With all the struggles the Bethel College football team has been through in recent weeks, there is an opportunity to get out of the mire when the Threshers host Sterling at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Joe W. Goering Field in North Newton.
The Threshers are 0-6, 0-5 in KCAC play. Sterling is 5-2, 4-1 in conference play. The Warriors are in a four-way tie for first in the conference with Kansas Wesleyan, Bethany and Tabor.
The Warriors also are ranked 20th in the NAIA poll.
Sterling is coming off a 30-28 loss to Bethany last week. Bethel fell to Saint Mary 21-10.
“So far, practice this week has been OK,” Bethel coach Morris Lolar said. “I don’t know if we are at our best right now. The guys are still not showing any signs of giving up. They are soaking in what we are trying to tell them and we’re looking forward to Sterling.”
The Warriors are led by quarterback Eic Butler, who has hit 85 of 152 passes for 945 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions. Butler also has 108 carries for 505 yards and five touchdowns. Aaron Chisholm has 115 carries for 515 yards rushing and four touchdowns.
Darryl Terrell has 53 catches for 628 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Richard Newell has 17 catches for 306 yards and a touchdown.
Kenya Edner leads the defense with 66 total tackles, followed by Swain Williams with 48 and Dezmond Howard with 47. Charles Booker has 3.0 sacks.
Lolar expects Sterling to run a Cover-3 defense.
“Sterling’s offense is very effective,” Lolar said. “They do a good job of scoring points. They have been one of the top teams in the conference for the past two or three years. They have been rolling along pretty well. We’re going to have to stop the run. They run the ball very well. Their quarterback does a very good job of running the ball. We’re going to have to make plays on defense and force them to pass a little. … They have a very good nose guard, who we are going to have to block. They run a three-man front and do a good job with it.”
For Bethel, TyShawn Simon leads the team in rushing with 220 yards on 64 carries with three touchdowns. Dominic Webb has 398 yards passing. Montero DuBose has 234 yards receiving, followed by Adrian Palmore with 154, Gary Jolivet with 116 and Bronson Hill with 104.
On defense, Jariah Booker has 56 total tackles, followed by Reggie Young with 44 and Jordan Bell with 41. Young and Charles Johnson each have three interceptions. Carlos Dickerson has 3.5 sacks, followed by Michael Bell with 2.5.
“I feel like our offense should do a better job of moving the ball this week,” Lolar said. “We need to run the ball more effectively. We may try some short passes as well. If we can move the ball and if our defense plays the way they are capable of playing, we have a good chance.”