Thirteenth-ranked Tabor College knocked off 15th-ranked Friends Univer?sity Satur?day in a 20-19 football showdown.
?(Friends) did an unbelievable job of preparing for us, and I can?t say enough good things about Coach (Monty) Lewis,? coach Mike Gardner said. ?He?s a great guy, and we were just fortunate that we ended up making one more play at the end than they did.?
Friends scored the first points late in the first quarter on an 8-yard pass. The point-after kick failed for a 6-0 Falcon lead with 1:27 left in the quarter.
But Tabor answered early in the second quarter when Owen Cole ran for a 44-yard score, capping a six-play, 70-yard drive. Jared Slavens? kick was off target, keeping the score at 6-6 with 14:04 left in the half.
Later, Friends took advantage of a Tabor turn?over and managed a 71-yard touchdown pass to take a 13-6 lead into intermission.
The Bluejays answered on the opening drive of the second half when James Monroe capped a four-play, 64-yard drive with a 44-yard touchdown run. Slavens? kick tied the game, 13-13, at the 13:00 mark.
Friends reclaimed the lead with a 20-yard touchdown pass for a 19-13 advantage after a missed extra-point kick.
Tabor?s offense then orchestrated what would be the game?s winning drive. The Bluejays converted a key fourth-and-6 from the Friends 29-yard line when Ryan Nelson completed a 23-yard pass to Scott Bauer for a first-and-goal at the 6.
Three plays later, Nelson found Cordell Simmons in the end zone for a 5-yard strike. Slavens? kick gave Tabor a 20-19 lead with 14:05 to play.
Tabor?s defense forced Friends to go three-and-out on the Falcons? next two possessions, but a Tabor fumble gave Friends the ball one last time with 2:05 to go.
Tabor dodged a bullet when Keith Francis intercepted a Falcon pass, allowing Nelson to take a knee to seal the victory.
Monroe had a record-breaking afternoon, becoming Tabor?s all-time career rushing leader. Bluejay legend Bay Lawrence had held the record of 3,008 career yards since 1973.
Coming into the game only 5 yards short of the record, Monroe picked up 194 yards and one touchdown on 34 carries, giving him 3,198 yards so far.
?James Monroe did a great job,? Gardner said. ?He did an unbelievable job of closing the game out, and I can?t say enough good things about James and his ability to play and perform and stay healthy.?
On the defensive side of the ball, Terach Antoine was named KCAC Defensive Player of the Week, finishing with five sacks and nine solo tackles.
Coming?With the win, Tabor improved to 4-1 in the KCAC, 6-1 overall. The Bluejays moved up to No. 11 in the Coaches? Top 25 Poll released Monday. Friends dropped to No. 18.
The Blue?jays travel to McPherson (2-3, 3-4)?Saturday for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.