The McKendree University football team notched its fourth consecutive victory Saturday thanks to a 28-7 triumph over Southwest Baptist University in a homecoming contest at Leemon Field.
Junior quarterback Reece Metcalf registered season highs with 229 passing yards and three touchdowns through the air as McKendree won the Battle of the Bearcats for the third time in four meetings. McKendree pushed its record to 4-1 overall and stayed perfect in Great Lakes Valley Conference play at 2-0.
The Bearcats are now 21-1 in homecoming games at Leemon Field.
“I told the guys in the locker room (after the game) that I thought it was one of our best total team efforts of the season today,” said McKendree head coach Mike Babcock. “I felt like we were able to move the ball offensively and score points against a really good defense. I thought our defense really stepped up and held a good quarterback in (Southwest Baptist’s T.J.) Edwards and his talented receivers in check. It was a great team win today, especially in front of a big crowd at homecoming.”
Senior running back Shayeen Edwards, a Cahokia High School graduate, recorded his third 100-yard rushing effort in the last four games for McKendree, piling up a game-high 127 yards on 27 carries. Edwards also continued to climb up the Bearcats’ career rushing list, jumping up to sixth place on the team’s career chart. He now has 1,849 yards in his four seasons at McKendree and moved ahead of Isaac Fisher (1,749 yards) and Jarrod Karnes (1,825 yards) during Saturday’s win.
Sophomore linebacker Ricco Gipson, of Godfrey, tied his season-high with 14 tackles to lead all players Saturday.
Gipson registered nine solos, including one of the Bearcats’ four quarterback sacks.
Southwest Baptist (2-3, 1-2 GLVC) scored its only points of the day in the later stages of the third quarter on a 6-yard TD pass from Edwards to Kendrick Payne to trim the McKendree lead to 21-7.
McKendree will be at home next Saturday to host the University of Indianapolis — ranked No. 10 in the latest American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II coaches poll — in a 1 p.m. kickoff at Leemon Field.