WINFIELD, Kan. – Five school records fell by the wayside as the Southwestern College football team earned its most decisive win of the 2013 season Saturday afternoon. The Moundbuilders defeated the Bethel College Threshers, 86-36, inside Richard L. Jantz Stadium.
The 86 points by the Moundbuilders bested the previous record of 82 points set against Central College in 1963, and was one of two team records to fall in Saturday's win. Southwestern also amassed 744 total offensive yards, and surpassed the previous mark of 727 set in a 73-39 win over McPherson on Oct. 10, 1998 in McPherson.
Individually, Brady May threw for six touchdown passes, and broke the record of four scoring passes which had been tied nine times previously, most recently in 2012 by Jordan Barrett. Southwestern's offensive success allowed senior kicker Chris Mayer to break two school records, essentially at the same time. Mayer attempted a school-best 12 extra point attempts to break Mike Magee's record of 10 set in 1984, and converted on a program-best 11 extra point attempts to break Joe Anderson and Jonathan Leeper's record of nine extra points made.
Less than a week after appearing on ESPNU's Great 8 Plays show, senior receiver Joe Vargas tied a school record of his own. He and Ceth Bannister caught three touchdown passes each, and became the fifth and sixth receivers, respectively, to catch three touchdown passes in school history.
Senior quarterback Brady May completed 17 of his 26 passes for 330 yards and six touchdowns to lead the Southwestern offense. Spencer Pullen was the leading rusher for the Moundbuilders, and picked up 164 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. Vargas was May's favorite target in Saturday's game, and finished with 180 yards and three touchdowns on eight receptions.
As a team, Southwestern tallied 744 offensive yards on 93 plays. The Moundbuilders finished with 414 rushing yards, and 330 passing yards in the contest.
Southwestern struck first in Saturday's contest. The Moundbuilders opened the game with a 10-play, 58-yard scoring drive, capped by a five yard run from Spencer Pullen to give Southwestern a 7-0 lead with 10:42 to play in the opening quarter. Pullen struck again four minutes later with a two-yard run that extended the lead to 14-0. Bethel rode the big play to the end zone, and broke up the early shut-out with a 71-yard touchdown pass to pull the Threshers to within 14-7 with 5:38 still to play in the opening frame. But Southwestern answered with a five-play, 71-yard drive that ended on a 43-yard touchdown pass from May to Ceth Bannister. Chris Mayer converted the extra point, and Southwestern led 21-7 after the opening quarter.
The first quarter set the tone for the rest of the game. Bethel scored two touchdowns in the second half, but May countered that with three second-quarter scoring passes. When halftime finally came around, the Moundbuilders had doubled Bethel up, and held a 42-21 lead.
The wheels kept turning for the Moundbuilders in the second half. Southwestern needed just better than four minutes to score its first touchdown of the second half. May found Bannister again from 10 yards out to cap a 12-play, 72-yard drive, to push the lead to 49-21. May found Bannister again four minutes later on a seven-yard strike that pushed the advantage to 55-21, and at that point the rout was on. Southwestern scored three touchdowns for every Bethel score the rest of the way, and finally broke the school scoring record on a one-yard keeper from third-string quarterback Travis Hankins.
The Threshers scored the final touchdown of the game, but it was far too little, and far too late as Southwestern ran away with the 86-36 win.
Saturday's win moves Southwestern to 4-3 on the season, and 3-2 in KCAC play. The Moundbuilders will return to action Saturday, traveling to Ottawa to face the Braves of Ottawa University. Kick-off is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at Ottawa's Peoples Bank Field.