Written by AO Saturday, 08 November 2008 11:32
The Tabor College football team moved into a 3-way tie for seventh place by defeating McPherson 23-19 at Reimer Field Saturday. Led by 251 rushing yards and three touchdowns from Derek Washington, the Bluejays overcame three turnovers to secure coach Mike Gottsch's second consecutive conference win. After two quarters of spotty defense against the McPherson passing game, Tabor intercepted Bulldogs QB Josh White on consecutive possessions to staunch the bleeding.
Having gone to halftime with McPherson ahead 19-6, Tabor scored six plays into the third quarter on a 2-yard plunge by Washington. A 33-yard pass play from Marc Amos to Phil Robben was the key play of the drive, but Amos made two others during the series: a 20-yard pass to Adrian Clay, and a 21-yard run.
The Bluejay defense, behind two tackles from Teal Stutzman, stuffed the Bulldogs on four straight downs to take back possession. But the offense, trailing 19-13, was unable to capitalize. Having taken over at midfield, Tabor bashed its way down to the McPherson 9. On first-and-goal, on the ninth play of the drive, Washington was stopped for no gain. After two incomplete passes—one of which was dropped by a Tabor receiver in the end zone—Marcus Manny kicked a 24-yard field goal to make it 19-16.
Tabor forced a 3-and-out with 2:16 left in the third, and the Bluejay offense used five runs to march to the McPherson 14 before the teams traded ends. Then, on the first play of the fourth quarter, Washington shook loose of the Bulldog defense and scored his third touchdown of the day. Manny buried the extra point for a 23-29 Tabor lead.
During the final frame, the Tabor defense bent but did not break. After Stutzman stuffed a Bulldog run on third-and-2 at the Tabor 26, the Bluejays forced an incompletion on fourth-and-5. The Tabor offense advanced the ball 61 yards on 11 plays before attempting a field goal from the McPherson 10. Manny's kick was wide right, but more importantly, the Tabor offense had chewed up nearly six minutes of clock.
McPherson took over at its 20, ran four plays to gain five yards, and handed the ball back to the Bluejays with 2:51 to go. Stutzman again made the play for the Tabor defense, snuffing out a reverse at the 25 on third down.
But the offense failed to move the ball, giving McPherson one last shot of life, and the Bulldogs very nearly made Tabor pay for it. White completed consecutive passes, and, combined with a personal foul penalty flagged against Tabor for roughing the passer, moved McPherson to midfield in the blink of an eye.
But the Bluejays made three plays to end the game: Terence George and Jon Ramos each knocked down a pass to set up third down; White, finding no receivers open on third-and-10 broke loose for 13-yards, but was fumbled when he was hammered by Stutzman. Michael Henry jumped on the loose ball, and Tabor ended the game on kneel-downs.
Stutzman totaled 14 tackles and two forced fumbles. Sean Retting and J.J. Bean each had an interception.
Up next, the Bluejays (2-7) hosts its season finale against Kansas Wesleyan.