By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
Sept. 11, 2013 — Gene Peterson, still chilling from the water cooler bath given by lineman Preston Collier, took a moment to let it sink in.
His first collegiate victory as the head coach of the Knights and it was over a top 10 opponent. The Knights defeated No. 9 Bethel 24-10 on Saturday in Grayson after scoring all their points in the first half.
“Scoring 24 points in the first half is good,” Peterson said. “We had two or three opportunities in the second half when we should have scored. We went for some long (drives), and a penalty or two kept us out of the end zone.”
It was the first time in four meetings KCU had defeated the Wildcats. Behind a solid ground attack by Jamuel Jones, who had 100 yards and a touchdown, including the first score of the year just 50 seconds into the game. The score was set up on the opening kickoff after Deshawn Rembert hit Bethel’s Stoney Burns hard. The ball popped loose and KCU took over.
“The only thing I thought about was punching it in,” Jones said. “Coach told us to be relentless from the first day of camp. We overcome adversity and from then on, we are playing really well now.”
Fellow running back Demone Belmarez added 77 yards on the ground.
Junior quarterback Graham Johnston did the rest, throwing for two second-quarter scores. He had a five-yard toss to senior Marcus Hicks and to a 32- yard fade pattern to junior Jalen Simmons for 32. Johnston finished the day 12-for-26 for 144 yards with two interceptions.
The only miscue for the Knights led to Bethel’s only touchdown. Teerrance Thomas deep in their own territory intercepted Johnston.
“Our blocking scheme up front, there was maybe a mistake there,” Peterson said. “A guy came off the end that shouldn't have and tipped the ball. Things in a ball game are going to happen that you can't control; you just play the next play.”
But Peterson can live with that as the Knights are on the board with a victory.
“We played a top 10 team and we beat them here on our field,” Peterson said. “And I think that's a big signature win, and it's not all about me. It's our coaching staff and our kids, they've all worked hard.”
KCU improved to 1-1 and hosts Reinhardt University at 1:30 p.m. next Saturday.
MacKenzie Bates can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.