Prior Lake, Minn. / Prior Lake
The Carleton football team trailed Augsburg by 21 in the third quarter, and still by 17 with just 7:30 to play, but the Knights pulled off the biggest Carleton comeback in at least 17 years by rallying for an amazing 49-45 victory. Star receiver Anthony Kemper (Prior Lake, Minn.) led the way with more than 100 yards, countless big plays down the stretch, and the game-winning touchdown. For his role in the historic win, Kemper was named the final MIAC Football Offensive Player-of-the-Week for the 2013 season.
Kemper's final numbers of seven catches for 131 yards and a touchdown were certainly impressive, but it was the manner in which he achieved those numbers that was truly special in his final career game. Kemper's 51-yard catch set up a Carleton score in the third quarter, and he drew a pass interference in the end zone to set up another. His 23-yard catch put Carleton on the doorstep to close the gap to 45-42. Then, on fourth-and-six with the game on the line, Kemper hauled in a pass, split the defense and raced 33 yards to the end zone for the game-winning score.
Kemper finished his remarkable senior season ranked second in the MIAC in receiving touchdowns (nine), third in receiving yards (982) and yards per game (98.2), fourth in receptions (61) and fifth in yards per catch (16.1). He ended his Carleton career with 125 receptions for 1,924 yards and 22 touchdowns, which all rank in the top six in Knights' history. He helped Carleton finish .500 with a 5-5 overall record, and the Knights tied Augsburg for sixth place in the conference standings at 3-5 in the MIAC.
Anoka, Minn. / Anoka
The sixth-ranked Bethel football completed a perfect regular season Saturday with a 28-7 win at Saint John's. The Royal defense was stout as usual, with sophomore Landon Mathis (Anoka, Minn.) leading the way and making plays all over the field. The linebackers' full stat line included a game-high 17 total tackles as he helped Bethel limit the Johnnies to just one scoring drive. For his performance, Mathis was named the final MIAC Football Defensive Player-of-the-Week for the 2013 season.
Mathis had quite an impact on Saturday's season finale, and that impact was accurately reflected in the stats. He had seven solo tackles and 10 assists to finish with a total of 17 tackles in the win, and he also racked up a sack, two pass breakups and a forced fumble. Mathis led a defense that allowed Saint John's to gain just 260 yards on its home field Saturday. Mathis finished the regular season with 74 total tackles (24 solo, 50 assists), and that total ranks ninth in the MIAC. He also has two sacks, 4.5 tackles-for-a-loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, two interceptions and five pass breakups this season.
Thanks to Saturday's victory, the Royals put the finishing touches on their 2013 MIAC championship, and completed a perfect 10-0 (8-0 MIAC) regular season. It was Bethel's second perfect regular season in program history, with the other coming in 2000. The Royals now enter the 2013 NCAA Division III Playoffs with hopes of continuing their special season. Bethel will host St. Scholastica Saturday at noon to open postseason play.
Bloomington, Minn. / Kennedy
Versatile Augsburg senior Hakeem Bourne-McFarlane (Bloomington, Minn./Kennedy) closed his career in style Saturday, setting a new Auggie record for kick return yards in a game while taking two all the way back for a pair of special-teams touchdowns. The defensive back/wide receiver/returner finished as the MIAC's leader in kick-return average in 2013. For his "special" performance, Bourne-McFarlane was named the final MIAC Special Teams Player-of-the-Week for the 2013 season.
Though the Auggies came up just short in a 49-45 thriller at Carleton, Bourne-McFarlane certainly did his part to keep Augsburg in contention. He had an 86-yard kick return touchdown in the second quarter, than out-did himself by a yard in the fourth quarter with an 87-yard score. He added a 20-yard return for a school-record 193 yards on just three attempts. The previous school record, set by Bob Dorgan in 1979, was 176 yards, and it came on eight attempts. Bourne-McFarlane also contributed five tackles in the loss.
This season, Bourne-McFarlane had 12 kick returns for 384 yards, and his average of 32.0 yards per return led the MIAC by more than five yards per attempt. He also had seven punt returns for 172 yards and a league-leading average of 24.6 yards per return with three total return touchdowns. Bourne-McFarlane helped Augsburg to a .500 season with a 5-5 overall record. The Auggies were 3-5 in conference play, with four of the losses coming by a total of 12 points, and shared sixth-place with Carleton.