There’s no game more important for the McPherson College football team than the Blake Reed Memorial Game.
The annual game is scheduled for Saturday night at McPherson Stadium with the Bulldogs taking on Bethel College, with both teams looking for their first conference victory.
Kickoff is 7 p.m.
The Blake Reed Memorial Locker Room will be dedicated earlier in the day in a 2:30 ceremony in the McPherson Stadium concourse, just north of the Sport Center. The public is invited to attend.
This is the seventh year for the game. Blake was a student assistant coach for the Bulldog football team and died from complications of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in 2010.
Donations will be accepted at the gate to benefit the Blake Reed Mac2Mac Football Scholarship Fund. To date, the scholarship fund has raised $57,000, which is used to fund an annual scholarship to benefit one McPherson football player who exemplifies Reed's positive spirit and attitude.
Past recipients of the scholarship include: James Temaat, John Davidson, Michael Ramos, Cole Long, Evan Clary and Kavoderic McIntyre. The 2017 recipient of this year's scholarship will be announced at halftime of Saturday’s game.
The Bulldogs are 1-2 on the year, opening with a rousing 43-14 win over Texas Wesleyan before going on the road to lose to Bethany (57-43) and Southwestern (45-17). The loss to Southwestern was somewhat demoralizing, especially since the Bulldogs beat the Builders in last year’s Blake Reed game and the margin of victory was unexpected.
Bethel is 0-2 in the KCAC (as is Saint Mary) and the Threshers were outlasted 37-33 last week by Bethany despite three interceptions and a fumble recovery by Reggie Young, who in a rarity for the KCAC was named Defensive Player in the Week. Normally the conference doesn’t pick a player from the losing team, but Young’s performance was too good to ignore. Bethel as a team forced eight turnovers in the game.
The Threshers, like Mac, have struggled defensively. They gave up 53 points in their KCAC opener to Tabor after being lit up for 44 points by Dordt College.
Former Hesston standout Zach Esau made his first start at quarterback last week for Bethel and has a good running back to hand off to Tyshawn Simon.
The Bulldogs certainly have been good enough offensively to win, averaging just under 34 points a game, but have been porous defensively by allowing 51 points a game through two KCAC contests.
Coach Paul Mierkiewicz said the Bulldogs have to do a better job with penalties as they have been in double digits in every game, some of them having had devastating effects. Also, third down has been a key as the Bulldogs have had trouble converting, while the opponents are converting more than 50 percent of the time.