Bethel prepares for Thursday opener

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
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The Bethel College football team opens the season with a showcase game of sorts, facing the McPherson College Bulldogs at 7 p.m. Thursday at McPherson Stadium.

Bethel is coming off a 9-2 campaign, matching the school record for wins in a season. It also marked the third post-season appearance for the Threshers, reaching the NAIA playoffs.

Bethel fell to eventual NAIA national champion Lindsey Wilson College 42-10.

This marks the first time in the modern era Bethel has opened the season on a Thursday night.

“We’ve been practicing now for three weeks,” Bethel coach Terry Harrison said. “To move the game up by two days, we welcome that. It was just an opportunity to get on the field instead of practicing.”

Harrison said he’s been happy with the pre-season so far. Harrison reports a squad of 103, returning 19 starters, along with seven others with “significant playing experience.” 

“It’s gone really good,” Bethel coach Terry Harrison said of the pre-season. “We had the best camp we ever had. We return a lot of experience. We did a good job of getting ready to go.”

McPherson is coming off a 3-4 campaign. The Bulldogs elected not to play in the spring.

The leading returning passer for the Bulldogs is Joshua Pisik, who passed for 594 yards in three games with eight touchdowns and two interceptions. Melvin Reid had 30 catches for 347 yards and seven touchdowns.

The leading returnee on defense is Kollin Goering, who had 59 total tackles.

“It’s hard to say, because we don’t know much about them,” Harrison said. “There’s no film. We don’t have jamborees, like they do at the high school level. On their two-deep, they return a lot of players. They chose not to play this spring. Hopefully, the experience we had playing in the spring — playing a few games, winning a conference championship and going toe-to-toe with the national champion for three quarters is an advantage and not a disadvantage against a team that opted out of spring.”

Harrison said shorter turnaround time between the two seasons shouldn’t be a problem for the team.

Harrison reports no injuries for the opener.

Mark Schnabel can be reached at mschnabel@thekansan.com