LINDSBORG — The Bethany College Swedes are still a KCAC football contender, but they are hoping to avoid becoming a pretender on Saturday afternoon.
The Swedes, 3-1 in the KCAC, can cause a hullabaloo when they host No. 15-ranked and conference leader Sterling as part of homecoming.
Game time is 1:30.
The Swedes started their season 4-0, including 3-0 in the KCAC. But they stubbed their toe last week at Saint Mary, which had entered the game winless in the conference and losers of four straight.
After a 21-all tie at the half, the Spires battened down the hatches for a 33-29 win.
Meanwhile, Sterling is coming off the emotional high of a 23-21 victory over Tabor in a matchup of then-KCAC leaders. The Warriors are now alone at the top with a 4-0 record.
A Bethany loss and it would make it tough for the Swedes to catch the Warriors.
Sterling has done all of this without its supernova quarterback Cedrick Phillips, lost to a torn ACL the first week of the season. He was considered an All-America candidate as he was a dynamic runner and terrific passer.
In his stead, Eric Butler has done a great job of managing the game. He is averaging a modest 209 yards of total offense, but is getting the job done. He throws for just 149 yards a game, though he might open it up considering Bethany gave up 473 passing yards last week to Saint Mary’s Drew Cortez and just under 600 yards total.
Darryl Terrell, a sprinter-fast receiver, has become the Warriors’ home run threat as he leads the KCAC with 7.2 catches a game.
As always, Sterling is very good defensively, which has been its trademark. The Bethany offense, which has been pounding teams with a relentless running attack, will be put to the test. Michael Wimberly has all but clinched a spot on the All-KCAC team, catching three more TD passes last week from Isaiah Salazar. Jafar Thomas and Aaron Knox have developed into a thunder-and-lightning running combo, Thomas with his tremendous speed and Knox with his bruising power.