Southwestern entered this year looking like a team that wasn’t going to be a threat in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. They were projected to finish in last place in the preseason polls, but ended in a three-way tie for seventh.
The Builders ended their season on a sour note Nov. 14. They traveled to Kansas Wesleyan with high hopes after a two-game winning streak. That dream was crushed quickly as the Coyotes cruised to 33-0 shutout of the Builders.
The first score came off a 12-yard run by Fielding Uhland, junior quarterback, early in the second quarter. From that point on, the Builders struggled to keep up with the Coyotes on both sides of the ball.
With just 14 seconds left in the half, Doug Webster, junior quarterback, connected with Corey Ham, junior wide receiver, for a 14-yard touchdown to extend the Coyote lead. The score not only gave Kansas Wesleyan a 13-0 advantage going into the locker rooms, but momentum coming into the second half.
The Coyotes continued to roll as Uhland hit Anthony Berry, junior wide receiver, for a big play midway through the third quarter. Berry hauled in the pass for a 28-yard touchdown that capped off a 12-play, 99-yard drive that ate up 6:03 minutes off of the clock. “We stopped them in the run early on,” said Tazkargy. “They started getting a lot of big passes, and our defense just got worn down and tired.”
Kansas Wesleyan then scored on another long passing play as Tanner Giffin, freshman wide receiver, threw for a 34-yard touchdown to Daniel Reynolds, senior tight end. The touchdown increased the lead to 26-0 with 12:20 left in the game.
With just over three minutes to play, the Coyotes put the nail in the coffin as Aaron Miller, senior wide receiver, caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Webster. The touchdown ended any hope of a Builder victory as Southwestern suffered its first shut out of the year.
The Builders struggled offensively throughout the game, gaining only 146 yards. “We didn’t make plays,” said Jeff Schaefer, junior wide receiver. “We couldn’t get it done offensively.”
The ground game had a tough time getting anything going against a stingy Coyote defense as Southwestern had 34 yards on 30 rushes.
Jordan Barrett, freshman quarterback, struggled as well as he finished the day completing nine of 24 passes for 104 yards and an interception. Schaefer led the Builders in receiving with three catches for 82 yards.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Builders struggled early in the season. For the past few games, they have been able to find the offensive rhythm they lacked at the beginning of the year. In scoring offense and total offense, Southwestern finished last in the conference, scoring 13.6 points per game and averaging 233.5 yards per game.
It hasn’t been a total loss, though. They proved to be a disciplined team as they finished with the fourth least penalties per game, with 59 penalties for 609 yards.
Defensively, the Builders had their moments. While they have given up their fair share of big plays to opponents, there have been some bright spots. The Builders finished third to Ottawa and Friends University in sacks, finishing with 27.5 total sacks. Southwestern also shut down opponents on third down, ending the season with an opponent third down percentage of 37.0 percent. That was good enough to earn them fifth in the KCAC.
“This year we had a lot of young talent,” said Zak Tazkargy, sophomore linebacker. “I want to see how everyone matures and I think we will be a lot better next year.”
Clint Dick is a freshman majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.