Paul Mierkiewicz is tired of moral victories.
His McPherson College Bulldogs have been in every game this season in the fourth quarter, but have only one victory to show for it.
The Bulldogs take that deceiving 1-4 record to Ottawa on Saturday for a 1 p.m. KCAC matchup, only the second day game for Mac this season. Join Voice of the Bulldogs Matt Cole for all the action, with pre-game at 12:45 p.m. on 96.7 KBBE-FM.
Once again last week, Mac went facemask to facemask with a top team, trailing No. 14-ranked Kansas Wesleyan 28-25 with 12 minutes left in the game. The Coyotes, with infinite depth in the skill positions, took advantage of Mac’s tired legs to score 21 straight points to close out a 49-25 victory.
“I was really pleased with our kids’ effort,” said Mierkiewicz, whose team passes the halfway point of the season with Saturday’s game. “I think at times we executed really well and at times we didn’t. I don’t really care what the final score is, I’m trying to win games. We need to win some.”
Ottawa, coached by former Bethany College All-American Kent Kessinger, has rebounded after losing its first three games of the season. The Braves are 2-1 in the KCAC — the loss to KCAC-leading Tabor — and 2-3 overall.
“The front end of their schedule has been really difficult,” said Mierkiewicz, noting their three losses were to ranked teams. “I knew if they could get through some things early, they could have a really, really good season. They’ve played the toughest schedule by far. They can really get up and down the field and they’re very physical on defense.”
For those into comparative scores, Ottawa blanked Bethel 10-0 while the Bulldogs lost late in the game to the Threshers, 10-7. However, don’t expect this to be a low-scoring game.
The Bulldogs are staying in games behind the offensive duo of Ed Crouch and Tyrone Campbell. Crouch, in the eyes of many, is the second-best quarterback in the KCAC behind probable Player of the Year Cedrick Phillips of Sterling. Campbell has been a workhorse at running back and went over 100 yards last week and is on pace for about 900 on the season.
Defensively, the Bulldogs are getting continued great play from linebacker Travis Steenson, who now second nationally in tackles with more than 14 a game. He leads the KCAC, while Michael Rabara is eighth.
The game is the fourth on the road in six weeks for the Bulldogs. Next week they begin a two-game homestand by hosting Friends.