Tabor beats Bethany 34-13

Tabor 23, McPherson College 19, Nov. 8, 2008.

That was the last time Tabor College had won a football game, before Saturday night.

At Lindstrom Field in Lindsborg Saturday, Tabor tallied 405 yards of total offense en route to a 34-13 win over the Bethany Swedes.

?I hope it?s the first of many,? said senior quarterback Joey Erickson.

Taking advantage of Bethany turnovers, the Bluejays scored 20 points in the fourth quarter to blow open the game.

Following a Swede field goal block early in the fourth quarter, Tabor junior linebacker Tony Epenesa scooped up a Bethany fumble and returned it 49 yards to the Swedes? six-yard line. Tabor capitalized with a senior running back Andrew Herard sweep, stretching the Bluejay lead to 20-13 with 12:13 left to play. Freshman kicker Sean Rothwell missed the point-after kick.

On the ensuing Swede possession, Bethany was driving with 1st and 10 from the Tabor 21-yard line. The drive was quickly halted when Hillsboro product, junior safety Spencer Brown, intercepted a pass and returned it to the Tabor 33 yard line. The interception was the third of the game for Brown.

?The defense worked together to make the quarterback throw it where we wanted it to,? said Brown. ?Next week it will be someone else?s turn.?

Unlike the first two Brown interceptions (which were followed by Erickson interceptions on the ensuing Tabor first downs), Tabor scored on the following possession. Erickson scrambled to the end zone on 2nd and five from the Bethany 13. The Rothwell kick put Tabor up two touchdowns at 27-13 with 5:30 remaining.

The Tabor offense didn?t have to wait long to see the field again as Bethany fumbled the ball away at the Swede 25-yard line.

Erickson found junior wide receiver Aziz Spellman-Smith in the corner of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown for the final score of the game.

The fourth quarter was not representative of the rest of the game however. Bethany led most of the first half, striking first with a 4-yard touchdown run by junior running back Anthony Pines to give Bethany an early 7-0 lead. The touchdown followed an Erickson thrown interception immediately following Brown?s first pick.

Tabor answered, using a big play in the passing game to set up the Bluejays? first score. Erickson hit Aziz Spellman-Smith for a 43-yard gain to the Bethany seven-yard line. At 8:30 in the second quarter, junior wide receiver Duray Gardener corralled an Erickson pass for a 10-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.

?He just throws the ball up and I just get it,? said Gardener. ?I told (Erickson) I?m doing this for him. He?s a senior.?

Bethany saw the ball bounce the Swedes? way on the next drive to set up a field goal. An errant pass thrown by junior quarterback Darby House bounced off Bethany senior wide receiver Sean Johnson into the hands of senior wide receiver Robert Anderson for a 42-yard gain. Bethany regained the lead at 10-7 with 32-yard field goal from senior kicker Alex Fambrough with 6:08 to play in the first half.

Taking the lead for good, Tabor scored again before the end of the first half. Erickson threw for his second of three touchdown passes, completing a 20-yard strike to Spellman-Smith to take a 14-10 lead.

Bethany scored another field goal on the first drive of the second half to make the score 14-13 with 11:48 in the 3rd quarter.

Erickson had 333 yards of offense, running the ball 17 times for 100 yards and a touchdown and finishing 18-for-38 for 233 yards,?three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Spellman-Smith caught six passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Gardener finished with five catches for 86 yards and a touchdown.

Freshman running back James Monroe had 64 yards on 11 attempts.

Bethany sophomore running back Theron Allen ran for 108 yards on 24 carries. Johnson caught seven passes for 86 yards. The Swedes two-headed quarterback of House and senior Mark Magres was combined 18-for-36, 190 yards, zero touchdowns and four interceptions.

Tabor (1-1, 1-1) will host Friends (1-1, 1-1) Saturday.

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KCAC results

Sterling 17, Peru State 10

Kansas Wesleyan 59, St. Mary 17

Friends 20, Southwestern 17

McPherson 56, Ottawa 24

Tabor 34, Bethany 13

Southern Nazarene 42, Bethel 18

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