Tabor loses to Bethany 29-27

Caleb Marsh caught three touchdowns in the second half as the Bluejays overcame a 19-7 halftime deficit, but fell short of getting their first conference win of the season on Saturday.

On the opening drive, Demetrius
Cox put Tabor up by a touchdown 3:34 into the contest, sprinting 32
yards on the draw play for the score. Derik Martinez nailed the
point-after, and Tabor led 7-0.

Bethany bounced back with an
11-play, 70-yard drive capped off by an 18-yard touchdown from Kawika
Kalawe to Robert Bieger. The PAT kick clanged off the left upright,
leaving the Bluejays with a 7-6 advantage.

But Bethany
intercepted Jason Aubrey at the Bluejay 30 yard line, setting up a
35-yard field goal by Johnathan Alvarez. Trailing 9-7, Tabor then went three-and-out and disorganization on the punt left Martinez scrambling. He gained 2
yards on the run but came up short of the first down, giving the Swedes
another short field to work with as the first quarter came to its end.

second quarter began with Kalawe narrowly avoiding a sack and
scrambling up the sideline 10 yards for a touchdown. The extra point
made it 16-7. Neither offense moved the ball successfully until Bethany
wrecking ball Sean Dahley bounce off a tackle and sprinted 37 yards,
crossing from the Bethany 25 to the Tabor 38. The Swedes moved to the
Tabor 22, but Adam Dirks caught Kalawe for an 8-yard loss to
effectively end the threat.

Tabor took over on downs at the 15
yard line two plays later and drove 58 yards–25 by way of
penalty–before Aubrey was intercepted for a second time. Bethany moved
59 yards in 15 plays, setting up a 29-yard field goal for Alvarez with
one second left in the quarter. Alvarez drilled it, and the score was

Bethany received the kickoff starting the third quarter
and ran seven plays before punting. The seventh play of the drive began
at the Tabor 34 and ended with Joe Wuest and Brad Tyler-Clark running
down Kalawe, sacking him near midfield. The ensuing punt was shanked,
and Marsh came up to the Tabor 34, calling for the fair catch. A
Bethany defender was flagged for running into the Tabor return-man,
costing the Swedes 15 yards. The officials marched off 15 yards, and
Tabor took over only 3 yards down field from where Bethany's punter let

Six plays later, Aubrey drilled a 31-yard touchdown pass to
Marsh. Martinez added the PAT with 7:32 left, and Tabor trailed 19-14.

next drive came to an abrupt halt when Seth Mills reigned in a tipped
pass at the 50-yard line. Cox carried three times for 22 yards and two
first downs, but a holding penalty on the next play stopped Tabor's
possession in its tracks. Three straight incomplete passes brought
Martinez on to punt, and he lofted a 38-yard kick onto the ground
inside the Bethany 5 yard line–but the precision kick took an unlucky
bounce into the end zone for a touchback.

Six plays later,
Bethany was punting again, this time as a result of Teal Stutzman
dropping Dahley in the Swede backfield on third-and-3. Time expired
with Alvarez's kick still in the air, and Tabor took over at its 35 to
start the fourth quarter.

Seth Ramsey broke a 20-yard run on a
draw play, and Cox had carries of 11, 6, and 13 yards, the last of
which saw the diminutive running back throw a devastating stiff arm to
discard a defender who had, for a moment anyway, the 5-foot-9
180-pounder wrapped up for a short gain. The runs set up the second
Aubrey-to-Marsh touchdown, a 26-yard toss that Marsh reeled in with his
fingernails while diving into the end zone to give Tabor a 20-19 lead.
In a bid to go up by a field goal, Tabor tried for two, but Aubrey's
pass to Matt Dean fell incomplete with 11:31 left in the game.

appeared to be stopped on its next drive when Kalawe was knocked out of
bounds just shy of the first down marker by two Tabor defensive backs,
but advanced an additional 30 yards on the play when two personal foul
penalties were called–one for a late hit and one for unsportsmanlike
conduct. But with help from an irate crowd, the Tabor defense kept the
Swedes out of the end zone. The key play came on second-and-goal from
the eight yard line as Dahley took a handoff and was promptly hammered
in the backfield by multiple Bluejay, and fumbled for a 9-yard loss.
Kalawe was johnny-on-the-spot, falling on the loose ball to preserve a
27-yard field goal chance for Alvarez.

Alvarez hit it, tipping the score back to Bethany, 22-20, with 6:19 to go.

the next drive, a pair of penalties made it first-and-16 for Tabor. The
ensuing pass-play fell apart, with Aubrey fumbled while scrambling
after avoiding a sack. Bethany recovered and returned the loose ball 22
yards for a clinching touchdown. Alvarez hit the PAT, making it 29-20
with 5:38 left.

Tabor went to a no-huddle offense on the next
series, and marched 80 yards in 7 plays–and most importantly, only
used 1:40 of clock to do it. Aubrey completed four straight passes to
three different receivers and added an 11-yard keeper run before
launching a 30-yard strike to Marsh for the touchdown.

Martinez posted the point-after, the Bluejays trailed 29-27 and handed
the game over to their defense instead of trying an onside kick. Tabor
immediately forced a 3-and-out, and took over at its own 26.

completed three more passes, moving the Bluejays to midfield, but the
Bluejays were not able to get close enough to send Martinez out for a
game-winning try. Bethany took over on downs with 15 seconds left and
ended the game with a kneel down.

After a sluggish start, Tabor
put up 380 yards of offense, outgaining Bethany by a margin of 258-86
in the second half. Cox finished with 119 rushing yards on 19 carries
and Aubrey put up 207 yards and three touchdowns on 40 attempts. Marsh
had 7 catches for 130 yards to go with the three scores.

were a drag on both team's totals, with Bethany being whistled 10 times
for 97 yards and Tabor 11 times for 102 yards. The final turnover
margin favored Bethany and again proved to be the difference in the
game. Bethany threw interception and lost no fumbles to Tabor's two
interceptions and one fumble.

Tabor is now 0-4 in KCAC play, and Bethany improved to 3-1.

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