Levi Convirs, Sports Information Director
LINDSBORG – Makenzie Evans picked off four passes to tie a KCAC single-game record as the Friends University Falcons put together a historic defensive performance in a 49-20 rout of the Bethany College Swedes today in Lindsborg, Kan.
Evans’ four interceptions are the most in a conference game since Chris Williams accomplished the same feat in 2014.
Overall, the Falcons intercepted seven passes, the highest total in a KCAC outing since Ottawa’s seven interceptions, ironically against the Falcons, in 2012.
“What a great effort from our guys today,” Friends head coach Dion Meneley said. “From the start of the game, they played with a sense of urgency.”
“We had a really bad taste in our mouth after last week and were ready to let loose and start feeling good again. I felt we controlled the game both offensively and defensively and did a nice job of closing the game.”
The Falcons jumped all over the Swedes early, starting with a two yard touchdown pass from Kevin Folsom to Brett Darling on a perfectly executed tight end delay that put Friends on top 7-0 at the 4:41 mark of the opening quarter.
The touchdown was Darling’s first of his career and just his second career reception.
On the first play of the Swedes’ next possession, Sherman Arthur picked off his second pass of the quarter and took it to the house for a 22 yard touchdown that quickly put the Falcons up 14-0.
Following a three and out by the Falcons defense, Folsom ran 38 yards to the Bethany 12 that set up Triton Douglas’s first career score, a two yard run that gave Friends a commanding 21-0 lead with still 1:55 left in the first quarter.
The second quarter belonged to Evans, who picked off two of his four passes, including a 35 yard pick six that extended the edge to 28-0.
The Falcons weren’t through in the half and scored yet again when Dan Dawdy came in and found Dillon Payne for a 25 yard touchdown pass on third and 15 that gave Friends a commanding 35-0 lead they would take into the break. The touchdown reception was Payne’s first of his career.
Friends (4-6, 4-4 KCAC) continued the onslaught as an interception by Francis Tusa set the Falcons up at the Bethany 14 that resulted in Douglas’s second touchdown run of the day that pushed the lead to 42-0.
Following Evans’ third interception, the Swedes got on the board when a fumble by Dawdy was recovered at the Bethany 25 yard line by Deauntre Roberts and returned 75 yards for a touchdown.
After Bethany scored again on a 53 yard touchdown pass from Bryce Banks to Michael Milbourne, the Falcons drove down and Douglas punched in his third touchdown from two yards out to finish the scoring for Friends.
Evans’ fourth pick came with 11:03 remaining in the fourth quarter at the Bethany 37 yard line.
Folsom passed for 120 yards but did the bulk of his damage on the ground, rushing for a career-best 141 yards. Dawdy threw for 89 yards on 7-of-15 passing.
Douglas, starting for Noah Diaz, gained a career-best 109 yards and scored three touchdowns. Sam Camp led the Falcons with five catches for 106 yards.
Banks passed for 131 yards for Bethany (5-4, 4-4 KCAC) and Milbourne had four receptions for 87 yards and two scores.
Tim Hamilton sparked the Falcons’ defense with six tackles, 1.5 sacks and three tackles for loss. Jordan Brookins also had a sack, while Kelechi Chukwuka and Tusa each recorded half a sack.
The Falcons will now look to continue to finish the year in style in the season finale next Saturday (Nov. 11) at Bethel College. Kickoff will be at 1:30 pm in North Newton, Kan.