Warriors Topple 18th Ranked Kansas Wesleyan
Sterling, Kan. - Kansas Wesleyan's Travis Hunter attempted to extend the final play at the end of the fourth quarter and did not stop the clock before time expired, preventing kicker Jesus Ochoa from kicking the game winning field goal. The Sterling College Warrior Football Team held on to upset the 18th ranked Coyotes 22-21. Special Forces (Teams) for the Warriors played a big role as SC blocked both a punt and an extra point on their way to a victory.
On a windy day, the Warriors struck first driving with the wind in the first quarter for a Doug Dunn field goal with 38 seconds left in the quarter. At the end of the first, Sterling held a slim 3-0 lead.
Kansas Wesleyan came alive with the wind in the second quarter. After a missed field goal by Ochoa, the Coyote defense held Sterling to a three and out. On their ensuing possession, KWU's Troy Alsobrook carried the ball five yards for a touchdown. On the PAT, the Warriors made their first big special forces play of the evening. Jesse Kendig blocked Ochoa's PAT attempt making the score 6-3 in favor of the Coyotes. Sterling was held to another three and out, forcing Josh Wheeler to punt into the wind. Kansas Wesleyan would capatilize on good field position with Travis Hunter throwing a 56 yard touchdown strike to Horace Carter with 4:30 left in the half. KWU would complete the two point conversion and lead 14-3. With their backs against the wall, Sterling would orchestrate a touchdown drive capped off by a seven yard Keoki Burbank touchdown pass to Matt James. At the half, Kansas Wesleyan held a small lead 14-10.
In the third quarter, the Coyotes would score on their first drive of the game on a Hunter to Zach McClain touchdown pass widening the score to 21-10. At this point in the game, the Sterling defense would enter and stay in shut down mode. The two teams would trade possession for the rest of the third quarter and the Warriors would go into the fourth quarter trailing 21-10.
Special Forces Coordinator Gabe Eliserio's unit would come up big again in the fourth quarter, blocking a punt early in the period. Jarrett Stanton would recover the punt at the one yard line and run the punt in for a touchdown. Trailing 16-21, the Warriors would still have ground to make-up. After trading possessions for a majority of the quarter, Sterling would take control of the ball with 3:54 remaining. Burbank would start the drive with a 27 yard pass to Joey Garcia that moved the Warriors to the KWU 30 yard line. The Warriors would fail to get a first down on the next three plays and would go for it on fourth and two. On the play, Burbank would hit Jordan Coleman on a short crossing route that would have been a first down. The play did not result in a first down because Coleman would run the ball into the endzone, giving the Warriors a 22-21 lead. After failing on the two point conversion, KWU would have to try and come from behind. On their last drive, KWU would get to the Sterling 26 yard line and have a chance for one last play. On the play, Hunter would try to through the ball out of bounds to stop the clock a la Colt McCoy in the 2009 Big Twelve Championship Game. Unlike McCoy's pass, Hunter's pass would not find the ground until the clock had expired. The Warriors held on for a 22-21 victory.
The Warriors' star performers of the game were Jesse Bundrage, Burbank, and Coleman. Bundrage ran for 121 yards on 29 carries. Burbank had 175 yards passing and two touchdowns without an interception. And Coleman would score the game winning touchdown.
The win moves the Warriors to 4-3 on the season, 3-3 in the KCAC. Next week, the Warriors will host Bethany College at Smisor Stadium Game time is 1:30pm.