McPHERSON — McPherson College running back LaMeshio Hill scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 33 seconds remaining, lifting the host Bulldogs to a come-from-behind 16-13 victory against Southwestern in KCAC action.
The Moundbuilders (3-3, 3-2 KCAC) took a 7-0 first-quarter lead, but didn’t score again until midway through the fourth quarter.
Southwestern’s defense held the Bulldogs (3-3, 3-2) to a Cole Schroeder 32-yard field goal in the second quarter, but gave up a pair of late touchdowns.
Southwestern went to work on its first possession of the game, putting together a seven-play drive capped by a 6-yard touchdown keeper by quarterback Yizalle Whitfield. The drive included a 28-yard pass to former Arkansas City High standout Tanner Spencer to the McPherson 27-yard line.
McPherson forced three turnovers, though, and recorded six quarterback sacks. The Builders were just 4 of 17 on third-down conversions and finished with just 58 passing yards.
Southwestern clung onto the 7-3 lead into the fourth quarter.
McPherson linebacker Joseph Hunter forced a fumble and linebacker Johnathan Brown pounced on it at the SC 39-yard line late in the third quarter.
Quarterback Ed Crouch tossed a 9-yard touchdown pass to Ben Nikkel just six plays later to give the Bulldogs a 9-7 lead. Cole Schroeder blocked the extra point, keeping the Builders within two points of the lead.
SC sophomore Spensirr Howard returned the ensuing kickoff 44 yards to set up the Builders near midfield. McPherson had running back Jaquils Coleman stopped a yard short on third-and-4, but a facemask penalty breathed new life into a 10-play drive capped by Whitfield’s 8-yard touchdown run. Southwestern went for the 2-point conversion, but Zavyar Swain’s pass to Whitfield fell incomplete, leaving the Builders nursing a 13-9 lead.
McPherson was set to take over with 8:01 remaining, but Trevonte Gilmore fumbled the kickoff return and Southwestern’s Kerry Coleman recovered.
The Builders drove down to the McPherson 10-yard line, but on third-and-goal, Spencer’s end zone pass was intercepted by Brandon Wright, giving the Bulldogs one more chance with 3:18 remaining.
A pair of huge penalties — a personal foul on second-and-10 and an even more backbreaking pass interference flag on fourth-and-11 — kept McPherson’s drive going, and Hill scored the game-winner.
The Builders finished with 284 rushing yards. Terrell Lightfoot had 90 yards on 14 carries and Coleman added 61 yards on 12 totes.
The Builders return home at 1 p.m. Saturday to face No. 2-ranked Kansas Wesleyan. The Coyotes (6-0, 5-0) annihilated Saint Mary 90-0 on Saturday behind 793 yards of total offense.
McPherson 16, Southwestern 13
SC — Yizalle Whitfield 6 run (Freddy Botello kick), 10:30.
MC — FG, Cole Schoreder, 32, 8:58.
MC — Ben Nikkel 9 pass from Ed Crouch (kick failed), 13:27.
SC — Whitfield 8 run (kick failed), 8:01.
MC — LaMeshio Hill 1 run (Schroeder kick), 0:33.
3rd Down Conv4-172-11
4th Down Conv3-50-0
Punts No-Avg Yards4-25.06-29.8
Time of Poss38:4221:13
RUSHING — Southwestern, Terrell Lightfoot 14-90, Jaquils Coleman 12-61, Yizalle Whitfield 23-43, Phillip Jones 3-18, Zavyar Swain 1-9, Tanner Spencer 3-6, Jessie Thomas 3-6, David Roper 2-1. McPherson, Corey Davis 4-34, Ed Crouch 3-32, LaMeshio Hall 13-26, Quashad Washington 4-24, Terrius Scroggins 1-2.
PASSING — Southwestern, Yizalle Whitfield 3-15-0 58, Dalton Rogers 0-2-0 0, Tanner Spencer 0-1-1 0. McPherson, Ed Crouch 10-27-0 108.
RECEIVING — Southwestern, Tanner Spencer 2-37, Terrell Lightfoot 1-21. McPherson, Eman McNeal 3-45, Ben Nikkel 3-33, Corey Davis 1-14, David Ross 2-9, Matari Bodie Jr. 1-7.
MISSED FIELD GOALS — McPherson, Cole Schroeder, 38 (WL).