Nov. 27, 2010

Courtesy of Bethel Athletics

The Bethel Royals have defeat the Wheaton Thunder on the road 15-10. With the win Bethel will move onto the quarter finals to face St. Thomas. The Tommies defeated Linfield in the second round 24-17 in double overtime.

The game was a hard hitting battle that came right down to the wire. Having previously lost to the Thunder by the slimmest of margins the last two years, the Royals have now won when it mattered most. The Royals were able to wear down the Wheaton defense by controlling the ball for over 37 minutes, while racking up 318 yards of total offense.

Senior Logan Flannery (Lakeville, Minn.) was able to continue put up big numbers even against a good rushing defense. Flannery had 141 yards on the ground to bring his season total to 1657, and his career mark to 5,053. That mark brings him to within 182 yards of the Royals all-time rushing leader Phil Porta. Quarterback Josh Aakre (Dawson, Minn.) threw 7-19 for 78 yards and 1 touchdown. Aakre also ran for 61 yards on the day. On the receiving end of the ball Flannery also lead Royals grabbing a 27 yard reception for a touchdown.

The Royals defense was a real storyline, allowing the Wheaton only 212 yards on total offense. The Royals forced the Thunder to throw the ball only giving up 4 rushing first downs. Ross Petterson (Sr., Maple Grove, Minn.) lead the defense with 7 total tackles on the day.

Wheaton was first to score getting a quick start by completing a 12 yard pass from quarterback Jordan Roberts to Freddy Ellis to go up 7-0, taking just over 2 minutes off the clock in the first quarter. Through the rest of the first half defense was key as neither team was able to score. Then just before the 8 minute mark of the 3rd quarter the Royals got their first points on the board. They then attempted the 2 point conversion, but missed leaving the score at 6-7.

As time expired in the third quarter the Royals Nick Love (So., Elmhurst, Ill.) kicked a 27 yard field goal to put the Royals ahead 9-7. The field goal was only the 7th attempt for the Royals this year, and was Love's first career field goal as a Royal.

Then just past the 12 minute mark of the 4th quarter Wheaton fired back with a field goal of their own putting them back on top 10-9. The attention then turned to the defense again until the Royals gained momentum as Flannery scored on a 27 yard pass play to put the Royals ahead, with what would end up being a final score of 15-10.

After the Royals scored the defense was able to hold the Thunder, forcing them to go 3 and out. With the defensive stop the Royals got the ball back with just 36 second left of the clock. The Royals found themselves in a situation, trying to run out the clock, but having used all their time outs, yet Wheaton was still in possession of all 3. The Royals were forced to punt with only 16 second left, giving Wheaton one last shot from the Wheaton 44 yard line. The Thunder were able to pick up 1 first down, but after that their luck had run dry as Roberts pass to Ellis was incomplete thanks to the coverage of Brendan Flaherty (Sr., Shoreview, Minn.).

The 11-1 Royals will now move on to the quarter finals, in what will be a rematch against St. Thomas. The game will be hosted by the Tommies next Saturday, when the Royals will look to overcome their only loss of the 2010 season.