Tabor rolls past McPherson, 47-19

Charles BealeOn a blustery Saturday with a strong south wind, the 16th-ranked Tabor College football team defeated McPherson, 47-19, on senior day.

Neither team scored in the first quarter, but Alex Neuschafer forced and recovered a Bulldog fumble to put Tabor at the McPherson 14-yard line to start the second quarter. Tabor scored in three plays. Jonah McKee’s 3-yard touchdown run gave the Bluejays a 7-0 lead after Jared Slavens’ extra-point kick.

On McPherson’s next possession, the Bluejay defense recorded two sacks in four plays—courtesy of Maurice Payne and Evan Sprayberry—forcing McPherson to punt into the wind. The kick traveled 11 yards, giving Tabor favorable field position at the McPherson 33. Curry Parham completed a 21-yard pass to McKee on the sixth play of the drive, and Keith Thomas crossed the goal-line two plays later, extending Tabor’s lead to 14-0.

Curry ParhamAfter a Bulldog three-and-out, Charles Beale returned the punt 55 yards to the McPherson 1-yard line. A false start penalty pushed Tabor back, but Ontre’Von Cooper rushed for a 2-yard score on the third play of the drive to extend Tabor’s lead, 20-0.

Each team scored once after that. McPherson got on the board with a 9-yard touchdown pass with 55 seconds left in the half. But after a 34-yard kickoff return by Zack Johnson, Tabor needed three plays to cover 48 yards. Drevion Cooper rushed for a 24-yard touchdown with 20 seconds to play, and Tabor’s 26-7 lead held through halftime.

Tabor added a touchdown on its first possession after intermission. Skylar Valencia caught a 37-yard pass from Parham three plays in, and Thomas rushed for a 12-yard touchdown on the 10th play of the drive. That extended Tabor’s lead to 33-7, which held through the end of the quarter.

Keith ThomasThe teams traded touchdowns on the first four possessions of the fourth quarter.

McPherson managed a 30-yard touchdown pass just 2:01 into the period, but Tabor responded with a six-play, 47-yard drive capped by a 3-yard touchdown run by Joseph Donnell. That made it 40-13 with 10:53 to play.

McPherson’s next drive was keyed by a 46-yard quarterback keeper that put the Bulldogs in the red zone. A 1-yard touchdown run two plays later made it 40-19. Adrian Brown intercepted the two-point conversion pass attempt.

Tabor scored its final touchdown on a 2-yard run by Parham with 5:00 to play, bringing it to the final, 47-19 spread.

The Bluejays recorded 455 yards of offense, compared with 255 for McPherson.

Skylar ValenciaTabor rushed for 365 yards, led by Drevion Cooper with six carries for 74 yards and one touchdown. Eleven Bluejays had at least one carry. Through the air, Parham was 7-for-9 for 84 yards. Thomas was 1-for-5 for 6 yards. Skylar Valencia caught three passes for 43 yards.

Neuschafer led the defense with 10 tackles, including two tackles for a loss. Tabor managed six sacks. Sprayberry recorded five of them.

Coming—Tabor (6-1, 6-2) will travel to Bethany (1-6, 1-8) Saturday for a 1:30 p.m. game.

For scores and updates during games, follow Janae on Twitter @janaerem13

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