TC runs down Mac, 23-19

TCfbDirksPB080826.jpg
TCfbDirksPB080826.jpg

Adam Dirks catches a handful of a ball carrier during the first quarter of Tabor?s 23-19 comeback win. Teal Stutzman (40), Jon Ramos (33) and Tex Rogers (74) were all too late to help, as Dirks tackled the runner single-handedly.

Rallying from a 19-point deficit, the Tabor College football team moved into a three-way tie for seventh place in the 10-team Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference by defeating McPherson, 23-19, at Reimer Field on Saturday.

On the heels of his four-score performance against South?western last week, Derek Washington contributed 251 rushing yards and three touchdowns against McPherson.

?Derek is a really special back, with deceptive speed to the edge,? coach Mike Gottsch said. ?It?s surprising how many times he runs right past guys who think they have the right angle to keep him bottled up.

?Of course, a lot of credit goes to the offensive line?Drew Little, Jake Sivells, Drew Looper, Robert Ellis and Zach Helgeson,? Gottsch added.

The Bluejays posted 405 yards of total offense and overcame three turnovers to secure coach Gottsch?s second consecutive conference win.

Trailing 19-0 after 26 minutes of spotty defense against the McPherson passing game, Tabor needed a big play, and Washing?ton and the Bluejay offensive line stepped up.

On the first play from scrimmage after McPherson?s third touchdown, Washington broke off an 18-yard run. Gottsch called his number again on the second play of the drive, and Washington peeled off a 49-yard touchdown to make it 19-6 with 3:49 left in the half.

Two plays later, Sean Retting intercepted Bulldogs quarterback Josh White.

Tabor?s ensuing drive gained 23 yards on two Marc Amos quarterback runs, but lost 15 on the next two plays. Amos was intercepted on fourth-and-22 at the McPherson 32.

The Bulldogs reached the Tabor 28 with a seven-play drive, but Bluejays defensive back J.J. Bean intercepted White at the 15-yard line to end the half.

The interception allowed Tabor to carry momentum into the locker room, and the Bluejays scored six plays into the third quarter on a two-yard plunge by Washington.

A 33-yard pass play from Marc Amos to Phil Robben was the longest play of the drive, but Amos made two other big plays during the series: a 20-yard pass to Adrian Clay, and a 21-yard run.

?Amos did not have a good first half, and one of the things you worry about with a young guy is how he?ll respond to that in the second half,? Gottsch said. ?Marc came back and played very well in the second half.?

Behind two tackles from Teal Stutzman?one of which snuffed a fourth-and-two?the Bluejay defense held the Bulldogs at bay.

The offense used 10 plays to bash its way to a first-and-goal at the McPherson 9. A no-gain run and two incomplete passes brought out kicker Marcus Manny for a 24-yard field goal to make it 19-16.

After the kickoff, Tabor forced a three-and-out with 2:16 left in the third, and the Bluejay offense used five runs to march to the McPherson 14 before the teams traded ends.

Then, on the first play of the fourth quarter, Washington shook loose of the Bulldog defense and scored his third touchdown of the day. Manny buried the extra point for a 23-19 Tabor lead.

During the final frame, the Tabor defense bent but did not break. After Stutzman stuffed a Bulldog run on third-and-two at the Tabor 26, the Bluejays forced an incompletion on fourth-and-five.

The Tabor offense advanced the ball 61 yards on 11 plays before attempting a field goal from the McPherson 10. Manny?s kick was wide right, but the drive had consumed 5:50 of the remaining clock.

McPherson took over at its 20 with 4:46 to go, ran four plays to gain five yards, and handed the ball back to the Bluejays with 2:51 to go.

On third down, McPherson ran a wide receiver reverse, hoping to catch the Bluejays off-guard. But Stutzman again made the key play for the Tabor defense, tackling wide receiver Andy Skinner to limit McPher?son?s gain to one yard.

Following an incompletion, Tabor took over on downs at the McPherson 25. But after four ineffective plays by the offense, McPherson took over on downs at its own 20.

White completed consecutive passes, and, combined with a personal foul flagged against Tabor for roughing the passer, moved McPherson to midfield in the blink of an eye.

But the Bluejays made three plays to end the game: Terence George and Jon Ramos each knocked down a pass to push the Bulldogs to third-and-10.

White then scrambled for 13-yards, but fumbled when he was hammered by Stutzman at the Bluejay 38. Defensive back Michael Henry jumped on the loose ball, and Tabor ended the game on kneel-downs.

Stutzman totaled 14 tackles and two forced fumbles. Sean Retting and J.J. Bean each had an interception.

?Each week we give out offensive and defense player of the week awards, just within the team,? Gottsch said. ?Teal has had the defensive one locked up for the last four weeks.?

Amos netted 25 rushing yards to go with 110 passing yards, completing eight of 18 throws. Four of Amos? completions went to Clay, who finished with 52 receiving yards.

With 129 rushing yards and 173 passing yards, White accounted for 302 of McPher?son?s 371 total yards.

Coming?Tabor (2-7 overall, 2-6 KCAC) hosts its season finale against Kansas Wesleyan (5-4, 4-4). Kansas Wesleyan defeated Bethany 38-7.

The Coyotes defense forced three turnovers and scored two interception return touchdowns.

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