It was the same old, same old for the Bethel Thresher football team — low numbers, turnovers and players wearing down — leading to a 86-6 loss to the University Saint Mary Spires Saturday at Joe W. Goering Field. Bethel falls to 0-9, 0-8 in KCAC play. Saint Mary improves to 5-5, 5-3 in KCAC play. Saint Mary wins its third straight and fifth of its last six. “They just had too many weapons for us,” Bethel coach Jim Dotson said. “Their passing game is super. They ran the ball well. They did so many things, and we weren’t able to stop them. We couldn’t get the offense going. We had two or three chances to score, but something would happen like a turnover.” Saint Mary quarterback Mike Keese hit 35 of 43 passes for 419 yards and four touchdowns. Receiver Ronnie Cooper had 19 catches for 221 yards and four touchdowns. Bethel managed just 104 yards total offense, 15 yards passing. Marques Sykes had 11 carries for 66 yards to lead Bethel. Sykes added 11 yards receiving. Ben Suchsland had 34 yards rushing and averaged 42.0 yards a punt on seven punts, including a long of 61 yards. The Spires opened the game with a 60-yard drive ending on a five-yard Will Ryan run. Bethel’s defense then made two stops — a Josh Kaufman interception and a three-and-out punt. Saint Mary scored on its fourth possession, a one-yard pass from Keese to Ronnie Cooper. A long kickoff return by Tim Shields gave Bethel the ball at the Spire 35. The Threshers, using the wildcat formation (no quarterback), got the ball to the Spire 17. On fourth and three, a bad snap was picked up by the Spires. The recovering player then threw the ball up in the air, where Eli Amador picked it up and ran it into the endzone. A bad punt snap went into the endzone, giving Saint Mary a safety. The Spires then scored on another Ryan run and a 31-yard pass from Keese to Alex Gomes-Coehlo. The second score was set up by a Cris Basch interception. A 53-yard Sykes run gave Bethel the ball at the Spire seven-yard line. On fourth down, Suchsland ran the ball in from the two on the wildcat. Bethel was called for offensive pass interference on the two-point conversion attempt, but the pass was incomplete. Saint Mary replied with a four-play, 59-yard drive, ending on a 22-yard pass from Keese to Cooper. Bethel fumbled the kickoff return at the Thresher 45, setting up a three-yard touchdown run by David Bernal. Keese had 339 yards passing in the first half. Saint Mary scored on its first five possessions of the second half. Keese was pulled for backup Thomas Grossman on the Spires’ third possession. Bethel turnovers set up two of the scores. The Bethel defense finally made a stop with 48 seconds left in the game on the Thresher nine. Bethel ends the season at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at home against conference co-leader Ottawa. The Braves need to beat Bethel to clinch at least a share of the conference title and a post-season playoff berth. “The guys played hard,” Dotson said. “We need to execute a little better. We played a team that was much better than we are in every facet of the game. They just rolled on. It won’t get any easier next week.”
St. Mary 14 37 14 21 —86 Bethel 0 6 0 0 —6 Scoring 1q. SM Ryan 5-yd. run (Jackson kick) 13:14 1q. SM Cooper 1-yd. pass from Keese (Jackson kick) 3:09 2q. SM Amador 73-yd. fumble return (Jackson kick) 13:31 2q. SM safety: punt snap out of endzone 12:13 2q. SM Ryan 1-yd. run (Jackson kick) 7:09 2q. SM Gomes-Coehlo 31-yd. pass from Keese (Jackson kick) 6:51 2q. B Suchsland 2-yd. run (pass failed) 2:34 2q. SM Cooper 22-yd. pass from Keese (Jackson kick) 1:13 2q. SM Bernal 3-yd. run (Jackson kick) :03 3q. SM Ryan 3-yd. run (Jackson kick) 11:01 3q. SM Pruger 16-yd. pass (Jackson kick) 5:14 4q. SM Cooper 9-yd. pass from Grossman (Jackson kick) 14:13 4q. SM Cooper 2-yd. pass from Grossman (Jackson kick) 13:12 4q. SM Bernal 3-yd. run (Jackson kick) 7:57 Team stats  USM BC First downs 35 9 Rushing-yards 32-155 37-89 Passing yards 476 15 Comp-att-int 43-54-1 5-15-2 Punts-avg. 2-38.0 7-42.0 Fumbles-lost 0-0 5-4 Penalties-yards 6-88 5-40 Time of poss. 39:03 21:28 Individual stats RUSHING — Saint Mary: Bernal 14-82, Ryan 14-80, Gossman 3-4, Keese 1-(-11). Bethel: Sykes 11-66, Suchsland 14-34, McCall 4-21, Neill 1-3, Johnston 1-0, Bronson 1-(-6), Jonec 4-(-12), Bean 1-(-17). PASSING — Saint Mary: Keese 35-43-1, 419 yards; Grossman 8-11-0, 57 yards. Bethel: Bronson 3-5-1, 11 yards; Jonec 2-10-1, 4 yards. RECEIVING — Saint Mary: Cooper 19-221, Coldren 6-69, Session 5-58, Gomes-Coehlo 3-48, Pruger 3-26, Wisesman 3-23, Bernal 2-21, Ryan 2-10. Bethel: Sykes 3-11, Jones 2-4. Missed field goals — none.