LEAVENWORTH, Kan. – The Southwestern College football team dropped its final road game of the 2016 season Saturday afternoon. The Moundbuilders fell to the Spires of the University of Saint Mary, 28-7, inside Charles J. Berkel Memorial Stadium in Leavenworth, Kan.
Southwestern (1-8, 1-7 KCAC) managed just nine first downs and 177 total offensive yards in Saturday's contest, and were kept off the scoreboard until the final six minutes of the contest. Saint Mary (7-3, 6-2 KCAC), which was receiving votes in the latest NAIA national poll, amassed 449 yards of offense, and led from wire to wire in its 28-7 win.
How it Happened…
-Saint Mary struck first midway through the opening quarter. A 31-yard field goal attempt by Southwestern's Mario Esparza was blocked, and returned 75 yards for a Spire touchdown. The two-point conversion run failed, but USM held a 6-0 lead with 7:11 remaining in the opening quarter.
-Five minutes later, the Spires pieced together a seven play, 72-yard scoring drive, capped by a seven yard touchdown run. The point-after attempt failed, and USM held a 12-0 lead after the opening quarter.
-Saint Mary scored the only points of the second quarter in the final 90 seconds of the period. A 34 yard field goal gave the Spires a 15-0 halftime advantage.
-Southwestern held USM at bay throughout most of the third quarter, but the Spires broke through in the final two minutes of the period. A three-yard touchdown run put the finishing touches on an eight-play, 52-yard drive, but the special teams struggles struck again as the PAT kick failed yet again, but USM held a 21-0 lead with one quarter remaining.
-USM scored its final points of the game early in the fourth quarter, and used the big play to do it. A 59 yard touchdown pass, and a successful PAT, gave the Spires a 28-0 lead with 9:41 remaining.
-Southwestern scored its only points of the game in the final six minutes of the contest. Sophomore quarterback Christian Gordon found paydirt on a 21-yard touchdown run that capped a 10-play, 71 yard drive. Esparza's kick was true, and Southwestern trimmed USM's lead to its 28-7 final margin.
Inside the Box Score….
-Christian Gordon was Southwestern's offensive leader. The sophomore completed seven of his 18 passes for 59 yards, and carried the ball five times for a team-best 48 yards and a touchdown.
-Ka'Darius Baker split time with Gordon at the quarterback position, and completed seven of his 12 attempts for 52 yards.
-Jacob Sigmon was the Moundbuilders' top receiver, finishing with 34 yards on two receptions, while Terrence Franklin finished with 21 yards on a team-best five receptions. Ethan Yauney got in on the action, and picked up 23 yards on four catches.
-Joey Scelza anchored the Southwestern defense with 15 tackles (seven solo, eight assist), and was the only Moundbuilder to record double-digit tackles.
-As a team, Southwestern finished with 177 total offensive yards on 57 plays. Moundbuilder quarterbacks completed 14 of their 30 attempts for 111 yards, while Southwestern's backs carried 27 times for 66 yards.
Next Up for the Moundbuilders…
Southwestern will conclude its 2016 season on Saturday, hosting the nationally-ranked Warriors of Sterling College. Kick-off is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on the artificial turf of Beta Rho Mu Field inside Richard L. Jantz Stadium.