Southwestern dominates Tabor in 53-24 loss

Big plays and four quick Southwestern touchdown strikes in the first half helped the Moundbuilders hand Tabor its third straight loss, 53-24, Saturday afternoon in Winfield.

“We just aren’t competing right now,” Tabor coach Tim McCarty said. “We’re making dumb mistakes. I’m frustrated with mistakes.

“The kids don’t believe they’re better than they are right now and they play like it,” he added.

The Bluejays gave up four touchdowns in the first half, including a 62-yard pass from quarterback Eric Michael to Eddie Hartfield and a 70-yard strike from Michael to Travis Burdine.

Tabor finally got on the scoreboard at the 9:55 mark of the second quarter on a 40-yard field goal by Dylan Pohlman, making the score 28-3.

After Jeremy Loewen intercepted a Michael pass in the end zone for a touchback, the Bluejays marched down the field with the help of a 29-yard pass from quarterback Willie Lopez to Tyson Ratzlaff.

With the Bluejays threatening inside the Southwestern 10, Lopez was sacked and fumbled. Southwestern’s Brian Beard picked up the loose ball and took it 93 yards for another Moundbuilder touchdown to give the Moundbuilders an overwhelming 34-3 lead.

With David Hernandez at quarterback in the second half, the Bluejays came out of the locker room throwing. Ratzlaff grabbed a Hernandez pass and ran 75 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter. Pohlman’s extra point made the score 34-10.

But Southwestern drove the ball down the field on their ensuing possession and Michael capped off the drive with a two-yard touchdown for a 40-14 lead.

Southwestern would add another touchdown at the 8:11 mark of the third quarter with a Hartfield nine-yard reception from Michael. Southwestern led 46-10 after Tabor blocked the PAT.

Tyler Marsh came up big late in the game by hauling in a 12-yard touchdown pass with two minutes left in the third quarter. The Pohlman extra point made the score 46-17.

After the Bluejay defense stopped the Moundbuilders with 14 minutes left in the game, the offense took over and Hernandez hooked up with Tauron Thomas for a 65-yard pass that would lead to a Marsh touchdown catch. Pohlman’s extra point closed the gap to 46-24.

Following a kickoff return to midfield, Southwestern’s Tony Daniels broke loose for a 47-yard run that set up his one-yard touchdown moments later.

After Jonathan Leeper added the extra point, the Moundbuilders held on for their 53-24 win.

The Tabor defense allowed 589 total yards, including 324 yards rushing.

Offensively, the Bluejays struggled to move the ball on the ground and finished with minus-24 yards on the afternoon. But the Jays did throw the ball effectively, rolling up 389 yards. Hernandez finished with 237 passing yards and three touchdowns. Ratzlaff caught seven balls for 173 yards.

Defensively, the Jays were led by Damian Ratzlaff, who racked up five tackles and five assists.

After the game, McCarty was optimistic about next week’s game against Sterling.

“We’re going to bounce back,” McCarty said.

The Bluejays will host the Warriors Saturday for homecoming. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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