One week after a big win, the Ottawa University football team will take on the conference’s leading team.

Ottawa (3-5, 3-3 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference) plays 1:30 p.m. Saturday at No. 20 Sterling College (6-2, 5-1 KCAC).

The Warriors are coming off a narrow 31-26 win over Bethel College this past Saturday in North Newton.

“It would be nice for us to get ourselves to be able to play strong as we go through the end of the season because you know seniors only have three games left under their belt and they want to go out hard,” Kent Kessinger, OU head football coach, said. “Southwestern is a good football team. We’ve seen them on film, and they’re a good football team, so our last three games — Sterling, Southwestern, and Kansas Weslayan — are not going to be an easy cakewalk, that’s for sure. We’ll be playing three very, very good football teams.”

OTTAWA 38, Saint Mary 24

The Braves defense forced five turnovers and tallied eight sacks in a dominate homecoming win Saturday. Ottawa scored 30 points or more for the third straight game, and beat visiting Saint Mary 38-24 in front of a packed Peoples Bank Field.

Ottawa controlled the contest throughout, building a big lead in the first half, and padding it in the third quarter.

James Reeder, who finished with 132 yards on 24 carries, scored OU’s first touchdown on a 10-yard run. The score capped off an 11-play, 70-yard drive with eight minutes left in the first quarter.

“Seeing James Reeder back in there I thought that was great,” Kessinger said. “I think James rushed for 132 yards. He’s been averaging about 100 yards a game.”

An interception by Clint Godfrey, senior defensive back, led to a Kyle Wokutch, sophomore kicker, 34-yard field goal to put the Braves up 10-3 at the beginning of the second quarter.

Ottawa’s offense struck quick on its next offensive drive. Conner Byers, sophomore quarterback, found LeTray Reed, junior wide receiver, for a 45-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the drive to extend the lead with 9:23 left in the second.

Byers scored again, this time on a one-yard run, with 4:29 left in the second to give OU a 24-3 lead.

Saint Mary scored on a four-yard pass from Drew Cortez to Tae Turner with 26 seconds left until the half, but missed the extra point, making the halftime score 24-9.

The Braves defense continued to make life miserable for Cortez and the Spire offense. Godfrey made a huge play, picking off Cortez on the third play of the second half and returning it 35 yards to the house. Godfrey ended the game with three interceptions.

“Clint Godfrey getting the touchdown there at the end, Jaylin King getting a pick, being able to take turnovers away from a pretty pass happy team, I thought that was pretty good,” Kessinger said.

Later in the third quarter, Urian Bates-Manley, junior defensive lineman, forced a Cortez fumble and Markie Beltram, senior linebacker, recovered the ball for a Braves touchdown. The two defensive scores put OU up 38-9 ­— a lead the Spires would not catch up to despite a garbage time touchdown.

Ottawa out-rushed Saint Mary 207-4.