Gibas, Delich Lead Punishing Ground Attack as Royals Roll, 42-10
The No. 10 ranked Bethel University Royals looked to continue where they left off in 2018, dominating Simpson College in their 2019 season opener, 42-10. A punishing ground attack led by Mike Delich and Sam Gibas helped lead the way as the Royals put up 279 rushing yards, led by Delich who rushed for 87 yards and two touchdowns. The defense dominated as well, allowing 267 total yards of offense to the Storm while recording seven tackles for losses, including two sacks.
Early on, both defenses dominated. Neither team was able to generate much offense, as both were forced to punt on the first two drives of the game. After Simpson College punted on their third possession, Bethel University would finally begin to move the ball.
Starting from their own 42 yard line, quarterback Jaran Roste carried the ball on back-to-back plays for 22 total yards. With the ball at the Storm 26, running back Sam Gibas was dropped for a 6 yard loss before Roste found wide receiver John Carlson for a 10 yard completion. Two plays later, the Royals were faced with a fourth and 4. The coaching staff opted to go for it, and the sophomore combination of Roste and Gibas delivered, completing an 8 yard pass for a first down. On the next play Joel Koenecke burst ahead for 21 yards down to the one yard line. Two plays later, Max Janes scored to make it 7-0 Bethel.
Simpson would respond with a field goal to cut the deficit to four, and came close to making this a one point game when Zach Kreider narrowly missed a 39 yard attempt. The missed attempt seemed to kick the Bethel offense in gear, as they moved 78 yards in three plays. Back to back penalties by the Strom defense move the ball 20 yards before it looked like the BU drive may stall when they were faced with a third and one at their own 46 yard line. However, Delich took the carry, blasting through the line and racing 54 yards for a touchdown to make it a 14-3 game.
Bethel would score on their next possession as well, as they moved 87 yards in seven plays. Roste completed five passes on the drive, all of which moved the chains. Three of those came on consecutive plays, when he threw for a total of 37 yards. With first and 10 at the Storm 31, Roste found WR Drew Larsen for a touchdown to extend the lead to 18.
The Royals took the second half kickoff and would extend their lead to 28-3. The methodical drive took 13 plays and 8:01 off the clock. Ten of those plays were runs, as Roste and Gibas alternated carries. The Bethel coaching staff showed a lot of confidence in their offense all game long, as the team was faced with a fourth and goal at the Simpson 3 yard line, but opted to go for it. Roste connected with Gibas for the score and the rout was on. The Royals converted all three fourth downs they faced in the contest.
Bethel University would add a touchdown just before the end of the third. Riley McCann set up the drive when he intercepted a Tanner Krueger pass at the Simpson 48 yard line, returning it 13 yards. One play later, Jake Marsh, who had taken over for Roste, found Larsen in the left-hand corner of the end zone for a 35 yard touchdown to make it 35-3.
The Storm responded with a 61 yard touchdown drive to cut the deficit to 25. Joe Meyer scored from 2 yards out to cap off the drive, but the Royals came right back with a seven play, 65 yard drive to close out the scoring. Delich dominated the drive, carrying the ball four times for 33 yards, including scoring from 3 yards out for his second touchdown of the game.
Mike Delich finished with 87 yards and two touchdowns on five carries. Sam Gibas carried the ball 15 times for 84 yards. Jaran Roste had 11 carries for 67 yards and completed 14 of 18 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Jake Marsh was 4-4 for 77 yards and a score in relief of Roste. Drew Larsen was the leading receiver with five receptions for 107 yards and two scores.
The defense had an outstanding day, as five players led with seven tackles. That included Delich, who also recorded 1.5 tackles for losses. Kyle Peach had seven tackles, 2.5 for losses, and a sack. Judson Williams, Cale Ferrin, and Max Janes each had seven tackles as well.
The Bethel University Royals (1-0) will travel to Wisconsin next week to take on the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Falcons on Saturday. This is a rematch of last year’s contest which Bethel narrowly won, 32-27. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 PM.
By Robert Pannier
Featured Image Courtesy of Carl Schmuland/Bethel University