LINDSBORG, Kan. – The Southwestern College football team's comeback bid against the Bethany College Swedes came up 35 yards short Saturday afternoon. The Swedes defeated the Moundbuilders, 28-20, inside Anderson Stadium in Lindsborg.
The two teams combined for 10 turnovers in Saturday's contest. Bethany committed six turnovers in the game (4 interceptions, two fumbles), but Southwestern was unable to capitalize, committing four turnovers (2 fumbles, 2 interceptions) of its own. The Moundbuilders gave the ball back to the Swedes four other times on failed fourth-down conversions, and Bethany held off a late comeback effort to secure the 28-20 win.
How it Happened…
-Southwestern struck first in Saturday's contest. Bethany fumbled on its first play from scrimmage, and Kyle Robinson pounced on the loose ball to give the Moundbuilders possession at the Swedes' 18 yard line. Five plays later, Christian Gordon connected with Donny Ebanks for a 14-yard touchdown pass. Mario Esparza converted the extra point, and Southwestern held a 7-0 lead with 12:43 still to play in the opening period.
-Bethany responded in the final seconds of the first period with a 65 yard interception return that forced the contest into a 7-7 deadlock as it headed into the second quarter.
-Bethany surged out to a 21-point halftime lead thanks to three second-quarter touchdowns. The Swedes capped a seven-play, 84-yard drive with a 41-yard touchdown pass to take a 14-7 lead. Just over nine minutes later, Bethany scored on a seven-yard run to push its lead to 21-7 with 1:27 to play in the half. On its ensuing drive, Ka'Darius Baker was stripped of the ball attempting to convert on fourth down. The Swedes recovered and scored four plays later to take a 28-7 lead at the halftime break.
-Southwestern kept Bethany off the board in the second half. Gordon capped an 11-play, 80-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run. Esparza's kick cut the deficit to 28-14 after three quarters of play.
-Esparza put his team on his back in the fourth quarter. The junior drilled a 30-yard field goal in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, then added a 31-yard field goal at the 9:45 mark to make it a one-score game at 28-20.
-The Moundbuilders made things interesting late in the game. On its final possession of the game, Southwestern moved the ball all the way to the Bethany 33 yard line, but a pair of sacks in the final seconds ended the threat, and put the ball back in the hands of the Swedes, who took a knee to end the game, and denied the Moundbuilders a chance at their first win of the season in the process.
Inside the Box Score…
-Sophomore Christian Gordon completed 15 of his 29 pass attempts for 206 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions in Saturday's contest. Ka'Darius Baker completed two of his seven pass attempts for seven yards.
-Tanner Spencer was Southwestern's leading receiver with 60 yards on three receptions, while Donny Ebanks added 55 yards on three receptions of his own, including the team's only receiving touchdown. Terrence Franklin was the team's favorite target with six catches for 52 yards.
-Hunter Sconce led Southwestern's rushing efforts, and carried the ball 25 times for 85 yards.
-Joey Scelza was Southwestern's defensive leader with 10 tackles (9 solo, 1 assist), including two sacks for a combined loss of eight yards, while Dallas Allen added seven tackles and an interception.
-As a team, Southwestern amassed 332 yards on 83 plays, while Bethany executed 69 plays for 335 yards. The Moundbuilders committed four turnovers (two fumbles, two interceptions), while Bethany lost the ball six times.
Next Up for the Moundbuilders…
Southwestern will conclude its two-game road swing with a trip to North Newton to face the Threshers of Bethel College Saturday afternoon. Kick-off is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. inside Thresher Stadium.