Special Teams Leads SC to Victory
Sterling, Kan. – Special Teams played a major role in Sterling College’s 24-8 victory over Tabor College on Saturday night at Smisor Stadium in Sterling, Kansas. The Warriors generated 10 points directly from the Special Teams. Mike Talton scored the first touchdown of the game on a 54 yard punt return and Doug Dunn put in a field goal on a possession gained in the red zone by a blocked punt. The victory improved SC’s record to 1-2, 1-0 in the KCAC.
Defensively, the Warriors were excellent on Saturday, forcing six turnovers. Talton picked off a pass for the third straight game and recovered a fumble on a TC punt return. The SC defense also held Tabor to 56 yards rushing on 36 attempts.
On offense, Sterling struggled to move the ball again, generating 160 yards of total offense on 60 plays. Jesse Bundrage did have a good night rushing for Sterling carrying the ball 29 times for 98 yards. Matt James caught two touchdown passes and had 62 yards receiving on the night.
Talton’s return for a touchdown came in the first quarter after Tabor’s first offensive possession. The 54 yard return represented the only points in the first quarter. Sterling would score next with quarterback Chris Joly connecting with James on a 20 yard pass to open the game up at 14-0 with 3:08 to play in the half. SC would strike again before the half would end, forcing Tabor to punt before the end of the half. Jonathan Tinajero would block the punt and recover the ball in the red zone, giving Sterling a chance to add to the lead. The Warrior offense would be unable to punch the ball in, forcing Doug Dunn onto the field, giving Sterling the 17-0 halftime lead with a 20 yard field goal with 15 seconds left on the clock.
Sterling would strike first in the second half. A Jesse Kendig interception late in the third quarter would be returned 33 yards, setting up another Joly to James connection of seven yards for a Warrior touchdown. With the 24-0 lead at the end of the third, the outcome of the game was decided. Tabor would put together one last drive to score on a James Monroe two yard run and would convert a two point conversion, arriving at the final score of 24-8.
Tabor did hold a slight advantage in time of possession, but the Warrior defense and special teams would put the game away for Sterling.
In the return game, SC had six punt returns that resulted in 130 yards.
Discipline seemed to be a problem for both teams as each amassed 75 yards in penalties in the game.
The win improves SC’s record to 1-2 on the season, 1-0 in the KCAC. Next week, the Warriors travel to Salina to take on Kansas Wesleyan University at 6:00 pm on Saturday, September 17. Watch the game live on the KCAC Broadcast Network.