By the end of McPherson College’s 62-0 loss to No. 11-ranked Tabor here Saturday, the Bulldogs had a defensive back carrying the ball and a tight end playing offensive tackle, while across the front line they were giving away about 50 pounds a man.
A cobbled-together, injury-decimated Bulldog team, which had very few players who weren’t hobbling after the game, was no match for the uber-physical Bluejays, who probably could have hit 80 had coach Mike Gardner not reeled in his starters early in the second half.
Tabor moved one step closer to the KCAC title with a 7-0 record and is 8-1 overall as it’s primed for postseason play. The Bluejays chewed up 473 yards of total offense on just 59 plays and spent the second half basically running dive plays and running the 25-second clock down to shorten the game as a show of sportsmanship.
“They do some things on both sides of the ball and in special teams that are dynamite,” Mac coach Paul Mierkiewicz said. “Coach Gardner has done a nice job of putting a program together and has set a standard that everybody needs to match.”
For the Bulldogs, it completed an historic month for all the wrong reasons. Mac did not score a single offensive touchdown in five October games, as its 15 points came via a defensive touchdown, two field goals and a safety.
As usual, though, there were some nice individual performances. Ryan Lakso, the only healthy running back who actually had to leave for a while after being shaken up, ran for 75 yards on 20 carries. The Bulldogs lost Jackson Goodmiller to a shoulder injury after he had started well with 39 yards on eight carries.
Braden Bush and Dalton Whitfield, who would probably be All-KCAC performers if not for the Bulldogs’ record, recorded 11 and 10 tackles, respectively.
Joseph Donnell rushed for three touchdowns on just eight carries to lead Tabor and Simon McKee never took a snap in the second half after going 11 of 14 for 190 yards to vault the Jays to a 41-0 halftime lead.
Mierkiewicz admits the avalanche of losing every game by a wide margin and not scoring points is beating the team down emotionally, but he says it never quits.
“I know our guys have a lot of pride,” he said. “We don’t really talk about winning games at this point, we talk about getting better and playing for each other. These guys are frustrated and the coaches are, too. I get it. It’s a hard thing to go through. We’ll continue to work together. The guys work extremely hard and coaches work extremely hard. At the end of the day, the guys like being around each other.”
The Bulldogs host Sterling for Senior Day on Saturday. Kickoff is 1 p.m.