WICHITA — The Bethel College football team almost had a chance to get comfortable during Saturday’s clash against the Friends Falcons in KCAC play at Adair-Austin Stadiun in Wichita.
Up 18 points heading into the fourth quarter, the Threshers gave up two late touchdowns, holding on for a 25-20 win
“We have an onside kickoff that hits us in the hands and we don’t field cleanly,” Bethel coach Terry Harrison said. “We go up two scores and when they punch it in, it feels like a close game. That’s the way it goes.”
Bethel quarterback Zach Esau goes down with an injury at the end of the first half with 56 yards rushing and a touchdown. Freshman Landon Barnes comes in to start the second half, posting 100 yards rushing with a touchdown. Freshman fullback Jesse Garcia, also a backup, added 73 yards and a score.
“I was just doing what we do in practice,” Barnes said. “Zach is our guy and I was just being the backup QB. We were just running plays. We were executing and the offensive line was just doing its job.”
“(Barnes) was one of the first recruits I brought in because I knew his high school coach,” Harrison said. “We feel comfortable with him in the game. He did a great job for his first college game ever.”
Barnes is from Cheatum County High School, Tenn.
“I’m behind (Esau) another year. I’m just going to be the best teammate I can be,” Barnes said.
The defense picked up four interceptions.
Dominic Brown finished with two interceptions and nine total tackles. Joshua Seabolt finished with eight tackles, a sack and an interception.
Trey Palmer finished with two punt returns for 50 yards, an interception. He also broke up a couple plays late in the game.
“We just practiced real hard this week,” Palmer said. “We really focused on the defensive four. We worked hard and it showed in the game. After two losses, it’s good to get a win. We had to prepare better. We have a bad finish. We have to fix our finish the rest of the season. We have a tough game with (Kansas Wesleyan). We have a tough game with everyone.”
Logan DeMond hit two field goals for the first two Bethel scores. Esau followed with a touchdown run.
Friends came back with a Quincy Brown touchdown run.
In the third quarter, Barnes and Garcia both scored a touchdown.
A bad punt snap set up a second Brown touchdown. After an on-side kick, Javonte Stewart scored on a one-yard run with 30 seconds remaining.
Brown finished with 74 yards rushing.
Bethel is 5-2 overall and in the conference. Friends is 1-6 overall and in the conference.
“Friends has been in every game they’ve lost,” Harrison said. “They’ve been within eight points in every game. For us to be in these scenarios where it’s tight and we come through, it’s great.”
Bethel plays at 1 p.m. Saturday at Ottawa, which was 1-4 before Saturday;s game at McPherson.
“It’s the same scenario,” Harrison said. “They’ve lost some close games. The conference is very competitive right now. It will be a very competitive game.”
1q. B DeMond 31-yd. field goal 9:41
1q. B DeMond 25-yd. field goal 6:46
1q. B Esau 2-yd. run (run failed) :57
2q. F Brown 10-yd. run (Navarro kick) 14:13
3q. B Barnes 3-yd. run (kick failed) 9:46
3q. B Garcia 15-yd. run (DeMond kick) :41
4q. F Brown 10-yd. run (Navarro kick) 3:33
4q. F Stewart 2-yd. run (pass failed) :30
Time of poss.;44:12;15:13
RUSHING — Bethel: Barnes 16-100, Garcia 18-73, Esau 21-56, Green 7-36, Harrison 2-13, Street 3-8, team 1-(-1), Francis 2-(-8). Friends: Brown 11-74, Stewart 7-34, Morris 1-13, McShan 10-12, James 1-3, team 1-(-2), Navarro 1-(-26).
PASSING — Bethel: Esau 1-4-1, 9 yards; Barnes 0-1-0, 0 yards; team 0-1-0, 0 yards. Friends: Stewart 9-22-4, 94 yards; team 0-1-0, 0 yards.
RECEIVING — Bethel: Galliart 1-9. Friends: Fink 3-38, Dericho 2-18, Brown 1-15, Maxson 1-12, Love 1-6, McShan 1-5.
Missed field goals — Fr.: Navarro 26 (WL).