Yizalle Whitfield, freshman quarterback, scrambles up the field against a wave of Threshers. (Tessa Castor/Staff photographer)
By RJay McCoy
Last Saturday the football team faced off against the Bethel Threshers for a KCAC conference game. The Threshers strutted into the stadium with an undefeated record of 4-0.
The Moundbuilders, on the other hand, entered the contest with a two game winning streak over Tabor and Bethany. That brought them into the game with a 2-2 record for the season so far.
Bethel dominated Southwestern for the first half. The Builders were forced into the second half with 17 point deficit after being beat in the running game by Bethel.
The Builders found a second wind in the second half as they received the ball. However, Southwestern was forced to punt after a loss of 16 yards. Dalton Rogers, sophomore kicker, punted for the Moundbuilders.
Despite the loss, the Threshers fumbled the punt return at their own 29 yard line. It was recovered by Drew Smith, sophomore linebacker. That marks the turning point for the Moundbuilders.
William Mueller, freshman quarterback, and Tanner Spencer, senior wide reciever, cut the Thresher lead with the first touchdown of the night. Freddy Botello, sophomore kicker, then brought the score to 7-17 with a clean kick.
Bethel’s Braedon Starlin-Driver, sophomore running back, carries the ball into the end zone on a 33 yard rush to put the Threshers back to a 17 point lead.
That ended the third quarter with a score of 24-7, the Threshers topping the scoreboard leading into the final quarter.
The final quarter started off with a turnover on downs by the Threshers to set up the Builders with decent field position.
Yizalle Whitfield, freshman quarterback, lead the Builders through next drive. Whitfield had been switching out of the pocket with Mueller all night.
“My guys believed in me and I believed in my guys,” said Whitfield.
Woody Banks, sophomore wide receiver, led the Builders down the field for a 20-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead by another seven points.
Stellar plays by the Builder defense resulted in regained possession of the ball. The offense marched down the field, threatening the Threshers end zone at their 7 yard line.
Great plays lead to another completed touchdown pass courtesy of Whitfield and Edrick Gonzales, senior wide receiver, cutting the lead to 21-24 with 9:32 left in the game.
A costly Thresher fumble gave the Builders confidence and Whitfield once again lead the Builders down the field.
With less than a minute to go in the game, the Threshers are forced to 75 yards but are unable to close the gap as the Builders knocks down KCAC 25th ranked Bethel.
“This has to be the most exciting win I’ve been a part of in my athletic career. There’s a culture being built around the football program and finishing is a huge emphasis. Offensively we had some huge players step up and our defense wore them down.”, said Grant Torgerson, senior linebacker.
“This win really defines who we are as a team and how much heart we really have. When our backs were against the wall and adversity was closing in on us, we stepped up & fought back. It really showed how much grit we have as a team,” said Darren Hicks, junior linebacker.
The Builders will face McPherson College away from home on Saturday Oct. 12.