Tabor claims KCAC title with 43-42 double overtime win over Bethel College

The Tabor College Bluejays captured the schools first ever Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference championship in football Saturday with a dramatic 43-42 double overtime win over Bethel College.

Tabor jumped on top 14-0 after the first quarter on a RIcky Ishida 29 yard touchdown run and a 10 yard Ishida to Caleb Marsh pass.

The Bluejays still held a 21-10 lead going into the halftime locker room on the strength of an Ishida to Layne Frick touchdown pass of 20 yards.

The third quarter saw Bethel cut the lead to 21-16 before Ishida scored again from a yard out to put TC on top 28-16 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Threshers added a blocked punt for a safety and a 13 yard touchdown to whittle the Bluejay lead to just 28-25 with 8:36 to play.

Tabor wasn’t able to run out the clock giving Bethel one last chance with 2:36 to play and the Threshers managed to convert a 25 yard field goal with just under 30 seconds remaining in the game to tie the score at 28.

In overtime, Tabor scored on its second play when Ishida hooked up with Ben Brown from 23 yards out, but Bethel answered with a four yard carry to tie the game at 35 and send the game into the second overtime period.

Bethel scored first this time on a three yard run, putting the pressure squarely on the Bluejay offense.

On its possession, Tabor converted a fourth and four from the 19 when Ishida hit Marsh to pick up a first down and keep the hopes alive.

Then, three plays later, Tabor was looking at fourth and one from the one when Ishidas’ second effort carried him into the end zone to pull Tabor within a point at 42-41.

Sensing his defense was about out of gas, head coach Mike Gardner rolled the dice and went for the two point conversion to either win or lose the game.

The gamble paid off as Ishida rolled to his right and hit tight end John Garcia in the end zone giving Tabor the 43-42 win, setting off a wild celebration on the Bluejay sideline.

Tabor had 331 yards of total offense in the game while Bethel rolled up 442 but it was Tabor who moved to 8-0 overall and clinched the KCAC title with its’ 7-0 conference record.

Bethel lost its third straight game to fall to 4-3 for the season.

Next up for Tabor will be a home meeting with the Bethany Swedes on Saturday with game time set for 1:30.

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