LINDSBORG — The newly minted “Smoky Hill Showdown” — the permanent name revealed just before the start of Saturday’s rivalry football game between 107-year foes Bethany College and Kansas Wesleyan that also includes a traveling trophy to the winner — turned into the “Smoky Hill Mowdown.”
The visiting Coyotes jumped on the Swedes for 42 first-half points and then held Bethany scoreless in the second half to complete a 56-28 doubling before a spirited crowd at Anderson Field.
The loss basically knocked the Swedes out of KCAC title contention as they are now 4-3 in the conference and 5-3 overall after starting the year 5-1. Kansas Wesleyan still has some semblance of hope as it’s 5-2 in the KCAC, 6-3 overall.
Bethany, down 35-14 in the second quarter, got it within 35-28 late in the period but KW scored just before the half. Then it scored on its first possession of the second half to go up 49-28 and on the Swedes’ next possession, do-it-all receiver Michael Wimberly went out with a knee injury and did not return as the wind went out of the Swedes’s sails.
“That (the late first-half TD) was a big one,” Bethany coach Paul Hubbard said. “You can’t give them the momentum swing like that. You can’t give a good team easy points like that.”
The Bethany defense had no answers for the Kelly Cordova-led Coyote offense. Cordova, who started his career at McPherson College, was sensational as he was 16 of 25 passing for 243 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 124 more, scoring twice. Trenton Poe-Evans and Kajuan Ocasio caught two TD passes apiece for KW.
The Coyotes finished with 523 yards of total offense as the Bethany defense has sprung some leaks the last two games.
Bethany had a good first half offensively, but once Wimberly went down the Swedes were dormant. Isaiah Salazar threw for 251 yards and two TDs — one to Wimberly and the other to Dalton Goodwin. Salazar also had a rushing touchdown as did Aaron Knox, who was held to 54 yards on 18 carries..
KW’s special teams got into the act on Sam Pierce’s 10-yard return of a muffed punt, which swung the early momentum the Coyotes’ way as it pushed their lead to 21-7 at the time.
Former Swede Nate Ocran, a graduate transfer, scored a touchdown against his old team in the second half.
The Swedes stay at home on Saturday to take on Friends before closing out the season on the road at Tabor.
KW is home next week against Bethel.