McKENZIE (August 27) — The Bethel Wildcats opened their 2022 season Saturday hosting Arkansas Baptist. It was the first ever meeting between the Buffaloes and the Wildcats.
With temperature in the in the low nineties at kick-off the Wildcat offense matched the heat, posting 21 points on the board in the first quarter to lead 21-0 after one. Newcomer Joaquin Collazo and J D Dixon teamed up for the first two scores. Collazo hit Dixon on a 57-yard strike at the 7:14 mark to put the Cats up 6-0. The point after by Austin Abbott gave Bethel a 7-0 margin. They teamed up again at the 4:54 mark on a 20-yard pass play. Jacious Clark blocked a Buffalo punt deep in ABC territory. The football was scooped up by Marques Taylor at the five yard line. He scored to give the Cats the 21-0 lead.
Stavonski Wilkes scored on rushes of five yards and seven yards in the second quarter and the Cats led 35-0. Abbott hit all five point extra point attempts in the half.
Atavian Ray scored the only Buffalo touchdown of the day on a 69-yard run in the third stanza. Bethel answered with 42 straight points to coast to the big win. Rushing scores by Terrance Roberts, and Cam Jordan highlighted the third quarter explosion. Collazo threw another touchdown pass connecting on a 64-yard throw to Cobey Johnson. The Casts led 56-7 after three.
Jordan had another rushing score in the fourth. Throw in scores by Demetrice Gilbert and Taylor Yancey and Bethel put up the most points in a game since 2018. Andrew Welch hit all six of his point after attempts.
The Wildcats outgained ABC 484-214. The Cats were balanced on offense with 243 rushing yards and 241 passing yards. Collazo was 8-of-15 in the air for 241 yards and his three TD passes. Roberts finished with 90 yards rushing on 16 attempts. Dixon had three receptions.
Jakobe Griffin led Bethel on defense with 10 total tackles. The senior now has 321 career stops which puts him just four behind Tyler Murray and Jeremy Beaulieu for the all-time lead in program history. Darian Burns had six tackles while Markel Crawford followed with five in the game.
Coach Michael Jasper was pleased with the win, “We are extremely proud of this program today. It feels good to go out there and execute at a high level in all phases. We will get to work on the things we need to correct and move forward to Reinhardt but I’m proud of this entire program today.”
The Cats visit the No. 9 Reinhardt Eagles in Waleska, Georgia Saturday. It will be the eighth meeting between the two with RU holding a 5-2 advantage in the series. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT.
The 2022 Football Media Guide is available on the Bethel Athletic page. Keep up with the Cats this season with the on-line version at https://en.calameo.com/bethel-university/read/003316375f35c839aee6f
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