The Bethel College football team broke too many records to mention in an 83-35 win over the MidAmerica Nazarene Pioneers Saturday night at Thresher Stadium.
The Threshers broke the team’s single-game scoring record by 27 points, the single-game rushing record (610) by 79 yards, the single-game total offense record (746) by 117 yards, the single-game touchdown record (12) and Brayden Francis broke his own record for extra-point kicks (9) by one.
Zach Esau scored a pair of touchdowns to tie the record for career rushing touchdowns (31).
The 0-3 Pioneers, a replacement opponent for Southwestern, which had to suspend play because of the COVID-19 outbreak, got within six points early in the third quarter, but Bethel replied with six touchdowns.
"They have a good team and they were trying to score," Bethel coach Terry Harrison said. "They had some success in the first quarter. They could score in spurts, so we had to keep applying the pressure. I’m proud of the guys. … (A new opponent) hurts our defense more than anything. We only had a couple films. We didn’t know anything about them. What they ran in the first quarter, we did not see on film. That was new. Our coaches did a good job, and we played a good second half of defense."
The two teams combined for 1,200 yards in total offense. Camryn Harrison led Bethel with 163 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Esau added 107 yards rushing with two touchdowns. Chantz Scurry rushed for 78 yards and three touchdowns. Rudy Juarez III rushed for 96 yards, scoring on an 87-yard run late in the game. Mason Murry also rushed for a touchdown, finishing with 69 yards.
"We had to do everything we talked about," Camryn Harrison said. "We go over every defense and every situation. The counter option and the dive at the (defensive) back, that got going. … We have a long way to go, but I’m very appreciative of this team. It’s a blessing to be here."
Esau was six of seven passing for 136 yards and two touchdowns, both to Tanner Galliart, who finished with 79 yards receiving.
Josh Seabolt had 15 total tackles, including six for a loss and four sacks. He also forced a fumble. Dominic Brown had a fumble recovery and an interception.
"We were prepared, but I don’t know if we were prepared for what they had for us," Seabolt said. "They were running a lot of bubbles. We didn’t see that on film and weren’t prepared for that. We weren’t getting any pressure on the QB. That changed in the second quarter. We started getting pressure on him and started making tackles. That’s something we’ve got to get focused on for this week."
MidAmerica was led by Blake Atkins, who hit 19 of 34 passes for 237 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Atkins also rushed for a touchdown. Kobe Hardin had seven catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns. Jairan Manning rushed for a touchdown. Jonas Pippitt returned a fumble for a touchdown.
Bethel is 4-0 and scheduled to play at 2 p.m. Saturday at Tabor. The 0-3 Bluejays were scheduled to play Ottawa, but that game had to be postponed.