NORTH NEWTON, Kan. – The Southwestern College football team ended a six-year-long road game losing streak Saturday in the same place that it recorded its last conference road win. The Moundbuilders defeated the Threshers of Bethel College, 14-10, at Thresher Stadium in North Newton, Kan.
Southwestern's offense found its rhythm in the second half. After facing a scoreless deadlock at halftime, the Moundbuilders scored touchdowns in each of the final two quarters en route to a 359-yard day. The defense, meanwhile, surrendered just one touchdown and a field goal, and forced six punts in the contest. A last-minute stop sealed the deal for the Moundbuilders, who were able to take the field in victory formation for the first time this season, and for the first time in a KCAC road game since Oct. 19, 2011.
How it Happened…
-Neither team was able to score in the first half, and the score remained locked at 0-0 when the two teams took to the locker room for the halftime intermission.
-Bethel broke the ice in the final five minutes of the third quarter. A 40 yard field goal snuck through the goal posts, and capped a 12-play, 60-yard drive that gave the Threshers a 3-0 lead with 4:35 remaining in the period.
-That field goal was all it took to awaken the Moundbuilders. Sophomore quarterback Christian Gordon ignited his team with back-to-back 17-yard keepers to open the ensuing drive. Gordon was stopped for five yards on the next play before breaking free again, this time for a 16-yard scamper that put the Moundbuilders on the Bethel 20 yard line. Ka'Darius Baker was called on to give Gordon a breather, and promptly threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Felton Byrd. Mario Esparza converted the point-after attempt, and gave Southwestern a 7-3 lead after three quarters of play.
-Southwestern forced Bethel to punt on its next drive. The Threshers downed the punt at the Moundbuilder 1-yard line. A five-yard run on second down gave the Builders enough breathing room for Gordon to connect with Tanner Spencer, who beat a Thresher defender in a foot-race to the end zone for a 94-yard touchdown pass. Esparza's PAT gave the Moundbuilders a 14-3 lead with 13:54 to play.
-Bethel scored less than 90 seconds later, capping an eight-play, 65-yard scoring drive with a 17-yard touchdown run. The successful extra point attempt trimmed the Moundbuilder lead to 14-10 with 12:33 remaining in the game.
-The Threshers' final drive of the game showed promise. Bethel used 10 plays to drive all the way to the Southwestern 11-yard line, but Southwestern stopped the Threshers on a 4th and two attempt from the 9-yard line to regain possession with less than a minute to play. Gordon took a knee twice to secure the 14-10 Moundbuilder win.
Inside the Box Score…
-Christian Gordon was responsible for 323 total offensive yards. The Yukon, Okla., native completed 14 of his 27 passing attempts for 222 yards and a touchdown, and ran the ball 22 times for 101 total rushing yards to finish as his team's leading rusher.
-Tanner Spencer was Southwestern's leading receiver with 107 yards on two receptions, including the 94-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Felton Byrd added 71 yards and a touchdown on four receptions, while Donny Ebanks finished with 45 receiving yards on five catches.
-Joey Scelza anchored the Moundbuilder defense with 16 total tackles (six solo, 10 assist), including 2.5 tackles for a combined loss of 6.5 yards.
-As a team, Southwestern finished with 359 offensive yards on 64 plays. Moundbuilder quarterbacks completed 15 of their 29 pass attempts for 242 yards, while Southwestern amassed 117 rushing yards on 35 attempts.
Next Up for the Moundbuilders…
Southwestern will return to action on Saturday, hosting the Braves of Ottawa University. Kick-off is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on the turf of Beta Rho Mu Field inside Richard L. Jantz Stadium.