Talent may not be the deciding factor in Saturday’s McPherson College Senior Day football game against last-place Southwestern.
With a good-sized snow in the forecast, the team that best adapts to the elements may emerge as the winner.
Kickoff at McPherson Stadium is 1:30 p.m. For those brave souls that dare to venture out, please bring nonperishable food items to the game to help the McPherson College Pre-Health Professions Club support the McPherson County Food Bank.
Mac needs a win to finish 4-5 in the KCAC and 4-7 overall. This year has been one to forget for Southwestern, in last place at 1-7 and 1-9 overall, but that win came against Tabor.
Bulldog coach Steve Fox realizes it could be quite a harrowing day as points could be at a minimum.
"It's going to come down who's mentally tougher," said Fox, whose team has lost three of its five KCAC games by a touchdown or less as it has been oh so close to being a contender. "We've been practicing out in this the last two evenings and I hope that pays off. The guys from this part of the country are all right, but the guys from Texas don't like it too much."
The Bulldogs actually have not played a cold-weather game as it's been unseasonably warm all season.
Southwestern is much like Mac in that it's lost some close games, including last week's 24-16 setback to Sterling after leading 9-0 at the half. Mac had Sterling down 28-10 the week before, but the Warriors rallied for a 31-28 decision.
The Builders have a decent running game, but like Mac, struggle to throw the ball. Neither Tyler Crandall nor Braden Langston are good throwers, as their passing percentage is among the worst in the conference.
"They're pretty balanced," Fox said. "They're going to try and run the ball and throw a pass in here or there."
Fox believes this is a statement game for his team.
"This game goes a long way toward recruiting," said Fox, whose team pounded the Builders 37-7 last year in the finale. "That taste in your mouth is what I always talk about. You want to go into the offseason with a good taste in your mouth. You've got to live with it for the next nine months. We also want to send these seniors out on a good note. They've contributed a lot to our program."
The Bulldogs have limped to the finish line. No team in the KCAC has been more besieged by injuries and this week starting quarterback Kelly Cordova is out and top running back Miles Balthazor may play, but only sparingly. Cody Groff, who started earlier in the season, is now healthy again and will get the call, while Dalton Whitfield will again go both ways at running back and linebacker.
Ottawa takes a one-game lead into the final week of the KCAC season, but has no bargain as it takes on Tabor in Hillsboro. Also Saturday, Bethany hosts Bethel, Saint Mary is at Friends and Kansas Wesleyan goes to Sterling. There's still a chance three teams could tie for the title.
• KCAC STANDINGS •
Ottawa, 7-1 (8-2)
Friends, 6-2 (7-3)
Sterling, 6-2 (6-4)
Tabor, 5-3 (7-3)
Bethany, 4-4, (5-5)
Saint Mary, 4-4 (4-6)
McPherson College, 3-5 (3-7)
Bethel, 2-6 (3-7)
Kansas Wesleyan, 2-6 (2-8)
Southwestern, 1-7 (1-9)