The McKendree University football team erupted for 35 first-quarter points on its way to a 54-28 victory at William Jewell College in the Bearcats’ 2017 Great Lakes Valley Conference opener.
The Bearcats recorded season-highs with 54 points scored, 489 yards of total offense and two interception returns for touchdowns in rolling to their third consecutive victory.
They also scored on eight of its first nine possessions and never trailed in improving to 3-1 overall. McKendree will play its next two games at home, beginning with next Saturday’s (Sept. 30) Homecoming contest against Southwest Baptist University. Kickoff at Leemon Field is set for 1 p.m.
“We wanted to set the tone and get out to a strong start today,” McKendree head football coach Mike Babcock said. “We were able to use some big plays early and execute on offense. Our defense also showed its big-play capability.
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“It was good to start conference play on the right foot, especially with a win on the road against an opponent who played hard for 60 minutes today.”
Junior running back Preston Thompson (Hazel Crest, Illinois/Tinley Park) rushed for a game-high 101 yards on just 10 carries, adding a 19-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter. It’s his third straight 100-yard game.
Junior quarterback Reece Metcalf (Mount Carmel, Illinois/Mount Carmel) completed 18-of-25 pass attempts for a season-best 198 yards, which included his first two passing touchdowns of the year. Metcalf also had a four-yard scoring run in Saturday’s victory.
Sophomore defensive back Blake Benoist (O’Fallon, Missouri/Fort Zumwalt West) and senior defensive back Nate Powell (Chicago, Illinois/King College Prep) accounted for the interception returns for touchdowns. As a unit, the Bearcats’ defense posted a season-high five takeaways, including four interceptions overall.
Senior running back Shayeen Edwards, a Cahokia High School graduate, scored for the Bearcats as well.