Tabor loses home opener 54-19

Tabor College was blown out by Sterling 54-19 at Reimer Field Saturday, allowing 530 yards of total offense, 330 of which came on the ground. The Sterling attack could not, however, overshadow another fine performance by standout running back Demetrius Cox, who logged 171 rushing yards on 13 carries. Cox broke touchdown runs of 50 and 52 yards, the second of which combined raw power?evidenced by a quartet of broken tackles?with ludicrous speed in the open field. Cox also did his part in the first half, appearing to have evened the score with a 52-yard breakaway jaunt on a toss sweep to the left side after Sterling took a 7-0 lead.

But the extra point was blocked and returned by the Warriors, putting Tabor in a 9-6 hole from which they could not recover.

Cox's effort was nearly drowned out by officiating that permitted a 54-yard option run on Sterling's next series?a run that should have been wiped off the books by a false start. Instead, Sterling went up 16-6. Officials then ignored an offensive pass interference penalty, allowing Carlos de los Reyes to play through Bluejays cornerback Sean Retting, who had established his position to make a play on a long bomb throw by Degenhardt. Instead of picking off the pass, Retting was knocked to the ground by de los Reyes, who made the catch and highstepped into the end zone for a 67-yard score and a 24-6 Sterling lead.

Tabor answered on the next drive, as Cox again broke loose to set up an 8-yard pass play from Marc Amos to Spencer Brown, cutting the bulge to 24-13 with 8:14 to go in the first half.

Officials then flagged Tabor cornerback Mario Wokocha for pass interference, allowing Sterling to answer with a 5-yard run by Degenhardt for a 31-13 Sterling lead.

Combined with the unfavorable officiating, the Warriors offense was simply overwhelming, scoring 2:24 into the third quarter and again 4:18 later.

Then Cox broke off his second run, and Tabor, perhaps wary of turning to its kicking game, went for two. The conversion was no good, and Sterling seized the momentum to score again 1:54 into the fourth, bringing mass substitutes onto the field for both teams.

Quarterback Marc Amos had an effective day in his first start in place of the injured Jason Aubrey. Amos went 10-for-18 with his passing, notching one touchdown and one interception in addition to multiple deep completions, the longest of which went 37 yards to Philip Robben. Brown's touchdown was his only catch of the day.

Tabor travels to Goodwell, Oklahoma next weekend, where the Bluejays will meet Oklahoma Panhandle State in a rematch of Tabor's 49-28 nonconference win last season.

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