During the time of the great monarchs of Europe, kings and queens would send out public proclamations to be read so that the people would know of new laws that the monarch had created. On Saturday a new “monarch” was making a proclamation, as the Bethel Royals were declaring that any offense that comes their way better be prepared to taste a lot of turf, because these Royals dominate on defense.
In the days of old it was the Knights who protected the monarchs, but on this day is was the Royals who flexed their muscles. Led by senior nose guard Will Van Duzer the Royals defense stifled and smothered the Carleton College offense all day, holding the Knights to just 159 yards of the total offense. Carleton quarterbacks Ethan Trujillo and Zach Creighton were sacked five times and only had 19 pass attempts on the day. Van Duzer had a sack that forced a fumble and the Royals had seven tackles for losses on the day. The Knights Chris Madden found no running lanes at all, gaining only 27 yards on 10 carries, and Creighton was 3-9 passing for 27 yards before leaving the game. He also found nowhere to run, gaining just 19 yards on 10 carries.
The game was close through the first 15 minutes as a Nathaniel Van Loon 30-yard field goal was the only score of the first quarter. However, in the second, the Royals offense got rolling behind the Marquardt brothers, Brandon and Bryce.
With 5:21 left in the first quarter, Bethel began a drive at their own 38-yard line, and moved 62 yards in 14 plays before QB Erik Peterson scored from three yards out to give the Royals a 10-0 lead. Bethel moved the ball exclusively on the ground, relying on Peterson and two of their Three Kings backfield of Marshall Klitzke and Brandon Marquardt to secure the score.
Carleton’s next drive began at their own 20, and they were able to move the ball the Bethel 41, but the defense stiffened and forced a punt. Third King Bridgeport Tusler took the punt from inside his 10, and looked like he was going all the way, but he was stripped of the ball at the four-yard line, turning the ball back over to the Knights.
Undeterred by having to immediately return to the field, the Royals defense dominated the line of scrimmage, allowing the Knights just four yards in a three-n-out series. From their Peterson and Bryce Marquardt took over, with the drive culminating in a 22-yard touchdown pass to the younger Marquardt brother for a 17-0 lead.
Carleton took over on their next possession at their own 24, and on the first two plays Creighton was finding no room to either run or pass. He gained three yards on his first carry before a mis-connection with Matt Mensinger made it third and seven. That is when Van Duzer chased down the Knights QB, stripping him of the ball and giving the Royals possession on the Carleton 27. From there a three play drive led to a seven-yard score by older brother Brandon Marquardt to make it 24-0. A close first quarter game had become a second quarter blowout.
The two teams returned to the field for the second half, with Bethel receiving the opening kickoff. They wouldn’t have the ball long. Brandon Marquardt received the ball at his own one-yard line, and made a few great moves to elude tacklers on his way to a 99-yard kickoff return. If the Knights had thoughts of coming back, the elder Marquardt quickly crushed those ideas.
Neither team was able to mount much of an attack with their next possessions, but on the Knights second possession of the half they began to mount a solid drive. Starting from their own 35, Carleton moved the ball to the Bethel 32, but Creighton’s pass on first and 10 was picked off by Josh Treimer. Treimer made an outstanding play to read the quarterback and pick-off the ball.
Back on offense the Marquardt brothers made short work of the possession. On the first play, older brother Brandon took the ball 36 yards to the Carleton 32. Peterson then hit a streaking Bryce for 32 more and the touchdown to close out the scoring for Bethel.
Down 38-0, the Knights finally got on the board behind the play of quarterback Ethan Trujillo. Trujillo lead a nine-play, 45 yard drive for a touchdown. He completed four of five passes on the possession, including a 10-yard strike to Peter Dehkes for the score. The touchdown was the first points allowed by the Royals defense in seven quarters.
The Royals offense was led by Brandon Marquardt, who had 12 carries for 96 yards. Klitzke has 13 carries for 63 yards of his own. Peterson completed 16 of his 21 attempts for 159 yards and two touchdowns. Both of his touchdowns went to Bryce Marquardt, who had six total catches for 87 yards.
While it was a fine day for the offense, it was the play of the defense that really stood out on this afternoon. Junior linebacker Landon Mathis led the Royals with ten tackles. David Morgan and Daniel Leidall each had six, and Morgan recovered the fumble caused by Van Duzer.
The Knights got some outstanding efforts out of their defense despite the loss. Zach Heinrich had 17 tackles and Daniel Cook added 12 more. Heinrich also forced a fumble.
With the victory proclamation in hand Bethel welcomes Concordia College who is undefeated at 4-0. Carleton moves on to play Gustavus Adolphus. The Gusties are undefeated as well (4-0).
By Robert Pannier