Ottawa’s early lead fades away in loss

The Herald Staff

The Ottawa University offense did not finish drives in the final three quarters Saturday against nationally-ranked Kansas Wesleyan.

The Braves led 17-7 after the first quarter and scored one touchdown the rest of the game in a 34-23 loss to Coyotes in Salina. The loss snapped a two-game losing streak.

The Braves came out rolling. For the fifth time in six games this season, Ottawa scored on its opening drive of the game.

The Ottawa defense forced a Kansas Wesleyan three-and-out to start the game and the Braves took over on their own 35. Sophomore quarterback Colton Davis threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Ziegler as Ottawa took the early lead.

Kansas Wesleyan answered back to tie the game at 7-7 on its second drive.

The Ottawa offense moved down the field on its second drive behind Greg McMahon’s four third-down receptions. The 15-play drive bogged down in the red zone. Michael Corralez nailed a 26-yard field goal to give Ottawa a 10-7 lead.

Then the defense came up with a key play as Jaylin King returned an interception for a touchdown to give Ottawa a 17-7 lead.

Kansas Wesleyan then took over. The Coyotes scored two touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 20-17 halftime lead.

Ottawa retook the lead with its opening drive of the second half. Eugene Sainterling threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Curtis. Ottawa led 23-20.

The offense went scoreless the rest of the game. The Coyotes added two touchdown passes in the second half.

The Braves finished with 362 yards of offense (123 yards rushing and 239 yards passing). Kansas Wesleyan had 489 yards (223 rushing and 266 passing).

Curtis, the top rusher in the NAIA, finished with 97 yards rushing and 87 receiving yards.

Colby Johnson led Ottawa with 14 tackles and Westin Davis finished with 10. Davis also had two tackles for loss and recovered a fumble.

Ottawa (4-2, 3-2) finishes the fall season at 1 p.m. Saturday against Southwestern College at AdventHealth Field.