/playoffs/2010/wheaton-bethel-meet-again

Wheaton, Bethel meet again

More news about: Bethel | Wheaton (Ill.)

By Jason Bailey
for D3sports.com

Wheaton celebrates its 2009 win
Wheaton (Ill.) scored on the last play of the game to defeat Bethel last season, and it hasn't been forgotten.
Photo by Scott Pierson, d3photography.com

It wasn’t any easier to stomach on video.

A Bethel pass-rusher leaps over a running back’s attempted block. The Wheaton quarterback scrambles right as four defenders converge. A flick of the wrist, an athletic catch in the end zone and the Thunder beat the Royals 29-26 on a 5-yard touchdown pass on the game’s final play.

“Looking at that kind of makes you sick knowing that you let it slip away based on not doing the right thing,” Bethel linebacker Ross Petterson said. “On that final pass, it just feels like you got punched in the gut, and you can’t even believe what happened.”

But don’t read too much into the dramatic ending of last year’s regular-season meeting between Wheaton and Bethel. When the teams meet again in a second-round playoff game Saturday, the past battles will mean little (Wheaton also edged Bethel 10-7 in a driving rainstorm in 2008).

“What it means is that we’re two very evenly matched teams,” Wheaton coach Mike Swider said. “Both games could have gone either way, and we realize that. We’re not idiots. It’s a difference of one or two plays, and the outcome is the other way.”

That small margin of error is why neither Wheaton (10-1, 6-1 CCIW) nor Bethel (10-1, 7-1 MIAC) are stuck in the past. Both teams earned Pool C bids to the postseason after losing to an undefeated conference champion (North Central and St. Thomas) that received a No. 1 seed in the playoffs. And now that there is a rare opportunity to reach the national semifinals without meeting UW-Whitewater or Mount Union, looking backward isn’t the best way to move ahead.

The real advantage of those previous matchups is knowing what to expect: A heavyweight fight.

In Bethel’s corner is Logan Flannery, who has 1,516 rushing yards -- his fourth consecutive season with more than 1,000 yards -- and 15 TDs in 11 games, averaging 6.5 yards per carry. The wrecking ball pounded Wheaton for 281 rushing yards in two games combined and is running behind an offensive line with four consistent starters since the start of last season. Bethel coach Steve Johnson isn’t hesitant to say Flannery is one of the best backs in the country.

“He has great vision. He’s really tough, and he’s not really that big, but I think he kind of surprises defenders how powerful he is,” Johnson said. “It’s hard to explain. I don’t think he could either. He’s just a running back who was born to run.”

Flannery, the MVP of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, was instrumental in Bethel’s 28-20 first-round playoff victory over Wartburg. He recorded 182 offensive yards, scored on the ground and in the air, and added a 2-point conversion for good measure. His attention, however, has quickly shifted to the latest installment of a “fun rivalry” with Wheaton.

“Their defense is good, and we have to stay poised and not get frustrated, because they’re going to make big plays and we’re going to make big plays,” Flannery said.

Wheaton has definitely had ups and downs. Despite a balanced attack led by quarterback Jordan Roberts -- four rushers and two receivers have more than 400 yards -- the dual threat has needed to deliver several stirring comebacks. The Thunder scored 24 unanswered points in the second half of a 31-24 regular-season victory over Carthage, then upped the ante by scoring 22 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to beat Coe 31-21 in the first round of the playoffs.

“We don’t give up. We can finish games. And we want it,” said linebacker Cory Hart, who started last week’s comeback with a crucial third-quarter interception. “We’re not the biggest, strongest, fastest athletes, but we’re a team and we play like we’re playing for something.”

That team effort includes a Thunder defense that has forced 35 turnovers and shut down several top running backs in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin. Wheaton receiver Freddy Ellis said one message has been repeated clearly this season: “We are a physical football team, so let’s keep swinging and see if they can keep up with us for four quarters.”

There’s no doubt -- whatever team gets knocked out Saturday will know exactly what hit them.

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Framingham State 50, Massachusetts Maritime 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Muhlenberg 56, at Juniata 40
Video Box Score
Final
at Dean 25, Becker 10
Box Score
Final
Salisbury 27, at TCNJ 7
Box Score
Final
MIT 38, at Catholic 21
Video Box Score
Final
Merchant Marine 56, at Maine Maritime 31
Video Box Score
Final
at Hobart 34, Endicott 17
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Morrisville State 44, Nichols 22
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Albright 9, Widener 7
Video Box Score
Final
Christopher Newport 16, at Montclair State 8
Video Box Score
Final
at Westminster (Pa.) 41, Bethany 14
Video Box Score
Final
Middlebury 41, at Bowdoin 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Williams 24, at Colby 7
Video Box Score
Final
Amherst 36, at Hamilton 6
Video Box Score
Final
Ursinus 35, at Moravian 17
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Trinity (Conn.) 51, at Bates 0
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at LaGrange 38, Brevard 28
Video Box Score
Final
Geneva 33, at Thiel 24
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Plymouth State 37, Mass-Dartmouth 7
Video Box Score
Final
Kean 28, at Southern Virginia 14
Video Box Score
Final
Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Union 17, at Curry 14
Video Box Score
Final
at Carnegie Mellon 37, Thomas More 17
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Lycoming 44, at King's 41
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Western New England 21, Husson 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at DePauw 51, Wooster 24
Video Video Box Score
Final
at Ohio Wesleyan 37, Allegheny 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Misericordia 43, Wilkes 14
Video
Final
at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at N.C. Wesleyan 35, Maryville (Tenn.) 25
Video Box Score
Final
Huntingdon 31, at Ferrum 28
Video Video Box Score
Final - OT
at McDaniel 27, Gettysburg 20
Video Video Preview Box Score
Final
at Buffalo State 33, RPI 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Franklin and Marshall 27, at Susquehanna 24
Video Box Score
Final
at Denison 45, Oberlin 17
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Northwestern (Minn.) 10, Westminster (Mo.) 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Eureka 44, Crown 20
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Lebanon Valley 24, FDU-Florham 14
Video Box Score
Final
at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Ohio Northern 35, Otterbein 7
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Rose-Hulman 37, Defiance 14
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Marietta 49, Muskingum 25
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Franklin 59, at Bluffton 30
Box Score
Final
at Hanover 64, Anderson 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Mount St. Joseph 31, at Manchester 14
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Worcester State 34, at Westfield State 10
Video Box Score
Final
Coast Guard 13, at Norwich 9
Video Box Score
Final
at Fitchburg State 31, Bridgewater State 29
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
Video Box Score
Final
at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
Video Video Box Score
Final
North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Millsaps 17, Sewanee 13
Video Box Score
Final
at Rhodes 35, Birmingham-Southern 9
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Hendrix 36, Austin 24
Video Box Score
Final
at Martin Luther 34, Greenville 20
Video Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Trinity (Texas) 41, Chapman 35
Video Preview Box Score Live stats
Final
at Loras 73, Buena Vista 34
Video Video Box Score
Final
at Wartburg 30, Washington U. 20
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Gustavus Adolphus 51, Hamline 7
Video Box Score
Final
Augsburg 48, at Carleton 28
Video Box Score
Final
at Bethel 64, St. Olaf 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Luther 21, Dubuque 17
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Central 52, Nebraska Wesleyan 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Simpson 38, at Coe 33
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
St. Norbert 66, at Grinnell 13
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Knox 13, Ripon 6
Video Box Score
Final
at MacMurray 32, Iowa Wesleyan 14
Video Box Score
Final
Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
Box Score
Final
Southwestern 37, at Louisiana College 34
Video Box Score
Final
Monmouth 26, at Macalester 0
Video Box Score
Final
at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Springfield 42, WPI 10
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Cornell 55, Beloit 36
Video Box Score
Final
at Brockport 28, Utica 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Hartwick 24, St. John Fisher 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-La Crosse 41, Carroll 6
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at St. Scholastica 37, Minnesota-Morris 3
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at George Fox 44, UW-Eau Claire 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Western Connecticut 37, Salve Regina 23
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at UW-Stevens Point 41, Adrian 28
Video Box Score
Final - OT
at Wesleyan 24, Tufts 17
Video Preview Box Score Photos
Final
at Averett 35, Methodist 6
Video Box Score
Final
at Berry 28, Centre 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
Video Box Score
Final
at Grove City 24, St. Vincent 14
Box Score
Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
Video
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Carthage 55, at Augustana 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Chicago 28, at Illinois College 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Sul Ross State 35, McMurry 7
Final - OT
at Wilmington 37, Capital 30
Video Preview Box Score Photos
Final
Lake Forest 42, at Lawrence 26
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
at East Texas Baptist 79, Belhaven 40
Box Score Recap
Final
Arizona Christian 56, at Whittier 38
Video Box Score
Sep. 28: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Shenandoah at Randolph-Macon
Video Preview Live stats Audio
Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
Video Box Score
Final
at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
Video Video Box Score
Final
Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
Box Score
Final
North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Brockport 28, Utica 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
Video Box Score
Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
Video
Final
at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
Video Box Score Recap