Looking to rebound after last week’s tough loss at Concordia, the Bethel Royals scored 34-points in the first half and went on to win 41-7 over the Hamline Pipers. The victory was spurred by an outstanding effort by the Bethel defense, who allowed 280 total yards of offense, while sacking the Hamline quarterback twice and picking off a pass.
Both teams punted on their opening possessions of the game, but the Royals would score on their second possession. Quarterback Trey Anderson led the offense on an 11-play, 54-yard drive that was capped off when Marshall Klitzke scored from four-yards out. The Bethel QB completed two of his three passes on the drive and rushed for 20-yards to help lead the charge.
On Hamline’s next possession, linebacker Jesse Moeckly picked off Luke Lindquist at the Piper’s 20 and returned it to the two-yardline before he was tackled. The Pipers defense came up big though, holding the Royals out of the end zone on three straight plays but, on fourth and 1, Coach Steve Johnson decided to go for it and Anderson scored to make it 14-0.
On their next possession, Hamline mounted an impressive drive that moved to the Bethel 16, but on fourth and 2, Lindquist was pressured by Zach Einhuis. The Hamline QB made a valiant attempt to find an open receiver, but his pass fell incomplete, giving Bethel the ball.
The Royals offense would make quick work of their next possession. Anderson gained 11-yards on the first play of the drive, and a personal foul call on the play gave the home team 15 more. The Bethel QB then went up top to Charles Johnson for 57-yards and the score. That made it 21-0.
The offense was clicking and the defense was making big plays. On the next possession it was time for the special teams to deliver a big moment. The defense stopped the Hamline offense on their next possession, bringing up fourth and 8. The Pipers chose to punt, and Jordan Bardwell made them pay, bursting through to block the punt. Mitch Dorhout recovered the ball at the Hamline 18. Three plays later Klitzke scored from a yard out and it was a 27-point lead.
The next Bethel drive began at their own 45, and was a quick drive as well. Anderson moved the chains when he rushed for 11-yards on the third play of the drive. On the next play Bridgeport Tusler proved why he is so difficult to corral, eluding a group of defenders before racing 37-yards for the score.
The Hamline Pipers were struggling, but got a big play on the Royals next possession. Anderson’s pass was picked off by Anthony Hill, who raced 27-yards to the Bethel 26. On the next play Linquist hit Philip Sherman for the score to give the Pipers the score just before half.
With the score 34-7 coming out of the locker rooms, both defenses ruled the second half. Hamline punted twice and turned the ball over on downs three times. Bethel punted four times, but did add one more score. That came on another Klitzke touchdown run, this time from one-yard out. The big play of the drive was Anderson’s 43-yard pass to Jackson Canfield. Canfield was tackled just short of the goal line, setting up Klitzke’s score.
Despite the final score, the stats were quite even between the teams. The Bethel Royals finished with 331-yards of total offense to the Pipers 280. Anderson was 8-17 passing for 158-yards and a TD, and he rushed 13 times for 60 more yards and a score. Tusler led the Royals with 63-yards and a touchdown on the ground, and Klitzke gained 51-yards and 3 TDs. Johnson had 3-catches for 64-yards and a score.
Brendan Nachtrieb led the Pipers in rushing, gaining 53-yards on 13-carries. Sherman had 4-catches for 66-yards and a TD and Naji El-Araby had 4 more for 61-yards.
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By Robert Pannier