ARDEN HILLS, Minn. - Ross Petterson's (Sr., Osseo, Minn.) fumble recovery and 92-yard return in the fourth quarter helped swing the momentum and set up the touchdown that would allow the #19 Bethel Royals to defeat the visiting Concordia Cobbers by a score of 36-20. Once again, Bethel's defense stood up to a physical team and made big plays including two interceptions and two holds on fourth down.
The Royals began the scoring in the first quarter when Logan Flannery (Sr., Lakeville, Minn.) ran the ball in from eight-yards out to capitalize on a nine-play, 40-yard drive. Bethel converted on the two-point conversion to make the score 8-0.
The Cobbers came charging back later in the first with an eight-play 77-yard touchdown drive to make the score 8-7. On Concordia's next possession, Ethan Anderson (Jr., Mapleton, Minn.) intercepted the Cobber quarterback at the Bethel four-yard line and returned it to the seven, setting up an 11-play, 93-yard touchdown drive to widen the Royal lead. The drive was highlighted by three runs of more than 10-yards from quarterback Josh Aakre (Jr., Dawson, Minn.).
But the lead didn't last long.
Concordia scored a touchdown to end a 13-play, 65-yard drive as time expired in the first half make it 14-14 at the break.
In the second half, a much more poised and determined Bethel team took the field and scored on its second possession. The big play came from Alex Wright (Jr., Minnetonka, Minn.) who caught a 69-yard pass from Aakre and got down to the Concordia 1-yard line allowing Flannery to punch the ball in on the very next play.
Two possessions later, the Royals scored again to make the score 28-14. This time Aakre found Flannery through the air on third down from three-yards out. Flannery finished the day with 89 yards on 23 carries and three touchdowns on the ground, while earning his only three yards receiving on the aforementioned touchdown. Meanwhile, Aakre was the leading rusher for the Royals with 107 yards on 15 carries. He was also 11-for-14 with 151 yards passing and a touchdown.
On the ensuing drive, the Cobbers got a 54-yard kick return from Trent Johnson down to the Bethel 26-yard line. However, Bethel's defense forced the fumble that Petterson picked up and brought back to the Cobber five-yard line setting up the insurance touchdown.
Concordia managed to make another big kick return and march into the end zone after just four plays to narrow the score to 36-20, but Bethel remained strong on defense and kept the Cobbers from doing any further harm.
Defensively, Billy Morgan (Jr., Rosemount, Minn.) and Petterson covered a lot of ground today, recording 10 tackles each. Morgan had an eight-yard sack, while Petterson had his game-changing fumble return. David Vavra (Jr., Cambridge, Minn.) recorded Bethel's other interception.
The win helps the nationally ranked Royals rebound from last week's heartbreaker to put them at 7-1 overall and 5-1 in the conference. Meanwhile, Concordia falls to 4-5 overall and 3-4 in the MIAC. Bethel is scheduled to take on the Hamline Pipers on the road next weekend with the game beginning at 1 p.m.