Tabor College defeated visiting Kansas Wesleyan, 54-28, Saturday.
Although the Coyotes hung with the Bluejays at first, Tabor?s offense proved to be too much in the end.
?Offense did a really nice job,? coach Mike Gardner said. ?We could?ve probably scored more if we didn?t fumble the football in some critical situations, but offensively, I thought we did very well.?
Gardner said he was ?real proud? of Ryan Nelson in his second game as starting quarterback after the injury to Simon McKee.
?He even got in the end zone running a triple option play, so that was nice to see,? Gardner said.
After the Coyotes missed a 31-yard field goal attempt on the opening possession, Tabor grabbed the lead when Cody Coleman capped an 85-yard drive with an 18-yard touchdown run with 8:10 left in the first quarter.
Tabor?s Keith Francis recovered a fumble on the kickoff return, but quarterback Ryan Nelson fumbled the ball back to Kansas Wesleyan two plays later. The Coyotes capitalized on the turnover with a 48-yard touchdown pass to even the score at 7-7.
When James Monroe broke loose for a 46-yard touchdown run, Tabor led by seven with 3:03 to play in the first quarter.
The Coyotes tied it again on a 23-yard scoring pass, only to have Tabor?s Owen Cole return the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown. Tabor led, 21-14, as the quarter ended.
Cole was named KCAC Special Teams Player of the Week.
The Bluejays lengthened the lead at the start of the second quarter when, on a sack of quarterback Trey Dallas, Derrick Lawrence forced a fumble that Terach Antoine scooped up and ran in for a touchdown. Slavens? kick made it 28-14.
Tabor?s first possession of the second quarter ended with a goal-line fumble.?But after a Coyote punt, the Bluejays scored on an 18-yard run by Coleman.
Kansas Wesleyan found the end zone on a 38-yard touchdown pass, which left Tabor with a 34-21 lead at halftime. The Coyotes blocked a 29-yard field goal attempt by Slavens at the end of the half.
The scoring continued into the third quarter. Tabor cashed in on a 39-yard run by Coleman and later on a 19-yard pass from Nelson to Monroe.
The Coyotes found the end zone for the last time on a 63-yard run.
Tabor?s final scoring drive of the afternoon lasted into the fourth quarter. Nelson capped the 10-play, 63-yard effort with a 13-yard touchdown run. Slavens? kick made the final score 54-28 with 12:41 left to play.
The two teams each had a fourth-quarter drive cut short by an interception. Two additional Coyote trips into the red zone came up empty as well.
?Kansas Wesleyan played really well offensively,? Gardner said. ?I thought they did some good things.
?We just struggled on the defense, and that?s what happens when you get in a situation where you?re not tackling and doing what we normally do.?
The Bluejays (3-1, 5-1) will get a test defensively Saturday when 13th-ranked Tabor travels to 15th-ranked Friends (4-0, 5-1)?for a 3 p.m. kickoff.
?Friends is just good,? Gardner said. ?They?re real physical. We?ve got to get healthy and put together something on the field that?s going to put us in a position to win.?