Reinhardt extended its win streak to three games with their stopping a comeback from the Bethel Wildcats in the final quarter of the game. Coming off a defensive showcase against Kentucky Christian and an exhilarating upset versus (23) Faulkner University, the Eagles looked to prove themselves as a threat in the Mid-South Conference Western Division. Their noon game began with a Reinhardt drive that resulted in an interception returned for 63 yards, which set up Bethel’s first score to put the Eagles down 0-7.
The Eagles offense responded with an eight play drive, 75-yard drive that completed with RB Carl Edouard leaping over goal line defenders for an Eagles touchdown. Bethel responded with their own 65 yard drive, finished by their QB scoring on an 8 yard zone read play.
On the ensuing kickoff, after KR Travis Nunley bobbled the catch, he returned the kickoff for 100 yards to tie the game 14-14. The Reinhardt defense held strong against a seasoned Bethel’s offense and forced the Wildcats to settle for a 41-yard field goal. With only ten minutes left in the first half, the Eagles ignited for three scores with the first coming from Carl Edouard from one yard out after a 53 yard drive that showcased the throwing ability of Chamblee who finished 12-of-14 for 160 yards and a touchdown.
The ensuing Wildcats drive ended in a fumble caused by LB Jared Johnson and after a 7 play 70-yard drive, the Eagles scored again with Stegall recording his first touchdown of the day from 15 yards out. Another defensive stop set up Reinhardt’s final drive of the half. Yet another exhibition of Reinhardt’s receiving core, the drive ended with four seconds on the clock when Chamblee floated a ball to WR Tyler Bradley in the corner of the end zone for a jump-ball catch over the Wildcats defender. This put the Eagles ahead, 34-17.
The second half began with the injury of Eagle’s QB Chamblee. And it was until the end of the 3rd quarter that either team scored, with Wildcats recording a touchdown with 2:05 on the clock. The comeback continued when the Eagles threw an interception, on what looked like a miscommunication between the receiver and the quarterback on a hot route, which resulted in a pick six.
With the Wildcats on their heels, Reinhardt needed a score and trusting in the arm of QB Ryan Thompson. They succeeded and finished the drive with an 8-yard rushing touchdown with 1:18 left in regulation.
Fans were already leaving the stadium when the Wildcats pieced together a 30 second drive for a touchdown against the Eagles. Down by 5, Bethel attempted an onside kick, but failed to recover it and the Eagles ran the clock out for their third consecutive win.
Next week Reinhardt faces the Union College Bulldogs on the road. The Bulldogs are 1-3 coming off a 24-17 win against UVA-Wise. The game can be heard on Stretch Internet at reinhardteagles.com.
Leon Sapp, Sports Writer