Heartbreak in Ottawa
Ottawa, Kan. - The Ottawa University Braves defeated the Sterling College Warriors in an epic battle in Ottawa, Kansas by a score of 34-39. The Warriors were unable to get a crucial first down in the fourth quarter that allowed the Braves to have the ball with enough time remaining to engineer a game-winning fourth quarter drive.
The first quarter started off poorly for Sterling. On their first drive of the game, the Warriors were unable to gain a first down and then had a punt blocked. The Braves capitalized on the blocked punt by recovering the blocked punt for a touchdown. After a 29 yard Rashard Colquitt kick-off return, the Warriors were able to respond with a touchdown drive. Jesse Bundrage finished the drive with a 2 yard touchdown run. After an Ottawa three and out, the Warriors got the ball again in the first quarter. With the ball, the Warriors were able to put together another touchdown drive topped off by an incredible Matt James touchdown reception from Keoki Burbank in the back corner of the endzone. At the end of the first quarter, the Warriors led 14-7.
Ottawa would respond in the second quarter. After an early Ottawa field goal, the Ottawa defense would stall the Sterling offense causing Sterling punter Josh Wheeler to punt into the wind. The Braves would get good field position after the punt and capitalize on that field position with a Bobby Adamson touchdown run. The rest of the quarter was a battle for field position until Adamson connected with explosive wide out Clarence Anderson for an Ottawa touchdown right before the half. At the half, the score was 24-14 in favor of Ottawa.
Sterling would strike first in the second quarter with a Burbank to James touchdown connection, pulling the Warriors within three. Ottawa would answer with a touchdown of their own coming off of a Shane Gizmo quarterback keeper out of the Wildcat formation. Sterling went into the fourth quarter trailing by ten points.
Early in the fourth quarter, Sterling would strike. Former quarterback Joey Garcia responded for the Warriors, scoring from the running back position on a pitch to pull the Warriors back to within a score. Ottawa would get a field goal on their next drive then give the ball back to the Warriors. Sterling would then take a one point lead on a 37 yard Bundrage touchdown rush. The Sterling defense would get a big stop on the next Ottawa possession, forcing the Braves to punt. The Warriors needed a long drive to prevent Ottawa from getting the ball back, but were unable to do so. However, the Sterling defense stepped up again, getting a turnover on downs. Again, the Sterling offense had the chance to run down the clock but was unable to get a first down. Ottawa would score late on their next possession with the winning touchdown on a pass from Adamson to CJ Krug. The final score would be Sterling 34, Ottawa 39.
Bundrage and James had big games for the Warriors, scoring two touchdowns apiece. Bundrage had 83 rushing yards to accompany his two touchdowns, and James had 83 receiving yards to accompany his two touchdowns. Burbank was the leading passer for the Warriors, throwing for 150 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.
With the loss, the Warriors fall to 2-1, 1-1 in the KCAC. Next Saturday, the Warriors will play host to current KCAC favorite McPherson College at Smisor Stadium. Kick-off is at 1:30.