Spires take down Bluejays in football finale

The Tabor College football team closed out its 2009 season schedule
with a 48-34 road loss Saturday at the University of Saint Mary in
Leavenworth.

The Bluejays offense produced 519 yards of offense with quarterback
Joey Erickson rushing for 173 yards on 15 carries and passing for 297
yards on 19 competions in 39 attempts. Erickson had a hand in four of
the Bluejays' five scores, running for an 18-yard score and throwing a
total of three touchdowns to Daniel Jost (13 yards and 17 yards) and
Chris Roddy (27 yards).

But after Tabor took a 6-0 lead on the first of the Erickson-to-Jost
touchdowns, the Spires took advantage of a short field to pull ahead.
Kyle Jones capped a 30-yard drive with a 6-yard run, and Ryan Sutton
put USM ahead 7-6 with the point-after-touchdown kick. Tabor's first
kick was blocked by Tyler Wise, and the Bluejays did not attempt
another PAT.

Tabor answered quickly, as Erickson found Jost for the duo's
second score early in the second quarter. The 2-point conversion
pass fell incomplete, leaving the Bluejays with a 12-7 lead. USM regained the
lead, 14-12, when Kameron Ridley scored a 10-yard touchdown minutes
later.

After an exchange of turnovers, the Bluejays countered with a 6-play series capped on a 1-yard run by
Derek Washington with 1:12 left in the first half. The conversion pass
again fell incomplete, but Tabor appeared to be sure of a halftime lead.

USM denied that possibility with a 7-play scoring drive that consumed
all but 12 seconds of the second quarter. When a 25-yard pass from
Daniel Robles found Terrell Harper in the corner of the end zone, the
Spires seized control of the game for good. Their momentum may have been negated had a last-second long field goal
try by Stephen Gulledge gone according to plan. Instead, the play broke
down and the Bluejays went into the intermission with a 21-18 deficit
and struggled to compete in the second half. Saint Mary dominated the third quarter, scoring on drives of 70 and 76 yards and tacking on an 80-yard sprint down the home sideline by Ridley late in the period.

The Bluejays scored twice in the fourth, but not until the clock had all but petered out.? Erickson broke his 18-yard touchdown run on a scramble as the pocket collapsed during a passing play with roughly two minutes left. USM answered with a 35-yard run on the third play of a 40-yard drive, and Tabor tacked on Erickson's touchdown to Roddy with less than a minute left.

Robles threw for 311 yards and rushed for two touchdowns, but the Spires were bailed out by three Tabor turnovers?two fumbles and an interception, all three of which occured in Spires territory, one of which occured at the USM 6 early in the second quarter.

Jost totaled 136 receiving yards?124 in the first half?and Tabor averaged nearly 6.5 yards per play, in contrast to a 4.2 per-play average over the season. The Bluejays roughly doubled their season averages in both per-game offensive output in yardage (260 yards) and scoring (18 points).

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