KANSAS CITY, Mo.— The McPherson College football team wrapped up the 2019 season with a 34-25 loss, on the road, against the Avila University Eagles.
The game was scoreless through one period of play, but then the Bulldogs spotted the Eagles 14 points in the second quarter, before getting on the scoreboard with a field goal with 3:47 left on the clock. After halftime, the Bulldogs trimmed the lead to four points when Quashad Washington scampered into the endzone from 39 yards out.
After that touchdown, the Eagles went on a tear and scored 20 unanswered points. Six of them off of an interception to take a 34-10 lead heading into the final 15 minutes of play. The Bulldogs did all of the scoring in the fourth quarter. With 4:40 remaining, LaMeshio Hill plowed his way into the endzone from five yards out. Then with just over a minute remaining quarterback Max Tucker found Ben Nikkel for a 29 yard touchdown. The two then hooked up for the two point conversion to make the score 34-25. Unfortunately the comeback stalled and time ran out on the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs had 305 yards of total offense on 76 offensive plays. They ran ball 35 times for 147 yards, and completed 17 of 41 passes for 158. Defensively the Bulldogs gave up 395 yards to the Eagles, 137 on the ground and 258 through the air.
The Bulldogs were without starting quarterback Ed Crouch, who was injured against Bethany last week. Mac turned to Nicholaus Santini for his first career start. Santini finished the game 12 for 30 for 102 yards and two interceptions. Tucker played under center in the fourth quarter going 5 for 11 for 56 yards and one touchdown.
Nine different players carried the ball for the Bulldogs, led by Washington, who had 104 yards from scrimmage on six rushes, and one score. Corey Davis was next with 36 yards and Hill tallied 23 yards and the other touchdown. The top receiver for the Bulldogs was Nikkel who caught seven balls for 98 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively, the Bulldogs were led by Zane Hickey, who racked up eight tackles, four of them unassisted. Jeremiah Hawkins and Kale Mog each recorded a sack, while Brett Sykes Jr. had the only an interception that he returned for four yards.
With the loss, the Bulldogs finish the season at 5-6 overall, and 5-5 in the KCAC. They were picked to finish 10th in the conference by the KCAC coaches, but proved them all wrong, and wound up in seventh. Their five wins nearly doubled their total from 2018 and was almost as many as they had in the previous two seasons combined.Bulldogs coach Jeremiah Fiscus and his staff have this program headed in the right direction and the future of Bulldog football is certainly a bright one.