Bethel falls to Lindsay in opening round of state playoffs

Brian Johnson
The Shawnee News-Star
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LINDSAY – It was a disappointing ending to a historic season Friday night for the Bethel Wildcats in the first round of the Class 2A football playoffs.

A fourth-quarter 3-yard touchdown run from the Lindsay Leopards was the difference in a 27-27 victory over Bethel.

The nip-and-tuck battle featured a solid passing attack from the Wildcats as Bryce Tapley completed his freshman season by completing 16-of-26 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns.

Senior John Gordon was on the receiving end of nine of those passes for 128 yards and one touchdown of 14 yards. Tapley's other scoring pass connected with junior John Allred for 7 yards.

Senior Corey Metscher had a 21-yard TD run in the third quarter which led to a 21-all deadlock, going into the fourth.

In the receiving department, Tyler McKinney caught three passes for 33 yards and Gage Porter made two grabs for 37 yards. Allred had two receptions for eight yards.

Bethel had a stellar defensive effort as well.

Metscher was among the leaders on the Wildcat tackle chart in his high school career finale with 14, including 11 solo stops. He also recorded two tackles for loss, broke up a pass, had a quarterback hurry and blocked a punt which led to a touchdown but was called back on a penalty.

Allred led the way with 20 tackles (11 solos) and a tackle for loss. Austin Melson was in on 16 tackles (10 solo).

Senior TJ Ramsey led the team in tackles for loss with three as he also had a QB hurry and a fumble recovery.

Senior Dominick Contreras forced a fumble, registered two hurries and had a tackle for loss among his nine stops. Seniors Connor Hall and Michael Parsons ended up with a tackle for loss apiece among their nine tackles each.

Porter also had a pass interception in a losing cause.

Bethel took a 7-0 first-quarter lead after Tapley's 14-yard scoring toss to Gordon.

Lindsay pulled within 7-6 before the end of the first, but missed the extra point as the score stayed at 7-6 in favor of the Wildcats.

Tapley later hooked with Allred on a 7-yard touchdown pass which led to Bethel's 14-6 advantage, it's largest of the night.

However, Lindsay tied it up on a 19-yard TD pass and 2-point conversion to make it 14-all at the break.

The Leopards then went up 21-14 in the third, before Metscher's 21-yard run led to the 21-21 tie through three periods.

Lindsay held 326-282 edge in total yards and ran 11 more plays (71-60). The Leopards finished with 173 through the air and 153 on the ground. Bethel netted 76 rushing yards.

The game ended in a bit of controversy when an apparent lateral was ruled as an incomplete pass, ending the game.

The 2021 version of the Bethel Wildcats registered the most victories in school history as they finished the season with an 8-3 mark.

Metscher is now Bethel's all-time leading rusher in yards while Gordon is the all-time leading receiver in yards.