LINDSBORG — Apparently no lead is too safe for the Bethany College Swedes.
A week after letting a 10-point lead get away in a loss to Ottawa, the Swedes returned home on Saturday and piled up a seemingly comfortable 33-17 lead over Saint Mary as the first win of the year was imminent.
But the Spires stormed back and Aiden Perrin’s 46-yard field goal with 37 seconds left in the game hushed the Anderson Field crowd as Saint Mary slinked out of town with a 34-33 victory.
Bethany is now one of two 0-3 teams in the KCAC and has lost five in a row to open the season.
The Swedes did little wrong until late in the game when coach Paul Hubbard admitted he made a bad decision. On a fourth-down and 11 yards to go play from the Saint Mary 14 and the Swedes up 33-31, he elected to go for it instead of taking what would have been a short field goal and forcing Saint Mary to go the length of the field in the final 1:50 for the win.
“I made a bone-headed call on fourth down,” Hubbard said. “We should have kicked a field goal. We were going to kick a field goal, but I wanted to try and draw them offsides. I wanted to run the clock down to two (seconds) and call timeout. I can’t explain it, we snapped it at 3.”
The Swedes wasted a terrific day from Darius Handcox, back in the lineup after serving a two-game suspension. He was 17 of 29 for 278 yards and four scores. Nate Ocran lent support with 102 yards rushing despite playing with a cast to protect his broken hand.
Micahel Wimberly caught two of the TD passes and also ran in for a score. Dalton Goodwin caught an 85-yard TD pass and Anthony Jackson also caught a scoring pass.
Bethany was up 27-14 in the second quarter despite giving up a touchdown on Saint Mary’s first play of the game and a pick-six. The Spires added a field goal just before the half to trail 27-17.
But the Swedes scored early in the third to lead 33-17, but the final 17 points went to the Spires.
Bethany goes to Sterling on Saturday.
• BETHANY LEADERS •
Rushing — Ocran 17-102, Smith 10-50.
Passing — Handcox 17-29-1-287.
Receiving — Wimberly 8-91, Jackson 5-66, Goodwin 2-110, Jones 1-14, Durand 1-6.
• SAINT MARY LEADERS •
Rushing – Ridley 26-70.
Passing — Cortez 17-24-0-268.
Receiving — Ridley 6-48, Barnhart 3-63, Corn 3-62.