The Tabor College football team played one of its most complete games of the season, while the Bethel Threshers continued to struggle with turnovers and special teams mistakes.


The Tabor College football team played one of its most complete games of the season, while the Bethel Threshers continued to struggle with turnovers and special teams mistakes.

Tabor downed Bethel 55-7 Saturday at Thresher Field. Tabor improves to 2-5, 2-4 in Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference play. Bethel falls to 0-7, 0-6 in conference play.

Bethel had five turnovers, including a 43-yard interception return by Tabor’s Charles Urrutia for a touchdown on the second play from scrimmage.

“Our guys played a complete game,” Tabor coach Mike Gardner said. “They had been scoring some points the last few weeks. That had me concerned early. They had been executing well. We just made it a focus this week of taking them out of their game plan. Our kids came out and executed what they wanted to do. It was nice to get turnovers also. Our special teams did a good job of giving us field position.”

“We did not win the turnover battle or field position,” Bethel coach Travis Graber said. “Those were our two main goals this week. We can’t give up a ‘pick-six’ on the second play. There are a lot of young kids who are still learning. Defensively, we took a couple of strides, but once we make a stop, we do something silly. We had roughing the kicker twice, roughing the passer. We cannot put ourselves in those kinds of situations. Defensively, when we wanted to play the scheme, we did a pretty good job against Tabor. When we had somebody miss an assignment ... it creates a seam. We need all 11 guys taking care of their responsibilities.”

Tabor snaps a four-game losing streak. The Bluejays break a four-year losing streak to the Threshers.

“It was nice to get this win,” Gardner said. “We just need to keep progressing. We want to get better every year.”

Tabor quarterback Joey Erickson hit 14 of 24 passes for 169 yards with an interception and three touchdowns. Aziz Spellman-Smith had five catches for 93 yards and a score.

James Monroe had seven rushes for 87 yards and two touchdowns.

For Bethel, Garrett Hiebert hit five of 12 passes for 83 yards with an interception. Jason Vail hit five of 12 passes for 54 yards with two interceptions and a touchdown. Andrew McNary had four catches for 95 yards and a score.

Tabor scored on its first two possessions of the game, adding three more touchdowns in the first half to take a 35-0 lead.

The Bluejays scored on their first possession of the second half. Bethel came back with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Vail to McNary. Tabor added two more scores in the game, the last with the second-string offense in the game.

Tabor returns to play at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at sixth-ranked McPherson, which stopped Southwestern 55-21 on the road.

“McPherson is a very good team,” Gardner said. “They do an outstanding job in every phase of the game, every phase. We need to be absolutely at our very best.”

Bethel plays its final home game of the season at 1:30 p.m. Saturday against Southwestern.

“Part of our issue has been emotion,” Graber said. “If we can’t get up for these 10 seniors, I don’t what it’s going to take to motivate them. These 10 young men have come in an given us four great years. They came in when times were good. They still have given everything they have. We have to play well for them.”

Tabor 21 14 14 6 —55

Bethel 0 0 7 0 —7

Scoring

1q. T Urrutia 43-yd. interception return (Rothwell kick) 14:02

1q. T Leauma 5-yd. pass from Erickson (Rothwell kick) 7:50

1q. T Spellman-Smith 38-yd. pass from Erickson (Rothwell kick) 1:21

2q. T Monroe 3-yd. run (Rothwell kick) 4:00

2q. T Nix 12-yd. pass from Erickson (Rothwell kick) :12

3q. T Ramsey 7-yd. run (Rothwell kick) 12:28

3q. B McNary 29-yd. pass from Vail (Cousler kick) 7:56

3q. T Monroe 2-yd. run (Rothwell kick) 7:15

4q. T Wynn 5-yd. run (kick failed) 12:04

Team stats

TC BC

First downs 25 17

Rushing-yards 42-279 35-115

Passing yards 175 150

Comp-att-int 15-26-1 11-32-4

Punts-avg. 3-22.3 6-33.2

Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1

Penalties-yards 8-73 4-31

Time of poss. 21:33 30:08

Individual stats

RUSHING — Tabor: Monrow 7-87, Erickson 9-70, Davis 4-42, Herard 7-42, Wynn 4-15, Haywood 5-13, Ramsay 2-12, Brown 2-0, team 2-0. Bethel: Suchsland 11-59, Vail 8-58, McCall 1-4, Jenner 1-2, Hiebert 4-6, team 1-0, Keffer 3-(-2), C.Stultz.

PASSING — Tabor: Erickson 14-25-1, 169 yards; Davis 1-1-0, 6 yards. Bethel: Hiebert 5-2-1, 83 yards; Vail 5-15-2, 54 yards; Keffer 1-1-0, 13 yards.

RECEIVING — Tabor: Spellman-Smith 5-93, Brown 3-36, Gardener 3-19, Nix 1-12, Mendoza 1-6, Leauma 1-5, Monroe 1-4. Bethel: McNary 4-95, A.Unruh 2-17, Jenner 1-13, Suchsland 1-10, C.Stultz 1-7, Regier 1-6, Berg 1-2.

Missed field goals — none.