Bluejays fall one yard shy of first victory
By RYAN RICHTER
First-year Tabor Bluejay coach Mike Gottsch has had a rough season back at his alma mater.
For the first time this decade, Tabor (1-8, 0-8 KCAC) faces the threat of going a full season without a victory in KCAC action after coming up a yard short of winning Saturday at McPherson (4-5, 3-5 KCAC), falling 13-6.
With the Bluejays facing a third-and-two at the Bulldog seven in the closing seconds, quarterback Anthony Davis was denied a touchdown at the one-yard line.
Taking care of the ball and a struggling offense were the culprits against the beatable Bulldogs.
As it's been the majority of the season, when one aspect of Tabor's game is working, the other isn't. And Saturday, it was the inability to establish a sufficient passing game.
Davis did most of his damage running the ball, carrying 17 times for a game-high 96 yards while Tabor only could muster a season-low 78 throwing yards.
Davis completed 6-21 passes and two interceptions.
Only twice did Davis manage to hook-up with leading receiver Caleb Marsh, who finished with 36 yards.
With four turnovers on the day, the Bluejays were lucky they didn't have a larger deficit to face with the Bulldogs scoring on their opening drive — a three-yard score by Aazad Artis.
The Bluejays had a chance to strike right back, but Davis threw two incompletions intended for Marsh and Tabor's drive stalled at the McPherson 29.
Tabor finally pulled to within 7-6 with eight minutes, 43 seconds left in the first half with Davis hitting Phil Unruh for an 11-yard score with the extra point attempt no good.
The Bluejays' missed opportunities continued in the third quarter, coming away empty-handed after driving 43 yards to the Bulldogs' 23 on the second half's opening drive.
Derik Martinez's field goal attempt didn't have the distance, and the score remained the same.
McPherson seemed to have no trouble moving the ball against the Bluejays, picking up 357 total yards with 202 on the ground.
The Bulldogs twice got inside the Tabor 15, but had to settle for a pair of field goals from Travis Eason, still leaving the Bluejays hope.
Tabor forced a turnover on downs with 1:22 to go.
Davis tallied 41 of his 96 yards on the Bluejays' final drive, and he hit Marsh for a 22-yard completion to help set up the potentially winning touchdown.
Davis ran for eight more yards to bring up the third-and-two. Stretching for the goal line, Jamion Turner and Bryan Weiser stopped him short.
The Bluejays close out the frustrating year at 1:30 p.m. Saturday then they visit Salina to take on Kansas Wesleyan.