Another explosive start propelled the 19th-ranked Tabor College Bluejays to a 45-14 win over Friends University in Wichita Saturday afternoon.
The game was barely 38 seconds old when Bluejay receiver Charles Beale crossed into the end zone after snagging a 41-yard scoring strike from quarterback Curry Parham along the Friends sideline. Austin Smith’s kick made it quick 7-0 lead.
The Bluejays added two more touchdowns within 6 minutes. After Friends when three-and-out on its first possession, Parham struck again. On the third play from scrimmage, he connected with Treydonte Hill for a 61-yard score. Smith’s kick was blocked, but Tabor led 13-0 at the 12:06 mark.
After Friends shanked a punt to end a six-play possession, Tabor took over at its 49-yard line. Four plays later, Parham found Hill again, this time for a 31-yard scoring pass. Drevion Cooper’s 2-point conversion failed, but Tabor’s lead was 19-0 after the first 5:07 of game.
Friends regrouped enough to march 51 yards in nine plays, with Falcon quarterback Kevin Folsom snaking up the middle for a 14-yard touchdown with 23 seconds left in the opening quarter.
But Tabor would not let the first quarter end quietly. On the first play of the possession, Parham unleashed a throw to receiver Zach Johnson who zig-zagged his way to the Friends 18-yard line for a 57-yard pick-up as the first quarter ended.
On the fifth play of the second quarter, the Bluejays completed the drive with a 22-yard field goal by Smith to boost the lead to 22-7.
On this day, the defense got into the scoring mood, too. After a Tabor punt gave Friends possession at the Falcon 17-yard line, the Bluejays forced a fourth-and-12 punt on fourth down. The Falcon long-snapper sent the football over the punter’s head and through the back of the end zone for a safety.
Now leading 24-7, the Bluejays fielded the kickoff for a new possession at the Friends 44-yard line. On third-and-7, Parham connected with Justin Swims for a 30-yard reception along the Tabor sideline for a first down at the Falcon 11-yard line. Drevion Cooper picked seven yards on an sweep, setting up Parham for a 4-yard run to the end zone. Smith’s kick made 31-7 with 5:52 left in the first half. That score held firm into intermission.
In previous games, Tabor had shown a knack of letting an opponent sneak back into contention after establishing an early lead. Not this time.
After Friends’ opening drive of the third quarter petered out at the Tabor 43, the Falcon punter pinned the Bluejays at the Tabor 8-yard line. Undaunted, Parham ran for seven yards, then threw to Beale for 20 more and a first down at the Tabor 35. Parham found Johnson in the middle of the field for a 65-yard touchdown at the 11:22 mark. Smith added the kick for a 38-7 bulge.
Tabor’s final touchdown may have been the oddest. With Friends at the Tabor 31, Folsom connected with his receiver only to the ball jarred loose by Tabor defensive back Sean Kelley, who then scooped up the ball and raced down the Friends end zone for the score. Smith added Tabor’s 45th point of the day.
To their credit, Friends did not slink off quietly into the sunset. Instead, the Falcons covered 63 yards in nine plays with Folsom scoring on an 8-yard run with 49 seconds left in the game.
With the win, Tabor’s KCAC record improves to 6-1, tying 18th-ranked Sterling for first place. The Bluejays’ season record is 6-2. Meanwhile, Friends slipped to 3-4 and 3-6. Tabor will travel to McPherson (2-5, 3-5) next Saturday.