By Mark Schnabel
While still not a win, it was a better looking result for the Bethel College football team in a 31-26 loss to 20th-ranked (NAIA) Sterling Saturday in KCAC play at Joe W. Goering Field.
Bethel drops to 0-7, 0-6 in KCAC play. Sterling improves to 6-2, 5-1 in KCAC play. With three games remaining, Sterling is tied with Tabor for the conference lead.
Sterling jumped ahead late in the first quarter to score on a 23-yard pass from Eric Butler to Janson Robeson, capping a 13-play, 61-yard drive.
Bethel scored early in the second quarter on a 24-yard Brett Mathis field goal.
Sterling pulled away with a three-yard Aaron Chisolm touchdown run and a 66-yard pass from Butler to Robeson. Bethel got back in the game with 23 seconds left in the half when Dominic Webb hit a 24-yard pass to Gary Jolivet. The PAT kick was blocked.
Bethel opened the third quarter with a 22-yard Mathis field goal and a seven-yard run for TyShawn Simon to get within two points.
Sterling pulled away again on a 20-yard pass from Butler to Jordan Dye and a 23-yard Michael Winstead field goal with 5:35 to play.
Bethel pulled within five with 3:25 to play on a 25-yard pass from Zach Esau to Montero DuBose. Bethel got the ball back with 53 seconds to play, getting to the Sterling 48 before turning the ball over on downs with 14 seconds to play.
Butler finished the game hitting 11 of 16 passes for 183 yards and three touchdowns. Chisolm had 15 carries for 76 yards. Robeson finished with two catches for 89 yards.
Webb finished by hitting 11 of 15 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown. Esau hit four of nine passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. Simon had 22 carries for 71 yards. Jolivet had three catches for 151 yards, followed by DuBose with six catches for 103 yards.
Bethel takes on Southwestern at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Jantz Stadium in Winfield. The Moundbuilders are 2-6, 2-4 in KCAC play, after a 28-14 win over Bethany to knock the Swedes out of first place in the conference.
1q. S Robeson 23-yd. pass from Butler (Winstead kick) 3:56
2q. B Mathis 24-yd. field goal 11:23
2q. S Chisolm 3-yd. run (Winstead kick) 9:46
2q. S Robeson 66-yd. pass from Butler (Winstead kick) 2:30
2q. B Jolivet 24-yd. pass from Webb (kick failed) :23
3q. B Mathis 22-yd. field goal 10:00
3q. B Simon 7-yd. run (Mathis kick) 6:34
4q. S Dye 20-yd. pass from Butler (Winstead kick) 10:08
4q. S Winstead 23-yd. field goal 5:35
4q. B DuBose 25-yd. pass from Esau (Mathis kick) 3:25
Time of poss.;28:18;31:46
RUSHING — Sterling: Chisolm 15-76, Doriscar 3-52, Butler 11-40, Terrell 4-31, R.Williams 1-19, Richter 4-3, J.Williams 1-1, team 1-0, Winstead 1-(-13). Bethel: Simon 22-71, Webb 17-55, DuBose 1-5, Ashley 1-0.
PASSING — Sterling: Butler 11-16-0, 183 yards; Richter 0-1-0, 0 yards. Bethel: Webb 11-15-0, 180 yards; Esau 4-9-0, 111 yards.
RECEIVING — Sterling: Dye 4-50, Roberson 2-89, Chisolm 2-33, Terrell 2-3, Chandler 1-8. Bethel: DuBose 6-103, Jolivet 5-151, Palmore 3-30, Hill 1-7.
Missed field goals — none.