Vengeance is sweet. Southwestern is still looking to be a competitor in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. They have a golden opportunity this week against the team that handed them their worst loss a year ago.
The Ottawa University Braves are undefeated coming into Saturday’s matchup with the Builders, fresh off a 23-21 victory over Sterling College. The Braves boast one of the most prolific passing attacks in the KCAC.
In his first four games, Ethan Haller, senior quarterback, has thrown for 1,900 yards, completed 59 percent of his passes, and thrown 14 touchdown passes. As a team, the Braves are averaging more than 500 yards of total offense a game.
“We will need to get some pressure on the quarterback, clean up some of our coverages and play solid defense if we want to compete with them,” Ken Crandall, head coach, said. “We have to take care of ourselves out there and find a way to put points on the board.”
They are also very solid defensively. The Braves have forced nine turnovers this season and have registered 12.5 sacks. The Builders will have to bring everything they have if they want to avenge last year’s 73-3 loss to Ottawa.
“We have to come with the mindset that whoever we play we have to play all four quarters,” Matt Perkins, senior defensive back, said. “The minute we let our guard down they can rack the points up.”
The purple and white came into their game against the 0-3 University of Saint Mary Spires on Sept. 26 searching for something positive after two tough opening losses. Things started taking a turn for the worst for the Builders on the Spires opening drive as Daniel Robles, junior quarterback, capped off a 12 play, 70-yard drive with a 17-yard touchdown strike to Terrell Harper, sophomore defensive back.
The Builders never recovered from the Spires early score as St. Mary continued to add to their lead. Robles threw two more touchdowns in the second quarter to Frankie Walburn, sophomore defensive back, and Justin Ritcher, senior wide receiver to make it 21-0 at the half.
Robles and the Spires continued to run up the score as they put up 49 points before the Builders were able to get on the board. Southwestern’s lone score came on a 10-yard pass from Keith VenJohn, junior quarterback, to Case Myers, sophomore running back, with just 2:59 left in the game. The final score read 49-7 Spires.
“We struggled,” Crandall said. “We have to sync a little bit on both sides of the ball. There is no doubt in my mind that we will come back on Monday and get to work.”
The Builders struggled on both sides of the ball throughout the game. The Spires outgained Southwestern in total offense 508-166. Turnovers also plagued the Builders.
“We turned the ball over in key situations,” said Crandall. “We put our defense in some tough situations at that really came back to hurt us.” The Builders turned the ball over six times, fumbling it away four, and throwing two interceptions.
The Builders did have a few bright spots. Lance Evans, freshman running back, anchored the running game as he carried the ball 26 times for 120 yards. The special teams made a big play midway through the third quarter as a blocked Spire field goal was picked up by Trevor Noel, freshman defensive back, and returned 57 yards deep into Spire territory.
The Builders will need many more big plays out of each unit as they head into Saturday’s game. The Builders clash with the Braves at 7 p.m.
Clint Dick is a freshman majoring in communication. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org