The McPherson College football team got the proverbial monkey off its back on Saturday night, picking up a 23-15 win, the first of the season, at home against the Tabor College Bluejays.
On a cool, but humid, fall night that saw a little bit of rain and some fog, the Bulldogs amassed 400 yards of total offense. Of those 400 yards, 342 of them came on the ground from a punishing rushing attack. The Bulldogs, who have been a more pass heavy team thus far this season, had only 58 yards through the air on 21 attempts.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bulldogs held the Bluejays to 351 yards from scrimmage on 71 plays. They had six tackles for a loss, and two sacks. They also forced the Bluejays to cough up the ball twice, once on an interception and the other a fumble.
The coaches will say that this was a team win, and it absolutely was. Many different players contributed in some way or another, some that show up in the box score, and others in ways that don't make the stat sheet. But there were a couple of individuals who had monster games as well. On the offensive side of the ball, LaMeshio Hill had a breakout game for the Bulldogs at running back. Hill carried the ball 20 times and netted 127 yards and scored a pair of TDs. His longest run of the night came in the second quarter on his first touchdown. He went for 31 yards, got turned around at the 10 yard line and ended up running into the end zone backwards.
On defense, Joey Hale wreaked havoc from his defensive line position. He finished the night with nine tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and an interception that he returned 34 yards and nearly took it to the house. The interception took place on a screen pass up the middle that the Bluejays had run earlier in the night for a nice gain. This time Hale sniffed it out and as the Bluejay quarterback tried to find his running back in the middle, Hale jumped and snagged the ball out of the air. His sack / forced fumble came on a huge fourth down play with just 1:36 left in the game, essentially sealing the win for the Bulldogs.
"It was a good team win," Head coach Jeremiah Fiscus said. "The kids played hard. We need to play smarter and clean up the penalties, but overall, I am very proud of the kids."
The win puts the Bulldogs a 1-3 overall on the season, and 1-2 in KCAC play. They will take the field again next Saturday on the road for an afternoon game against the Friends University Falcons. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m. in Wichita.