LINDSBORG — One element lacking in the KCAC is the presence of intense rivalries.
But clearly the best is, without question, Bethany and Kansas Wesleyan, whose football teams meet at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Anderson Field.
They are two schools close in proximity and it always produces the most electric atmosphere of the year.
Records go out the window and it’s probably a good thing this year. Kansas Wesleyan is 4-1 in the KCAC and 6-1 overall, while Bethany is 1-4 in the conference and 1-6 overall — not to mention it’s coming off easily its worst performance of the year in a 24-0 head-scratcher of a loss to Southwestern.
This game, however, could refocus the Swedes. They have supplanted Friends as the KCAC’s most underachieving team as many thought before the season they had upper-division-finishing talent, but it hasn’t translated to wins on the field. Some key injuries have helped contribute to the downfall.
What could really fuel the Swedes is the presence of several former Bethany players on the Kansas Wesleyan roster, the most notable being Londarious Thomas and Marcus Bradley, who have played key roles in the Coyotes’ success. Also, the KW defense has been buoyed by three new starters who were standouts at Friends last year, while the offense has been enhanced by McPherson College transfers Miles Balthazor (the team’s top rusher) and Kelly Cordova, who is one of the KCAC’s most versatile players.
Next year, transfers who change schools within the KCAC will be required to sit out an entire season.
Quarterback play could decide this game. The Coyotes have the KCAC’s best in Jake Curran, but his status is questionable because of an ankle injury suffered last week. If he’s out, Cordova can slide over from receiver, as he had some sparkling games at quarterback at McPherson College last year and would have been the Bulldogs’ starter this year.
Bethany’s quarterbacks Virgil Bridges and Bo Savage combined to complete just 7 of 28 passes last week and with standout running back Tevis Linnebur not available due to injury, the Swedes’ ground game was virtually nil.