After an 0-4 start, the Bethel College football team is still looking for ways to get a positive outcome.
The Threshers travel to 1-4 Ottawa at 1 p.m. Saturday in Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference play.
Bethel is coming off a 48-14 loss to McPherson last week on the road. Ottawa fell to Bethany 30-21 on the road.
Ottawa lost to Northwestern (Iowa) in the KCAC-GPAC challenge 41-16 and then lost at Concordia (Neb.) 24-6 before beating Friends 34-28 in triple overtime. Losses to Tabor and Bethany followed.
Bethel is coming off a game against McPherson, where the Threshers gave up 31 points early.
“We know what we need to do, and that’s to execute the offense and play our style of defense,” Bethel coach Morris Lolar said. “We’ve been back on our heels on defense. We haven’t been moving the ball on offense. That’s been keeping us off our focus. We need to get back to playing an attack-style defense. The offense still needs to be moving the ball with more consistency.”
Ottawa is led by Connor Byers, who has hit 71 of 137 passes for 655 yards with five touchdowns and five interceptions. Byers also has 82 carries for 301 yards with three touchdowns.
Backup James Valentine has hit 11 of 26 passes for 109 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
James Reeder leads the Braves in rushing with 91 carries for 524 yards. Lolar said Reeder may not be available for Saturday. If that is the case, the carries may be split between Ethan Paul-Davis with 145 yards and two touchdowns and De’Shawn Jones with 124 yards and a score.
Mauricio Uribe is the team’s leading receiver with 251 yards on 27 catches with four touchdowns. Ten other receivers have made catches this season for the Braves.
“They are going to run the same thing they pretty much always do,” Lolar said. “They have a very good quarterback who can move around pretty good. They have a big offensive line. They will try to shove the ball down the middle. They will be about 50 percent passing. They have good receivers.”
Marcus Fenderson leads the defense with 36 total tackles, followed by Markie Beltram with 32 and Rodney Latham with 30. Fenderson has recovered two fumbles. Beltram has an interception.
“They run a three-man front and come at you,” Lolar said. “They are very quick to the ball.”
Lolar said Bethel quarterback Zach Esau is banged up this week and will likely sit the game out. Expecting to start in Esau’s place is Dominique Webb, who hit 24 of 51 passes for 212 yards with an interception. Webb also has 30 carries for 58 yards rushing.
TyShawn Simon leads the team in rushing with 52 carries for 131 yards and three touchdowns. Montero DuBose has 16 catches for 166 yards. Adrian Palmore has nine catches for 113 yards.
Jariah Booker leads the defense with 40 total tackles, followed by Reggie Young with 31 and Charles Johnson with 23. Young has three interceptions. Keondre Churchwell has 2.0 sacks.
“We need to shore things up on special teams this week,” Lolar said. “We’ve struggled with that and that falls on me. We’re still trying to find our way. We’ve got some young guys who need to start stepping up.”