LINDSBORG — One game can make all the difference for the Bethany College Swedes.
Bethany enters Saturday’s Senior Day game against Bethel with a 4-4 KCAC record and 5-5 mark overall.
So a win means a winning season. A loss means a losing season. That can make a big difference in recruiting as a winning program is far more attractive to a potential recruit than a losing one.
Kickoff is 1:30 p.m. at frigid Anderson Stadium.
There’s payback on the minds of the Swedes. A year ago, the Threshers entered the game as the only winless team in the KCAC, but toppled the Swedes as both teams finished the year 1-8 in the conference. Given the head-to-head result, Bethany was considered the last-place team in the conference and as a result will miss the Great Plains Challenge next year as the GPAC has only nine available teams.
Given the Swedes’ turnaround this season, second-year coach Manny Matsakis might earn a few votes for KCAC Coach of the Year. The Big 4 of Ottawa, Friends, Tabor and Sterling have had their expected seasons and the award often goes to the team that makes the biggest jump. A Bethany victory over Bethel and that would represent a four-game improvement.
Bethel started fast this season with a couple of early KCAC victories, but has since slumped. The Threshers are 2-6 in the conference and 3-7 overall as they have improved by one game. Bethel has improved tremendously on the defensive side of the ball after being perhaps the worst team in the nation last year. Offensively, they have scored a lot of points at times behind quarterback D.J. Bronson, and backs Robert Smith and Preston Oliver.
Bethany will be saying goodbye for 17 seniors, who will be honored during the day.