The McKendree University football team collected its fourth consecutive victory with a 35-17 triumph Saturday afternoon at Quincy University.
Junior running back Shayeen Edwards rushed for a career-high 129 yards on 25 carries, including a 16-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter. Edwards’ performance marked the sixth straight week that a McKendree running back rushed for at least 100 yards in a game as the Bearcats improved to 7-3 overall and 5-2 in Great Lakes Valley Conference play.
“Shayeen bounced back from injury and really got back in the groove, which was a key to today’s win,” said McKendree football coach Mike Babcock. “He picked up some big yards in the second half, and the touchdown run helped us get some momentum back after Quincy pulled within four points. Our team really responded well when the challenge was put to us by Quincy, and we were able to beat a really good football team this afternoon.”
Sophomore quarterback Reece Metcalf threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in leading McKendree to a 21-10 lead at the half. Metcalf was 11-of-22 through the air for 127 yards while rushing for 52 yards at Quincy. Freshman wide receiver Colton Lockwood had both touchdown receptions for the Bearcats.
Junior defensive back Derrick Curry added a special-teams score for McKendree when he returned a punt 64 yards for a touchdown with just over 11 minutes to play.
Defensively, McKendree recorded six quarterback sacks against Quincy, giving the Bearcats 49 for the season. That is a new single-season record for McKendree, breaking the old mark of 48 sacks set during the 2002 campaign. Senior defensive lineman Lucky Baar and junior defensive lineman Darion Simmons each had two sacks against Quincy. Baar now has 45 1/2 career sacks, which is a half-sack shy of the NCAA Division II career mark of 46, which was set by March Schieckl, who played at Colorado School of Mines from 2007-10.
Saturday’s win was also the fourth straight for McKendree over Quincy, and the seventh in the last eight meetings against the Hawks. The Bearcats own a 14-4 edge in the all-time series that dates back to 1997.
McKendree took the opening kickoff and marched 61 yards in 11 plays. On a second-and-10 play, Metcalf scrambled around the right end for a 12-yard touchdown burst. Senior kicker Steven O’Block added the extra point to give the Bearcats a quick 7-0. Three plays after Metcalf’s touchdown, senior defensive back Jabaree Winston intercepted a Quincy pass and returned it to the Hawks’ 33-yard line. Metcalf gave McKendree a 14-0 advantage when he connected with Lockwood on the first of their two scoring strikes, a 20-yard diving catch at the left pylon with 8:59 remaining in the opening period.
Quincy (5-5, 3-4 GLVC) got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter thanks to a 21-yard field goal from Nathan Kewney to trim the Bearcats’ lead to 14-3. McKendree answered on the ensuing drive as Metcalf again found Lockwood for a touchdown pass, this time from 12 yards out, to extend the lead back to 21-3 for the Bearcats. Quincy was able to pull within 21-10 just before the half on a 26-yard TD pass from Robbie Kelley to Eric Poindexter.
A three-yard scoring run by Chris Harris with 3:47 left in the third quarter brought Quincy within 21-17. McKendree countered with its second-longest scoring drive of the season, covering 90 yards in just seven plays, to regain a double-digit lead at 28-17. Edwards rushed for 76 yards on the drive, including the final 16 with 1:40 left in the period.
Curry provided the lone points of the fourth quarter as he fielded a Quincy punt on the fly at the 36-yard line, reversed field from right to left and outraced the coverage 64 yards to the end zone to close out the Bearcats’ victory.
Junior linebacker Kyle Kirkpatrick paced the McKendree defense with 11 tackles. Junior linebacker Austin Weltha and senior linebacker A.J. Wentland each added eight stops.
McKendree will close out its 2016 regular-season schedule Nov. 12 at Leemon Field against Truman State University. Kickoff between the Bearcats and Bulldogs is set for 1 p.m. Prior to the contest, McKendree will honor its 11 senior players in a special ceremony.