Westminster football fans had to wait almost another month to see an opening kickoff at Blue Jay Field after the first game against Knox College on Sept. 4 was canceled but saw a kickoff Saturday afternoon when the Blue Jays hosted Rhodes College.
Rhodes pulled away in the second half Saturday as Westminster would lose its first game of the season 47-7. The Blue Jays would have the ball longer than Rhodes at about 33 minutes but couldn't score enough early to stay in the game.
Rhodes (1-2) would score touchdowns on its first two possessions before being held out of the end zone the rest of the half. Running back JaVon Cooper would score his first of two rushing touchdowns while quarterback Luke Macias would throw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Mackey.
A field goal looked to be possible on Rhodes' third series but was missed as the Westminster offense would start showing some life at the end of the first quarter heading into the second. The Blue Jays (1-1) had a 4th-and-1 to start the quarter before it was converted by quarterback Wyatt Ellis. Another Ellis run would net Westminster another first down and a first-and-goal at the Rhodes 9-yard line later in the drive, but the Blue Jays would be pushed backward to come up empty on a 15-play, 61-yard drive.
Later in the quarter, Westminster compiled a 10-play drive for 82 yards before turning it over on downs. Ellis would complete a 48-yard pass to Logen Walker and then a roughing-the-passer penalty would move the ball to the Rhodes 25. Another first-and-goal situation was secured with Ellis' legs, but his arm coulnd't make a connection in the end zone so the score would stay 13-0 at halftime.
The score was the same through the third quarter until Macias threw a 23-yard touchdown to Umikoa Kealoha to give Rhodes a 20-0 lead. A fumble by Elijah Teal after a 19-yard reception would give Rhodes a short field for Cooper to run for another touchdown to make the deficit for Westminster 27-7 and then 34-0 after Rhodes next possession that ended with a rushing touchdown.
An interception by Ellis and return by Rhodes left them just 15 yards from a score. That would lead to its fourth touchdown in as many series to make the score 47-0.
After a 61-yard run by Wyatt Robinson, the Westminster offense would finally reach the end zone when Clayton Collins came in off the bench to compete a 9-yard touchdown pass to Logen Walker to make it 47-7 with about 4 minutes remaining in the game.
Ellis would finish with 194 total yards on 11-for-27 passing for 145 yards and 49 yards on 12 carries, Walker had the two catches for 57 yards and Wyatt Robinson would have two carries for 63 yards.
For Rhodes, Macias was 17-of-30 for 264 yards. Kealoha had five catches for 120 yards and three running backs had at least one touchdown.
Westminster will go back on the road this Saturday for its first Upper Midwest Athletic Conference game at noon against Minnesota-Morris (1-3).