Swedes look to stay perfect on Saturday

By Steve Sell
October 06, 2017

LINDSBORG — The undefeated Bethany College Swedes, the highest-scoring football team in the KCAC, take their high-octane offense to Leavenworth on Saturday to tangle with Saint Mary.

Kickoff is 1:30 p.m.

The Swedes are averaging just under 40 points a game and started receiving votes in the NAIA national poll this week after toppling Ottawa, 31-20.

It had been more than a decade since the 4-0 Swedes had gotten the better of the Braves, coached by former Swede Kent Kessinger.

The Swedes are 3-0 in the KCAC and tied for first with Tabor and Sterling, two teams that throw down on Saturday. A Bethany win against the Spires and it will share the conference lead after being picked to finish in the second division during the preseason.

Saint Mary qualifies as the KCAC’s biggest disappointment so far. After finishing 7-2 in the conference last year and knocking Kansas Wesleyan out of the playoffs on the final week, the Spires have slumped to an 0-3 start in conference play and are 1-4 overall, losing their last four games.

The Spires always have a puncher’s chance as long as Drew Cortez is at quarterback. The junior leads the KCAC in total offense with 306 yards a game and leads the KCAC in passing by a wide margin. Bethany’s Isaiah Salazar is third with 224 yards a game, a total enhanced by more than 400 yards against McPherson College in the opener when he threw seven touchdowns. 

Saint Mary simply hasn’t been able to run the ball with just 98 yards a game, well back of the 205 by the Swedes, who are third in the conference. BC’s Jafar Thomas ran for 188 yards last week while Aaron Knox punished Ottawa with three short touchdown runs.

This is a game the Swedes have to have to be considered a serious contender as the schedule gets tougher from here on out. Their three conference wins come against teams that are just 2-7 in KCAC combined.

Sterling is next up after Saint Mary and the Swedes get the Warriors at home.