The good news for the Bethel College defense Saturday was the seven turnovers it forced against Central Methodist at Joe W. Goering Field as a part of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference-Heart of America Athletic Conference Challenge Series.
The bad news was the 626 yards the visiting Eagles wrapped up in total offense against the Threshers.
The Threshers needed one more turnover, defensive stop or score in a 38-31 loss Saturday.
Central Methodist, 1-1, snaps a 14-game losing streak. Bethel, which snapped its own long losing streak last week, falls to 1-1.
"We could have won," Bethel coach Marty Mathis said. "We weren't quite getting the greatest calls at times, but we had our chances. We didn't always take advantage of them. We had trouble stopping the counter at times. Then they got behind us twice late when it was 31-31. We were standing right there for a pick and didn't make it. On that fade (a 30-yard pass in the final minute to the Bethel 2), we knock the ball out of the kid's hands, and they gave it to them. That kid must have made a heck of a play there, but it was still behind us. We can't let people behind us."
Bethel's defense has forced 11 turnovers, while the offense has given up just three.
"You get that many turnovers, you should be able to win the game," Mathis said. "We had four or five turnovers last week, four or five more today."
CMU was led by running back Maurice Coon, who had 16 carries for 164 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Kaleb Borghardt had 71 yards rushing and 219 yards passing with two touchdowns.
Bethel was led by Stephen Scott with 151 yards rushing. Bo Pratt had 150 yards passing with three touchdowns.
Bethel mounted a long drive to start the game that stalled out on the CMU 32, where Stephen Wren nailed a 49-yard field goal against a stiff wind.
The Eagles replied with a couple long plays to set up a 25-yard Coon run.
Several Eagle drives in the remainder of the first quarter were killed by turnovers. Several Bethel drives were killed by penalties, including back-to-back 15-yard penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Early in the second quarter, CMU punter Ryan Gifford hit a punt that fielded by the Eagles and spotted just outside the goal line. On the following play, Bethel was stopped in its own end zone for a safety.
Bethel got the ball back on a fumble the following play, but a sack forced a 52-yard Wren field goal attempt that was blocked and returned to the Bethel 49. Four plays later, Raymond Bradley scored on a 25-yard run.
The Threshers got back in the game, aided by a 15-yard penalty against the Eagles on the scoring play. Bethel went 73 yards in nine plays, scoring on a 19-yard pass from Pratt to Ruben Hernandez. On fourth and 10, Shakee Bellamy ran 23 yards on a fake punt to keep the drive alive.
The BC defense made a quick stop. The offense drove the ball 77 yards in 11 plays, scoring on a four-yard pass from Pratt to Raul Silva. Bethel forced another turnover, but the drive stalled at the CMU 13, where Wren missed a 30-yard field goal wide left.
Central Methodist needed just six plays to march 65 yards to open the second half, scoring on a seven-yard Coon run. Borghardt hit a pass to Jamall for the two-point conversion. The Eagles had two more long drives that ended on a fumble and an interception. Another drive ended in the red zone on a missed field goal attempt.
Bethel finally took advantage with 13:49 remaining in regulation on an 8-yard pass from Pratt to Silva. Wren hit the point-after kick to tie the game. The Eagles finally finished a drive, replying with a six-play, 75-yard march that ended on a 20-yard pass from Stephen Allen from Borghardt.
A 76-yard Wren punt put CMU on its own one. On the following play. Jared Kauffman recovered a fumble in the end zone for a Thresher touchdown. CMU came right back with a nine-play, 75-yard drive, aided by a pair of penalties on the BC bench. The Eagles scored on a one-yard pass from Borghardt to Williams with 8:28 to play.
Bethel had one more drive late in the game that ended on downs with 1:33 remaining. CMU was able to run off the remaining time.
"My hats off to Central Methodist," Mathis said. "They came in, ran their game. They played a little option, a little counter. They threw the bubbles. The played solid defense at times. Our offense threw up 31 against them.
The Threshers go on the road for the first time this season at 7 p.m. Saturday at 1-1 McPherson. The Bulldogs downed Graceland 34-0.
"They were a .500 team last year," Mathis said. "Their head coach comes from Grandview. They were a playoff team in the Mid-States Football Association. I went against them as a (defensive coordinator) at Marian. We know each other. It's going to be a great battle."
Cent.Meth. 7 9 8 14 —38
Bethel 3 14 0 14 —31
1q. B Wren 49-yd. field goal 10:57
1q. CM Coon 25-yd. run (Rivera kick) 9:39
2q. CM safety: Harmon tackled Scott in end zone 12:48
2q. CM Bradley 26-yd. run (Rivera kick) 9:30
2q. B Hernandez 19-yd. pass from Pratt (Wren kick) 7:04
2q. B Silva 4-yd. pass from Pratt (Wren kick) 2:38
3q. CM Coon 7-yd. run (Williams pass from Borghardt) 13:27
4q. B Silva 8-yd. pass from Pratt (Wren kick) 13:49
4q. CM Allen 20-yd. pass from Borghardt (Silva kick) 11:55
4q. B J.Kaufman recovered fumble in end zone (Wren kick) 11:14
4q. CM Williams 1-yd. run from Borghardt (Silva kick) 8:28
First downs 32 27
Rushing-yards 61-407 46-206
Passing yards 219 170
Comp-att-int 20-35-3 16-48-1
Punts-avg. 3.43.0 8-35.0
Fumbles-lost 4-4 1-0
Penalties-yards 10-57 12-99
Time of poss. 33:11 26:46
RUSHING — Central Methodist: Coon 16-164, Jackson 14-94, Borghardt 10-71, Bradley 6-47, Allen 3-22, Whitley 1-10, team 1-5, Stevens 1-3, Matthews 7-1, Whiley 1-(-4), Williams 1-(-6). Bethel: Scott 31-151, Bellamy 1-23, Pratt 9-22, Brown 2-8, Freeman 3-4.
PASSING — Central Methodist: Borghardt 20-35-3, 219 yards. Bethel: Pratt 14-39-1, 150 yards; Peterson 2-9-0, 20 yards.
RECEIVING — Central Methodist: S.Allen 6-62, Denton 4-37, Stevens 3-57, Williams 3-37, Reis 1-16, Bayless 1-6, D.Allen 1-6, Bradley 1-23. Bethel: Hernandez 7-83, Silva 4-38, Pouncy 2-27, Alexander 2-(-4), Rodriguez 1-26.
Missed field goals — CM: Rivera 31 (WL), 52 (WR). BC: Wren 52 (blocked), 30 (WL).