Sports | Tyler Schmidt for The Clarion
With his 10 tackles on Saturday, Senior Seth Mathis became Bethel’s all-time tackles leader with 258.5 career tackles. | Photo courtesy of Sports Information
Not even a cold and rainy day could slow down the No. 5 ranked Bethel Royals as they went on to defeat the Carleton Knights 58-14. The combination of a powerful offense, stifling defense and dominant special teams helped the Royals amass 541 yards of total offense, two forced fumbles and a safety.
Both teams took turns scoring for the first 18 minutes until the Royals took over. Tied at 14-14 with 12:30 to play in the second quarter, senior Brandon Marquardt took a hand off on the first play of the possession and went 68 yards untouched for the score, putting the Royals up 21-14.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Knights fumbled the return on their own 13-yard line. Bethel’s offense wasted no time, as quarterback Erik Peterson connected with senior Jay Hilbrands for a 13-yard touchdown. On the next possession, Carleton was forced to punt from its own end zone. After a fumbled snap, sophomore Landon Mathis blocked the punt attempt, and junior Will Van Duzer recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. The Royals scored 21 points over a 2:07 stretch.
Going into the second half, the Royals proved to be dominant not only offensively and defensively but also on special teams. Early in the third quarter, Phillip Peterson’s punt rolled out of bounds on the Carleton 1-yard line. Following this play, sophomore Matt Melhorn came up from behind the quarterback, sacking him in the end zone for a safety.
The Royals showed no signs of slowing down as their running game proved to be steady once again. The first of three rushing touchdowns came midway through the third quarter off of a 47-yard foot race from sophomore Marshall Klitzke, who gained a total of 70 yards on nine carries.
Freshman running back Josh Werness got in the action as well, rushing for 65 yards, including a 40-yard run that resulted in a touchdown at the end of the third quarter, putting the Royals up 51-14 before heading into the final 15 minutes of play.
Not stopping there, the Royals continued to have success on the ground, especially when the ball was in the hands of senior Brandon Marquardt. To top off his day, Marquardt carried the ball early in the fourth quarter for a 57-yard touchdown, capping off a season high 181-yard, two-touchdown day for the senior.
On the offensive side, quarterback Erik Peterson finished the day 19-of-27 for 190 yards and one touchdown. Peterson continues his streak of zero interceptions through three games, as he found seven different receivers Saturday. Senior Mitch Hallstrom caught seven passes for 76 yards, while Jay Hilbrands ended his day with four catches, 40 yards and one touchdown.
The Royals took care of business on the defensive side as well. Junior David Morgan led the team with thirteen tackles, seven of which were solo. Senior linebacker Seth Mathis had a record-breaking day for the Royals as well. Mathis recorded his sixth tackle at the end of the first half, making him Bethel’s all-time tackles leader with 258.5 career tackles . The senior linebacker will look to make that record untouchable with six games still remaining.
The Royals look to keep their unbeaten streak alive on Saturday, Oct. 5th for the Homecoming game against Augsburg College.