadium to face Bethel College on Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.
Upset Saturday: The KCAC Conference has been turned upside down early than expected. Both No.17 ranked Sterling College, and No.18 ranked Tabor College, both KCAC's reigning co-champs, were stunned on Saturday. The University of Saint Mary defeated the Blue Jays 13-10. Avila, making its debut in the KCAC conference, beat out Sterling 38-34. With the top two teams in the conference falling to 0-1, it will be a fair game of which teams will lead the conference.
McPherson College Stats
Ed Crouch 10-19 90 yards 2 TD 1 INT
Armond McCray 22 rush 89 yards
Jack Goodmiller 5 rec. 40 yards
Bethany College Stats
Isaiah Salazar 19-33 210 yards
Quaylon Jones 18 rush 58 yards 1 TD
Micha Milbourne/Dalton Goodwin 6 REC. 75 yards
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_or our sports page @MacCountySports