Tabor dominates Threshers, 76-19

Nik France (46) intercepts a Thresher pass and runs it in for 6 points in the first half Saturday in Tabor?s 76-19 rout of rival Bethel College. With the win, Tabor moved up to No. 12 in the latest NAIA Football Coaches? Top 25 Poll. Tabor College responded to an embarrassing upset loss last week to lowly Bethany College by pounding rival Bethel College, 76-19 Satur?day at Joel H. Wiens Stadium.

?It was a great win,? coach Mike Gardner said. ?I felt like we put together a complete game. We really did?all three phases.

?Hopefully, this game gives us a little bit of confidence in how we can manage our offense and do what we?re supposed to do.?

It?s hard to argue that. The 14th-ranked Bluejays set school records Saturday for most points (76) and rushing yards (571) in a single game.

Three Bluejay backs broke the 100-yard barrier: Cody Coleman, 157 yards on 18 carries; James Monroe, 113 yards on 23 carries; and Hillsboro product Ben Bebermeyer, 111 yards on seven carries.

Gardner praised the play of his quarterbacks, starter Tyler Davis and Ryan Nelson, who saw his first action since going down with an injury a couple of weeks ago.

?Tyler did a great job of it, Ryan did a great job of it in the second half,? Gardner said. ?We just wanted to make sure we got this game behind us.?

In the early going, that goal appeared less than assured as the Threshers, who entered the game 0-7 in the KCAC and 1-8 overall, matched Tabor touchdown for touchdown through the first 17 minutes of the contest.

Cody Coleman (28) led Tabor in rushing Saturday against Bethel with 157 yards on 18 carries. He scored four touchdowns as the Bluejays broke the school record for points and rushing yards in a single game. Tabor scored on the ground on first-quarter runs by Coleman (3 yards) and Monroe (2 yards). But Bethel countered each one with touchdown passes from quarterback DJ Bronson to Tommy Alexander, one for 56 yards and the other for 41.

With Tabor clinging to a 14-12 lead 2 minutes into the second quarter, the Bluejays punched in the throttle, scoring on four consecutive possessions?including a pick 6 by Tabor?s Nik France?for a 42-12 lead.

Jared Slavens? first of two field goals in the game came as time ran out, and bumped the lead to 45-12 at intermission.

?I was really proud of Jared Slavens,? Gardner said. ?We kept giving him opportunities to kick field goals, and he was making them. He did a really good job.?

The Bluejays added three more touchdowns in the third quarter. Tabor took the second-half kickoff and marched 75 yards in 10 plays. Bebermeyer raced into the end zone from 20 yards out for a 52-12 lead at the 11:25 mark.

Tabor extended the lead to 76-12 on two more rushing touchdowns by Monroe?to give him four for the day?and one by Coleman, who also scored four times.

Bethel added a meaningless touchdown with 5:33 left in the game to break a string of 62 unanswered points.

?After the score became what it was, we didn?t want to do anything to embarrass ourselves or the other team,? Gardner said. ?You?ve just got to play the thing out and try to be as classy as possible.?

During a halftime ceremony, Monroe was congratulated for becoming Tabor?s career rushing leader by the man whose record he broke Oct. 19: Tabor College and NAIA Hall of Famer Rolland ?Bay? Lawrence, who went on to be an All-Pro defensive back in the National Football League.

Lawrence set the record in 1973 at 3,008 yards; Mon?roe has accumulated 3,579 yards after Saturday?s game.

?Anytime you have a guy like Rolland ?Bay? Lawrence coming to town and making a special trip out here to meet the guy who broke his record, it?s always a good time,? Gardner said.

?James sure did a tremendous job,? he added. ?I couldn?t have been prouder of him and how he handles himself on a daily basis.?

With the win, Tabor improved to 6-2 in the KCAC and 8-2 overall.

?We really played well today,? Gardner said. ?We got some really good performances from not just our seniors, but a lot of different guys.?

Next week the Jays head northeast for a showdown with the nationally ranked Ottawa Braves, who are 7-1 in the KCAC and 8-2 overall.

To secure a share of the KCAC title, Tabor must defeat the Braves, but would need Kansas Wesleyan to upset Sterling, who also is 7-1 in conference play.

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