LINDSBORG — In big games, there's nobody like Clarence Anderson. The senior wide receiver for Ottawa proved that again Saturday.
"Clarence has always been one of those guys who always want the ball with the game on the line," Ottawa football coach Kent Kessinger said. "He relishes those opportunities."
Anderson racked up 188 all-purpose yards and caught two touchdown passes in the Braves' 30-17 win over No. 18 Bethany on Saturday, clinching at least a share of the KCAC title with two regular-season games remaining. It was the seventh straight win for No. 14 Ottawa after opening the season with back-to-back losses.
"When I was younger, my dad always told me that the best players showed up in big games," said Anderson, a Wichita Southeast product and already a two-time All-American. "I guess I took that to heart."
Ottawa (7-2, 7-0 KCAC) scored on its opening possession after Anderson returned a punt to Bethany's 33-yard line, with Bobby Adamson hitting Anderson for a 22-yard touchdown.
A shanked punt on Bethany's next possession gave the Braves the ball at the Swedes' 13-yard line and Shane Gimzo scored on a 2-yard touchdown run to make the score 14-0 with 10:14 to play in the first quarter.
"We weren't very sharp today, and we got in a big hole early," Bethany coach Jamie Cruce said. "We played so poorly to begin with in giving up those two touchdowns."
Bethany (7-2, 5-2) answered back with a drive that took up almost seven minutes and ended with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Darby House to Brandon Martino to cut Ottawa's lead to 14-7.
Anderson struck again after Bethany's next possession, fielding a punt off one hop at the 50-yard line and returning it 48 yards to the Bethany 2, and Gimzo bulled in from one yard for a 20-7 lead.
KCAC leading rusher Junior Allen cut Ottawa's lead to 23-14 midway through the third quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run. Allen led all players with 113 yards on 29 carries. House finished 13 for 39 passing for 113 yards.
"We had trouble executing today," Allen said. "Every time we got close, Clarence would make a big play."
And he still had one left. With just under seven minutes left in the third quarter, Gimzo found Anderson running a post pattern down the right sideline for a 59-yard touchdown to go up 30-14. Covered by two Bethany defensive backs, Anderson got about 10 yards of separation with a burst of speed before he caught the ball.
"I lost (the ball in the sunlight) so I just sped up and kind of stuck out my hands," Anderson said. "There was a split second where I couldn't see the ball and then there it was."
Ottawa (6-2, 6-0) 14 9 7 0 — 30 Bethany (7-1, 5-1) 7 7 3 0 — 17
O—C. Anderson 22 pass from Adamson or Gimzo (Stamp kick)
O—Gimzo 3 run (Stamp kick)
B—Martino 2 pass from House (Fambrough kick)
O—Gimzo 1 run (kick failed)
O—Stamp 20 FG
B—Allen 1 run (Fambrough kick)
O—C. Anderson 59 pass from Gimzo (Stamp kick)
O—Fambrough 19 FG
Rushing—Ottawa, Baer 22-99, Gimzo 14-74, Tucker 1-1, Anderson 2-0, Adamson 10-(-24). Bethany, Allen 29-113, Linnebur 2-12, House 3-5.
Passing—Ottawa, Adamson 11-15-93-0, Gimzo 1-4-59-1. Bethany, House 13-39-113-0.
Receiving—Ottawa, Anderson 4-90, Wilkerson 3-20, Krug 2-15, Baer 1-10, Adamson 1-9, Gimzo 1-8. Bethany, Martino 6-69, Allen 3-9, Ratcliffe 1-16, Wollenberg 1-11, Parks 1-8, Johnson 1-5.