The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Sterling stops Spires

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  • The University of Saint Mary out gained Sterling College on Saturday afternoon, but it was the Warriors who came away with the 21-13 win after the Spires’ offense twice had to settle for field goals on drives.
    “Sterling has a very good defense, first off,” head coach Lance Hinson said. “Secondly, we felt like we left at the very least two touchdowns out there that we really felt like we should have taken advantage of. Whether it was a breakdown in protection or a dropped pass, we felt like there were 14 points we left out there on the field.”
    Sterling jumped on top 14-0 early in the second quarter, scoring in the first quarter on an 11-yard carry by Shawn McKnight and in the second quarter on a 21-yard pass from quarterback Keoki Burbank to Jo Jo Curiel. The Spires cut the lead to a single touchdown by halftime, Mark Walsh capping a touchdown drive with a 1-yard run just before the break.
    The Spires couldn’t hold that momentum, however, with Burbank weaving through the defense for a 63-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter. Although Bobby Schattle made a pair of field goals, a 32-yard shot in the third quarter and a 27-yard kick in the fourth, USM couldn’t get back in the end zone in the game.
    USM once again leaned on quarterback Mike Keese in the game. Keese, who earned both KCAC and NAIA player of the week honors last week, completed 34-of-53 pass attempts for 305 yards.
    “Going in we felt like our best chance to move the ball was through the air,” Hinson said. “They have excellent defensive backs, but we felt like that was our best opportunity to put it in Mike’s hands and let him make the plays.”
    The Spires dominated time of possession, holding the ball for 72 minutes 15 seconds to just 23:26 by Sterling. The USM defense also limited Sterling to just 253 yards of total offense in the game.
    “I thought our defense played very well,” the Spire coach said. “...To hold them to 21 points, and 250 yards of offense, for our defense I thought we played fairly well. Our defense gave us a chance to win the game. That blocked field goal in the fourth quarter was big for us to take advantage of, an get at least three points on the drive.”
    Noah Wooten led the defense with six solo tackles and two assists while Chris Searles had four solo tackles and one assist.
    Fred Edison had 12 catches for 99 yards to lead the Spire receiving corps, with Frankie Walburn catching seven passes for 69 yards and Billy Owens adding five catches for 49 yards.
    USM finishes the season on Saturday, playing at 1:30 at Tabor College in Hillsboro.
    “Obviously we want to finish with a win,” Hinson said. “If we do we’ll actually tie with several teams to be in the middle of the pack at fifth. I think going into this week we’ll treat it just like any other week. We’ll just keep on doing what we’ve been doing and working to get better.”
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