Bluejays take flight

Tabor 23, McPherson College 19, Nov. 8, 2008.

That was the last time Tabor College had won a football game?before Saturday night.

At Lindstrom Field in Linds?borg, Tabor tallied 405 yards of offense en route to a 34-13 win over the Bethany Swedes.

?I hope it?s the first of many,? said quarterback Joey Erickson.

Taking advantage of Bethany turnovers, the Bluejays scored 20 points in the fourth quarter to blow open the game.

After blocking a Swede field goal attempt early in the fourth quarter, linebacker Tony Epenesa scooped up a Bethany fumble and returned it 49 yards to the Swede 6-yard line.

Tabor capitalized with running back Andrew Herard scoring on a sweep, stretching the Bluejay lead to 20-13 with 12:13 left to play. Freshman kicker Sean Rothwell missed the point-after kick.

On its ensuing possession, Bethany was driving with a first-and-10 at the Tabor 21-yard line. The drive was quickly halted when Hillsboro product Spencer Brown intercepted a pass and returned it to the Tabor 33-yard line. The interception was Brown?s third of the game.

?The defense worked together to make the quarterback throw it where we wanted it to,? Brown said. ?Next week it will be someone else?s turn.?

Unlike the first two Brown interceptions?which were followed by Erickson interceptions on the ensuing Tabor first downs?Tabor scored on the following possession. Erickson scrambled to the end zone on second-and-5 from the Bethany 13. Rothwell?s kick put Tabor up two touchdowns at 27-13 with 5:30 remaining.

Tabor?s offense didn?t have to wait long to see the field again as Bethany fumbled the ball away at the Swede 25-yard line.

Erickson found wide receiver Aziz Spellman-Smith in the corner of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown for the final score of the game.

The fourth quarter was not representative of the rest of the game, though. Bethany led most of the first half, striking first with a 4-yard touchdown run by Anthony Pines to give Bethany an early 7-0 lead. The touchdown followed an Erickson interception immediately following Brown?s first pick.

Tabor answered, using a big play in the passing game. Erickson hit Aziz Spellman-Smith for a 43-yard gain to the Bethany 7-yard line. At 8:30 in the second quarter, wide receiver Duray Gardener corralled an Erickson pass for a 10-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.

?He just throws the ball up and I just get it,? Gardener said. ?I told (Erickson) I?m doing this for him. He?s a senior.?

Bethany saw the ball bounce its way on the next drive to set up a field goal. An errant pass thrown by quarterback Darby House bounced off Bethany wide receiver Sean Johnson into the hands of wide receiver Robert Anderson for a 42-yard gain.

Bethany regained the lead at 10-7 with a 32-yard field goal from kicker Alex Fambrough with 6:08 left the first half.

Tabor took the lead for good with a score before the end of the first half. Erickson threw for his second of three touchdown passes, completing a 20-yard strike to Spellman-Smith for a 14-10 lead.

Bethany scored a field goal on the first drive of the second half to make the score 14-13 with 11:48 left in the quarter.

Erickson had 333 yards of offense, running the ball 17 times for 100 yards and completing 18 of 38 passes for 233 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Spellman-Smith caught six passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Gardener finished with five catches for 86 yards and a touchdown.

Freshman James Monroe ran 64 yards on 11 attempts.

Bethany?s Theron Allen ran for 108 yards on 24 carries. Johnson caught seven passes for 86 yards.

The Swedes two-headed quarterback of House and senior Mark Magres combined for 18-for-36 passing for 190 yards and four interceptions.

Coming?Tabor (1-1, 1-1 KCAC) will host Friends (1-1, 1-1 KCAC) Saturday. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. The game will be streamed live on the Free Press Web site.

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