Anoka, Minn. / Anoka
Bethel's conference-championship homes came to an end Saturday as the Royals were upset, 24-17, by St. Olaf. However, linebacker Seth Mathis (Anoka, Minn.) had a huge day in defeat to lead the Bethel defense. The junior racked up double-digit tackle totals, while also breaking up a pass and turning an interception into a Royals' defensive touchdown. For his contributions, Mathis was named the MIAC Defensive Player-of-the-Week for the second time this season.
Mathis made three solo tackles and assisted on 11 other stops to finish with 14 total tackles Saturday. He also broke up a pass, and delivered one of the game's biggest plays early in the second quarter when he picked off a pass and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown. The Bethel linebacker has been one of the MIAC's top playmakers all season, ranking third in total tackles (98), tied for second in forced fumbles (three), tied for third in interceptions (four) and tied for sixth with five pass breakups.
The Royals - now ranked No. 25 in Division III - fell to 7-2 overall and 5-2 in the MIAC with the loss. Bethel is now in a three-way tie with No. 23 Concordia and St. Olaf for second place, and the Royals can lock up a share of second in a big final game Saturday at home. The Royals host Saint John's in Arden Hills, Minn., at 1 p.m. to close the 2012 regular season.