Tabor football falls just short in road opener

The Tabor football team’s late rally against a Bacone College team Saturday in their road opener just wasn’t quite enough to earn a victory, as in the end the same weakness that plagued them all last season proved the Bluejays’ undoing – turnovers costing points. Tabor scored all of its 20 points in the second half. The loss puts the Bluejays at 0-1 for the season. Tabor is scheduled for its home conference opener against Sterling College Sept. 8. 

Bacone made their offensive mark early in the first quarter, thanks to a 54-yard run from tailback Aron McCoy that put the Warriors on top, 7-0, with 8:50 remaining. Two fields goals from Bacone kicker Jamie Moore for a combined 90 yards put the Warriors solidly in the lead, with a 13-0 margin at halftime.

But then the momentum began to swing back the other way, when Tabor defensive back Anthony Daniel intercepted Warrior Kyle Kuban’s pass to put the Bluejays in scoring position on the 25-yard line. But Tabor needed four plays to put points on the board, finally relying on a 37-yard field goal from Bluejay kicker Joe Cannon to shave Bacone’s lead to 13-3. 

Bacone earned a big break, though, as Tabor put the ball on the ground and it was recovered by Warrior safety Erik King on the Bluejays’ 34-yard line. Kuban connected with Rashad Rich to seal the deal and make it 20-3 with 8:51 left in the third quarter. 

But the Bluejays weren’t rolling over and playing dead quite yet. 

Tabor’s sophomore quarterback Simon McKee threaded a 20-yard pass to Scott Bauer in the end zone to make it a 20-10 ball game. The Jays then recovered a Bacone fumble and McKee scored on a keeper, turning Bacone’s solid lead into a 20-17 margin going into the fourth quarter. 

The Bluejay defense forced a Warrior punt on their next possession and scored on a field goal to tie up the game with 11:44 left, 20-20, as the momentum continued in Tabor’s favor. 

But the comeback was not to be. Bacone put together a 13-play, 54-yard drive that ended in Warrior points on the scoreboard, 23-20, after Moore drilled a 24-yard field goal. 

Tabor had a chance to pull ahead again, driving to the 45-yard line, but McKee fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Bacone’s Deantre Harlan on the Bluejays’ 38-yard line. Tabor did indeed hold Bacone and save the score, but it forced the Jays to start on the one-yard line and opened the door for a safety from Bacone senior defensive lineman Dustin Sherer. 

Bacone escaped with the eventual 25-20 victory. 

For the Warriors, McCoy led in rushing with 128 yards on 13 attempts and Kuban starts the season going 13 for 25, resulting in 109 yards, one touchdown and one inteception. Sherer, Daniel Shield and Jeremy Sims tied for top tackling honors with 10 each. 

From the Bluejay bench, McKee set the pace with 140 rushing yards and 52 yards and a touchdown through the air. James Monroe, Jr., added 119 yards rushing. Baur led with 20 receiving yards, but Tanner Giffin came in a close second with 18. Junior defensive back JoJo Galvez led the defensive effort with five solo tackles and two assists, with Chris Sanborn adding three solos and four assists. 

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