Threshers stall out in second half
The Bethel College football team did what it needed to do in the first half against Kansas Wesleyan, but in the second half, the 11th-ranked Threshers stalled on offense and struggled on defense, falling to the Coyotes 28-21 Saturday in KCAC play at Thresher Stadium.
Bethel also missed all three extra-point attempts in the game.
Bethel ends the regular season 9-1, 6-1 in KCAC play. Kansas Wesleyan improves to 7-2, 4-2 in the conference.
“We didn’t finish drives,” Bethel coach Terry Harrison said. “We’ll have to see what that was about. We had one that we didn’t punch in. We played well the entire first half. We got caught in a weird scenario where we had to go for two based on points. We have to work on that. It’s not a setback. We’ve already won (the KCAC). We’re a top-15 team. It’s embarrassing. We don’t like losing football games. We’ll just keep working.”
Kansas Wesleyan was led by Isaiah Randalle, who hit 19 of 32 passes for 320 yards with three touchdowns. Paden Hazuga had five catches for 160 yards and three touchdowns. The Coyotes were held to 19 yards rushing.
Bethel was led by Rudy Juarez III with nine carries for 121 yards rushing and a touchdown. Zach Esau rushed for 76 yards and hit two of three passes for 19 yards. Mason Murray had both catches and rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown. Chantz Scurry rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown.
Bethel finished with 371 yards rushing as a team.
Kansas Wesleyan drew first blood on a 60-yard pass from Randalle to Hazuga. Bethel replied with two long drives for scores, missing extra-point tries on both scores.
Kansas Wesleyan converted on three fourth-down plays on its next possession, but the fourth was stopped just shy of the goalline.
J.C. Shelton intercepted a pass with 1:02 left in the half to end another KWU scoring chance. Two plays later, Rudy Juarez III scored on a 79-yard run. The two-point conversion run attempt was stopped short.
After a Kansas Wesleyan long pass put the ball back in Bethel territory, Josh Seabolt sacked Randalle to end the half.
In the second half, a long pass on fourth down set up a two-yard touchdown pass from Randalle to Hazuga. Another long pass on fourth down set up a one-yard run for Nick Allsman, putting the Coyotes in the lead.
A Bethel drive stalled at the KWU 14. After a Bethel penalty, a 36-yard Logan DeMond field goal attempt went wide. Four plays later, Randalle hit Hazuga for a 63-yard scoring play.
Bethel scored on a 21-yard DeMond field goal with 1:10 remaining. Kansas Wesleyan recovered the on-side kick.
The Threshers already clinched a playoff berth in the NAIA playoffs, which begin April 17. The loss likely puts the Threshers on the road.
“That’s the weird part, what are we going to do with three weeks of practice?” Harrison said. “We’ll just prepare on our own, not knowing who our opponent will be. We’ll find out April 11.”
1q. KW Hazuga 60-yd. pass from Randalle (Main kick) 4:31
1q. B Murray 14-yd. run (kick failed) 1:16
2q. B Scurry 1-yd. run (run failed) 8:34
2q. B Juarez III 79-yd. run (run failed) :24
3q. KW Hazuga 2-yd. pass from Randalle (Main kick) 10:08
3q. KW Allsman 1-yd. run (Main kick) 4:40
4q. KW Hazuga 63-yd. pass from Randalle (Main kick) 12:16
4q. B DeMond 21-yd. field goal 1:13 Team stats
Time of poss.;25:07;33:36
RUSHING — Kansas Wesleyan: Sandoval 9-21, Allsman 11-16, Sanders 5-8, Randalle 4-(-26). Bethel: Juarez III 9-115, Esau 19-76, Murray 8-63, Scurry 13-56, Christiansen 8-31, Delancy 6-24, Francis 1-6.
PASSING — Kansas Wesleyan: Randalle 19-32-1, 320 yards. Bethel: Esau 2-3-0, 19 yards.
RECEIVING — Kansas Wesleyan: Hazuga 5-160, Macon 7-75, Jenkins 3-48, Williams 2-26, Sanders 1-8, Sandoval 1-3. Bethel: Murray 2-19.
Missed field goals — BC: DeMond 36 (WL).
Mark Schnabel can be reached at email@example.com