Mistakes sink Bluejays against Friends Falcons

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ERIC CLARK
The Tabor Bluejays found new ways to shoot itself in the foot Saturday, losing to Friends University 38-22 in Wichita.


Early in the first quarter, quarterback Willie Lopez fired the first shot when a Falcon defensive back picked off his pass and ran it back for a 79-yard touchdown.


The Jays blocked the extra-point kick, but trailed 6-0.


Friends struck again later in the quarter when Brandon Jones found Dustin Caram for a 43-yard touchdown reception. Again the Bluejays stopped the PAT attempt and the Falcons led only 12-0 at the end of the first quarter.


In the second quarter, Friends marched down the field again, this time scoring on Prince Morgan’s four-yard run. The Falcons went for the 2-point conversion, but failed with 10:07 to play in the half.


A little more than a minute later, Lopez found Tyson Ratzlaff on a deep pass that set up a Lopez one-yard touchdown. Dylan Pohlman added the PAT and the Bluejays trailed 18-7.


When Pohlman’s field-goal attempt went wide left in the waning seconds of the half, Tabor still trailed 18-7 and had managed only 13 yards rushing to go with their 119 yards in the air.


In the third quarter, Lopez scored again from the one-yard line and, after Ratzlaff caught a pass from Lopez for the 2-point conversion, the Bluejays trailed by a field goal, 18-15.


But the Falcons responded immediately with a touchdown drive of their own as Morgan galloped in from one yard out to cap the drive. Friends added the PAT for a 24-15 lead.


On the Jays’ next possession, Lopez, facing a third and long, was flushed out of the pocket, then intercepted by Landon Langston, who returned the ball for a 27-yard touchdown. With the PAT, Tabor was suddenly down 32-15 with 5:34 remaining in the third period.


Coach Tim McCarty pulled Lopez late in the third quarter. Backup quarterback Dave Hernandez made the decision look good, finding Tyler Marsh for a 12-yard touchdown strike on Tabor’s next possession. Pohlman added the PAT to cut the lead to 32-22 with 4:07 left in the third quarter.


The Bluejays nearly cut the lead to three on their next possession when Nathan Funk corralled a tipped ball for an apparent touchdown. But the score was erased by a Tabor penalty.


Pohlman then attempted a 46-yard field goal, but missed it, ending another TC scoring threat.


Friends tried to capitalize on its good field position, but Jeremy Loewen intercepted Jones’s pass in the far left corner of the end zone.


After the Bluejays turned the ball over on downs, Friends marched down the field and then scored on Morgan’s 45-yard touchdown run for the final margin.


After the game, McCarty said his team handed the game to the Falcons.


“They played hard and took advantage of our mistakes,” McCarty said about his opponent. “It’s like war, one thing goes wrong and a lot of guys die.


“You can’t make mistakes and win football games and that’s what we did tonight. We made mistakes and lost the game.”


The Bluejay quarterbacks passed for 260 yards. Marsh led the receiving core with 127 yards and one touchdown.


Tabor, 2-2 overall and 1-2 in the KCAC, will travel to Winfield Saturday to play the Southwestern Moundbuilders, who are 2-2 and 2-1 on the year. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

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