Bulldogs have major test on Saturday

By Steve Sell
November 03, 2016

Pack a lunch. Maybe even dinner.

McPherson College and Sterling College have the potential to combine for more than 1,000 yards of offense on Saturday when the football teams meet at Sterling’s Smisor Stadium in what has the potential to be a 4-hour game.

Kickoff is 1:30 p.m. Join Voice of the Bulldogs Matt Cole on 96.7 KBBE-FM, with pre-game set for 1:15 p.m.

While the teams don’t rival each other record-wise, both have offenses that could make for a wildly entertaining game, provided the Bulldogs are hitting on all cylinders like earlier in the season. The Bulldogs are 1-6 in the KCAC and 1-8 overall, though they’ve only been blown out in one game, that coming last week against conference co-leader Tabor.

Perhaps the two most versatile quarterbacks in the KCAC square off as Sterling’s Cedrick Phillips is a lead-pipe cinch for KCAC Offensive Player of the Year, while Mac’s Ed Crouch has bedazzled opponents at times.

“They are just very good at quarterback,” Mac coach Paul Mierkiewicz said. “They’ve always had good quarterback play and good play at wide receiver. But they’re getting better offensive line play than in the past.”

Over the past four weeks the Warriors are averaging more than a point a minute. They are 5-2 in the KCAC and 6-2 overall, having won their last four to move up to No. 15 in the country. Many around the KCAC believe the Warriors, not co-leaders Kansas Wesleyan and Tabor, are playing the best football in the conference right now.

“They’re going to score points, no question,” Mierkiewicz said. “If you sit back and watch him (Phillips), you’re going to be in trouble. You’ve got to be concerned with your assignments. When you get the opportunity to tackle him, you’ve got to do it. If you don’t he can get loose.”

Sterling may have figured out some things on defense last week as they held Saint Mary to 9 points in knocking the Spires out of a three-way tie for first. But this is the same defense that gave up 42 points to Friends, 45 points to Tabor, 56 points to Bethel and 50 points to Ottawa, though it won two of those games. Sterling has put up 56, 70, 65 and 51 points during its winning streak.

Crouch will have to be at his magical best for Mac to have a chance. After an off-game against Saint Mary, which Mierkiewicz said he was dealing with some body soreness, Crouch looked sharp last week with nearly 100 yards rushing and threw a pair of touchdown  passes, while having two wide-open TD passes dropped. The Bulldogs also will need for Tyrone Campbell to have a big game on the ground as the best way to keep Sterling off the board is to keep the ball for long, time-consuming drives.

Mac’s Travis Steenson continues to rank high nationally as he is now No. 3 in the country in tackles with just 16 a game.

The Bulldogs will wrap up the season next week by hosting Bethany, which has a noon kickoff. The county rivals have identical records.