ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ANDREW OTTOSON
Tabor College dropped another home game on Saturday, this time to the Sterling football team.
The Warriors scored two unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter to take a commanding lead and would coast to a deceptively lopsided 20-7 win.
With the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter, Caleb Marsh caught a 26 yard touchdown strike from DeJaun Jones.
In addition to lighting the scoreboard with Tabor’s only offensive bright spot, Marsh had 5 catches and 63 receiving yards on an afternoon full of miscues.
Sterling opened the scoring 4:56 into the second quarter when Tyler Degenhardt found Allan Stokes open for a 12-yard strike.
Jake Buchanan threw a 4-yard completion to Kevin Laudermilk for the Warriors’ second score. Buchanan made up for a missed PAT with a 2-point conversion pass to Derrick Matthews.
With 2:15 remaining before the half, Jones jumpstarted the Tabor offense with a 15 yard pass to Julius Williams and a 13 yard run.
With a first and ten at the Sterling 35, the drive stalled and Derik Martinez came on for a 50 yard field goal attempt.
With the wind at his back, Martinez drove the ball solidly, but missed the mark as the kick crashed into the left upright and bounced back into the end zone. <BR
The air went out of crowd as those gathered in support of their beloved Bluejays exhaled a sigh of disappointment, and Tabor spent the second half trying to recover lost momentum.
But every time the home team took a step toward the driver’s seat, a penalty, fumble or interception put on the brakes.
The Bluejays finished with 5 turnovers and 8 penalties.
Tabor fumbled four times: ending the first quarter, at the Sterling 14; on the first drive of the second quarter, at the sterling 13; at the TC 27 on the next drive, setting up Sterling’s second score; and at midfield midway through the third quarter.
Jones was intercepted at the end of the third, setting up Sterling’s final score early in the fourth.
The home crowd breathed life into the Bluejays when Ricky Ishida came in for the next series. Ishida scrambled for 43 yards on 8 attempts as Tabor pounded the ball into Sterling territory.
Aaron Jenkins brought some of the afternoon’s biggest cheers from the TC sideline when he flattened a Sterling defensive back, paving the way for the longest of Ishida’s scrambles.
Needing a yard for a first down or two for a touchdown, the Bluejays were unable to finish the drive, and the Warriors offense took the field with 5:27 to play.
Sterling ran 1:50 off of the clock, the Tabor defense forced a punt, and the Bluejay offense took over with 3:37 to play.
Tabor picked up yardage in bits and pieces, and with 1:06 to play, Jones found #9 open along the sideline.
Marsh raced into the end zone to put a stop to Sterling’s bid for a shutout.
The Warriors recovered the onside kick attempt and ended the game with kneel downs.