The Bethel College football team didn’t bring its best game to Sterling while the host Warriors did, resulting in a 24-3 Sterling win Saturday night in Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference play at Smisor Stadium.

All of the scoring was in the first half. Bethel was held to 235 yards total offense, -46 rushing. Sterling had 399 total yards.

Quarterback Tyler Degenhardt was responsible for most of the Warriors’ damage, passing for 148 yards and three touchdowns, and rushing for 81 yards. Rashard Colquitt rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown. The only thing that went wrong for the Warriors was missing four PAT attempts.

“We tried to do a lot of variety of run-pass,” said Degenhardt, a fifth-year senior from Holton. “After last week, they were keying on our run. Last week, we did a lot of running. Our linemen and other backs did a good job of running tonight and doing their job. We got players on our team that can make big plays. There aren’t just one or two like there maybe have in the past. I look forward to that.”

“In the first half, they did a very nice job,” Bethel coach Mike Moore said. “They played faster than we did, especially on offense. On offense, we had opportunity after opportunity to make plays. We dropped two touchdown passes. We turn the ball over once or twice inside the 10 or 15. The second half defensively, we played much better. Offensively, we just did not do a very good job making adjustments and handling their pressure. That’s our fault as a coaching staff, and my fault as head coach.”

Bethel quarterback Brett Clow did hit 16 of 31 passes with one interception for 275 yards but had -71 yards rushing, mostly on Sterling sacks. Beau Cox was held to 25 yards rushing but had 46 yards receiving. Darin Derstein had 91 yards receiving.

Bethel, entering the game ranked 13th in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics poll, falls to 2-1 overall and in KCAC play. Sterling improves to 2-1 overall and in the conference.

“A year ago, it was flipped,” Moore said. “Bethany beat Friends on this day a year ago. We were undefeated. We still control our own destiny. The kids understand that.”

Sterling snaps a two-year losing streak against Bethel. It was the widest margin of victory for either team in the past five years.

“It’s been rough,” Degenhardt said. “It’s added up. I think every game we’ve played against them in the five years I’ve been here have been close. We decided it’s not going to happen this year. We clawed and fought and did everything we had to do for the win.”

Bethel gave up ground in big chunks in the first half, aided by blown coverages and penalties. Sterling missed all three PAT attempts, shanking two kicks.

Bethel moved the ball between the 20s. A pair of sack on one possession gave Sterling the ball on downs near midfield. Another drive stalled inside the 10, where Braden Dragomir hit a 27-yard field goal.

A third Thresher drive ended in a fumble at the SC 17 with 3:48 left in the half. Five plays later, Sterling went 83 yards for the score. Again, the PAT attempt failed.

An 85-yard Mervin Brookins kickoff return was called back for holding.

Bethel was held to -6 yards rushing in the first half. Sterling had 270 yards total offense.

“They just played faster than we did in the first half, and that’s the bottom line,” Moore said. “They play fast on offense and defense. ... We didn’t do some things trying to come back. I’m disappointed in the way we reacted to some of it. ... For us to be successful, we have to run the ball, and we didn’t do that tonight.”

Bethel’s defense contained Sterling’s option most of the third quarter, but the offense was held in its own territory. Sterling missed a field goal attempt early in the fourth quarter.

Bethel made a goalline stand late in the game, capped by a Curlee Bishop interception with 4:59 left. Bethel got to the Sterling 29, where the Threshers turned it over with 2:21 left.

Bethel returns home at 7 p.m. Saturday for Fall Fest against Bethany, which is 0-3 after a 42-6 loss to Friends. The Falcons have been outscored 162-33 this season.

“I haven’t seen anything on them,” Moore said. “I know they got beat pretty bad last week. A lot will depend on if they have everybody back and healthy. At this point, we have to worry more about ourselves than anybody else. If we don’t get things situated within our program, it’s not going to matter who we play. We have to do a nice job of getting some things corrected and getting in the right direction this week.”

Bethel 0 3 0 0 —3

Sterling 6 18 0 0 —24

Scoring

1q. S De Los Reyes 24-pass from Degenhardt (kick failed) 9:19

2q. S De Los Reyes 14-pass from Degenhardt (run failed) 14:01

2q. B Dragomir 27-field goal 10:11

2q. S Colquit 5-yd. run (kick failed) 5:52

2q. S Dunbar 36-yd. pass from Degenhardt (run failed) 1:45

Team stats

BC SC

First downs 11 22

Rushing-yards 20-(-46) 43-251

Passing yards 281 148

Comp-att-int 17-32-1 10-19-1

Punts-avg. 7-35.4 4-35.0

Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-0

Penalties-yards 8-70 4-26

Time of poss. 24:44 35:16

Individual stats

RUSHING — Bethel: Cox 11-25, Clow 9-(-71). Sterling: Colquitt 15-116, Degenhardt 17-81, Murphy 10-54, team 1-0.

PASSING — Bethel: Clow 17-32-1, 281 yards; Derstein 1-1-0, 6 yards. Sterling: Degenhardt 10-18-1, 148 yards; Murphy 0-1-0, 0 yards.

RECEIVING — Bethel: Derstein 5-91, Cox 4-46, Benson 3-58, Voth-Gaeddert 2-50, Morgan 2-30, Clow 1-6. Sterling: Murphy 4-53, De Los Reyes 2-38, McEachern 2-10, Dunbar 1-36.

TACLKES (solo-assists) — Bethel: Yerges 9-1, Hammond 7-0, Bishop 5-1, Maple 4-0, Mueller 4-0, Brookins 3-1, Dav.Daugherty 2-0, Dan.Daugherty 2-0, McCartney 2-0, Randolph 2-0, Shaw 2-0, Towns 2-0, Bloss 1-0, Regier 1-0, Stephenson 1-0, Taylor 1-0, Bugosh 0-1, Dragomir 0-1, A.Schmidt 0-1. Sterling: Sullivan 6-3, Henjy 3-1, Jones 3-0, Schneider 3-0, Mans 2-1, Addison 2-0, Burgess 2-0, Lott 2-0, Talton 2-0, Arnold 1-0, Baker 1-0, Bristol 1-0, Cox 1-0, Frank 1-0, Hayes 1-0, Hixson 1-0, Kingsbury 0-1.

Missed field goals — SC: Wheeler 32 (WR).