TABOR: Swedes spoil Bluejays' debut in Wiens Stadium
Tough-break Tabor squanders lead late in 41-37 loss to Bethany
Add another one to the list of many that got away from the Bluejays and their coach Mike Gottsch.
If there’s one thing the Bluejays’ third-year coach Gottsch has had his fair share of it’s tough breaks and heartaches.
Many games in which Tabor had either the lead or ideal opportunities at a win have ended up with the Bluejays being defeated
It was business as usual for the Bluejays again Saturday, opening the home portion of their schedule on the AstroTurf of Wiens Stadium against the Bethany Swedes.
After rallying from being down 24-3, Tabor scored three unanswered touchdowns to grab a 31-27 lead five seconds into the fourth quarter.
All it took was 4:25 for the Swedes to change the complexion of the game, ruining the Bluejays’ stadium debut with a 41-37 loss.
Oshane Malcolm stung Tabor for a game-high 123 yards rushing and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with 10:21 left in the game.
Tabor ran into a jam right away. The Swedes pulled ahead, 7-0, when Steven Baker found Robert Anderson for a 30-yard touchdown.
Then the Bluejays gift-wrapped a great chance for Bethany to increase the lead, fumbling away the ensuing kickoff at Tabor’s own 24.
The Bluejays caught a break, holding the Swedes to a 22-yard field goal, with 6:51 left in the first quarter.
Despite finishing with a season-high 408 yards total — 5 yards less than Bethany — it took the Bluejays awhile to get rolling.
Tabor quarterback Marc Amos completed 13-of-24 passing for 238 yards and finished with 301 total.
Adrian Clay finished with a team-high 77 yards from four catches, getting 34, and closing out the first quarter.
The Bluejays drove all the way to the Swede 7-yard line only to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Stephen Gulledge to pull to 10-3.
Bethany answered right back though, storming 65 yards in 13 plays with Malcolm scoring on a 1-yard run.
Tabor had a chance to stay close, but Amos’ pass intended for Clay was incomplete with the drive fizzling out at the Swede 19.
Baker shredded the Bluejay secondary, rolling up 301 yards on 23-of-43 passing.
A pair of back-to-back 20-yard completions covered 60 yards in less than 30 seconds, and Tabor was down, 24-3, after Baker hit Robert Anderson.
Tabor cut the lead to 24-10 in a span of 30 seconds by the break with Derek Washington, scoring the first of three touchdowns with a 14-yard run.
Bethany took to the air to start the second half with Baker finding Cordell Hammond and Anderson to get down to the Bluejay 24.
The Bluejays again held the Swedes to a field goal to make it 27-10, 1:48 into the second half.
Former Hillsboro Trojan standout Daniel Jost had three catches for 59 yards — one a 38-yarder — to pull Tabor to the Swede 11-yard line.
Amos and Jost connected again for a 10-yard completion, sparking the first of three straight scoring drives and cut the Swede lead to 27-17.
Washington carried the ball 23 times for just 79 yards — four times on Tabor’s best and longest drive, which ended with Washington plowing in from 9.
The 10-play, 68-yard drive suddenly had the Bluejays bearing down on the Bethany lead, 27-24, with just over 1:30 remaining in the third.
The Swedes had their bouts with mistakes, too, spotting Tabor dandy field position with Mario Nava picking off Baker at the Bethany 20.
Two plays later, Washington was in for the third time and the Bluejays had their first lead.
Tabor was able to hold its head above water for 4:25, or until Baker engineered an 11-play, 75-yard drive capped by Malcolm’s 1-yard run with 10:21 left.
To make matters worse for the Bluejays, Michael Terry intercepted Amos for a 39-yard touchdown return a minute later to push Tabor’s deficit back to double digits.
The Bluejays still had plenty of time left, though, and Amos scrambled for 15 yards to set up first-and-10 at the Bethany 16.
Facing a second-and-2, Amos found Marquis Leauma on an 8-yard touchdown for 41-37, with 6:10 remaining.
Tabor had another chance to re-take the lead with Nick Brown intercepting Baker at the Tabor 43.
Milton Collins and Dewayne Autry quashed that bid, though, and it was the Bluejays’ third and final turnover, which helped foil Tabor.
Collins forced a fumble and Autry recovered at the Bethany 4, allowing the Swedes to run out the final 4:15 to preserve the win.
On a brighter note, Gottsch had to be pleased with Tabor only being charged with one penalty.
Third downs were 3-for-10 improved from last week’s 3-for-14.
The Bluejays face a tough challenge at 7 p.m. Saturday in Wichita against KCAC stalwart Friends.
Last modified Sept. 24, 2009