Joshua Booth, Sports Information Director
NORTH NEWTON, Kan. – 2016 was an odd year for Bethel football. A team which managed a 3-7 record received 13 individual selections to the All-KCAC team, and their first All-American since 2009 (Rickey Rodriguez (SR/Port St. Lucie, Fla.) at cornerback). This year the Threshers will need to stay strong in the fourth quarter, where four different games last season came down to the wire and Bethel ultimately found themselves on the wrong side of the scoreboard.
Here’s a look at who Bethel will take on this year:
|09/02||Dordt||North Newton, Kan.||6:00 PM|
|09/16||Tabor*||Hillsboro, Kan.||7:00 PM|
|09/23||Bethany*||North Newton, Kan.||7:00 PM|
|09/30||McPherson*||McPherson, Kan.||7:00 PM|
|10/07||Ottawa*||Ottawa, Kan.||1:30 PM|
|10/14||Saint Mary*||North Newton, Kan.||7:00 PM|
|10/21||Sterling*||North Newton, Kan.||1:30 PM|
|10/28||Southwestern*||Winfield, Kan.||1:30 PM|
|11/04||Kansas Wesleyan*||Salina, Kan.||1:30 PM|
|11/11||Friends*||North Newton, Kan.||1:30 PM|
* – denotes KCAC matchup
Bethel will kickoff the season at home on September 2nd when they host Dordt College, from Sioux Center, Iowa. This is part of the annual KCAC-GPAC Challenge, where the teams of these conferences are matched up against each other based on the previous year’s conference standings. This will be the first ever meeting between the two on the gridiron, and the Threshers will need to be ready to contain Dordt’s All-American running back Bryce Lidtka, who led the entire NAIA last year in total yards rushing.
Bethel then takes a bye-week before opening conference play on September 16, at rival Tabor. This game may set the tone for the season, and will be a new experience to have such a heated atmosphere early on in the season instead of in November. The Threshers will then host Bethany College on the 24th, who they defeated last season handily 26-9.
It’s then on to two-straight road games. The first being at McPherson College on September 30th, who Bethel was able to hold off at home last season 10-7. They follow this up with a matchup at Ottawa University. This game took place during last year’s Fall Fest, and was the KCAC Game of the Week. Neither team’s defense disappointed during the 10-0 loss for the Threshers, but Bethel will need to have more of an offensive presence this year.
Middle October features two-straight home games for Bethel, those being against the University of Saint Mary on the 14th, and Sterling College on the 21st. October 14th’s matchup with the Spires will be this year’s Fall Fest game, and Bethel will look to seek revenge after being up early last year 10-0, and ultimately falling 17-10. Sterling brought out the best in Bethel’s offense last year, as the Threshers scored a program record 56 points in that contest. Unfortunately, Bethel’s nationally ranked defense was nowhere to be found that day as they allowed the Warriors to break off 70 points. If you like high offensive games, this may be one to mark on your calendar.
The Threshers hit the road twice more before their final home game of the season. Those games are on October 28th at Southwestern, and November 4th at Kansas Wesleyan. The Kansas Wesleyan game will be an interesting one, as it may wind up being a make-or-break matchup for one of these two teams. Last year’s was certainly not without it’s drama, as Bethel hosted the then 13th ranked Coyotes and held onto the lead for most of the game. Kansas Wesleyan woke up in the fourth quarter, and were able to steal the victory with only two minutes remaining in the game.
Bethel’s final game and final home game of the season will be November 11th, when they host Friends University. This was the Threshers’ marquee win last season, as Head Coach Morris Lolar went into the Falcons’ stadium where he had played his college ball, and led his team to a huge 38-22 victory. This was Bethel’s first victory over Friends since the year 2000, and the first time Bethel had defeated the Falcons’ former coach Monty Lewis in his 23 year head coaching career in the KCAC.
Be sure to keep up with the schedule by clicking here, as times are subject to change as we get closer to the season.