After knocking off?conference opponent Sterling last week, the Tabor football team followed up with a resounding 56-7 victory over Haskell Indian Nations University at home Saturday.
The win gives the Bluejays a 2-1 record this season.
“It was nice to see all three phases of our game—offense, defense and special teams—show what we can do,” said coach Mike Gardner, referencing the Bluejays’ two defensive touchdowns and a blocked punt for a safety.
“We just need to continually keep getting better as we approach the grind of our conference schedule.”
In Saturday’s non-conference matchup, Tabor got things rolling early, capping a nine-play, 71-yard drive with a quarterback keeper for a touchdown by quarterback Simon McKee. The extra point gave the Bluejays a 7-0 lead near the 12-minute mark.
Tabor scored twice more before the end of the first period, initially with a pitch to running back Nate Harrison at 3:55 and then on a pitch play to running back Brandon Johnson at 1:31.
Defensive lineman Chris Sanborn then intercepted a pass at the Haskell 24-yard line and ran it in for a score at 11:29 to begin the second quarter for a 27-0 lead.
Bluejay defensive back Donnel Davis blocked a punt in the end zone for a safety at 6:18, giving the Bluejays a 29-0 lead at intermission.
Tabor continued the rout as the second half began.
Defensive back Moustapha Mbaye picked off Haskell quarterback Rafael Rios at Tabor’s 39-yard line.
That set up a rushing touchdown by Harrison and extra point from kicker Joe Cannon, extending the Bluejay lead to 35-0 at 10:58.
McKee scored again on the quarterback keeper at 4:55 to make it 42-0, before wide receiver Tyler Davis carried the ball in to make it 49-0 with 50 seconds left in the third quarter.
When Bluejay corner Korie Lewis snagged an interception on the Haskell 23 and ran in for the final touchdown with 36 seconds left, Tabor enjoyed a 56-0 lead at the end of the period.
“We were just able to read the plays,” Gardner said about his team’s points off turnovers.
“Chris Sanborn did a great job of reading screens. Our secondary is just doing a really good job reading patterns.”
Tabor is now second in the nation, Gardner said, in the giveaway/take-away ratio, recording at least three turnovers per game so far this season..
Haskell managed a touchdown with 4:26 remaining in the game, completing a two-play, 81-yard drive with a Rios hand-off to Tyler Harrison for a touchdown. Caleb Chaffin’s point-after kick made the final score 56-7.
McKee led the offense with 90 rushing yards on 14 carries, and added 58 yards and a touchdown through the air.
Lewis, Sanborn and Mbaye each had interceptions for the defense that resulted in Bluejay points. Dylan Delk added a fumble recovery and Davis blocked the punt for a safety.
Coming—The victory gives the Bluejays a 2-1 record heading into Saturday’s conference road game against Saint Mary (0-3).
Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at Leavenworth.