The Panthers then embarked on a 22-play, 92-yard drive that was capped by a one-yard plunge by Bellus with 7:40 remaining in the game that made it 23-8.
Early in the drive Western coach Nate Andrews gambled on a fourth-and-2 from the Panther 37 when Ryan Alexander picked it up on a 3-yard gain. Christian Glenn later had a 26-yard run on third-and-7.
On third-and-13 from the Cass 23, the Kings appeared to have an angle on Ben Lenahan, but he cut left outside for a 22-yard gain to the one-yard line that set up Bellus’ score.
“The play kind of got blown up but Ben found the seam and our O-line holds their blocks and they do a great job,” Bellus said.
Added Andrews: “That was a senior play, a great character play by him. That really broke it open for us.”
The Kings were then forced to punt deep into their own territory on their next possession. Their defense held on the next Western drive, and after moving the ball to the Western 16-yard line they were stuffed on a fourth-and-5 run with a minute left to play.
Western opened the game with a 60-yard drive for a touchdown that was capped by a 3-yard run by Lenahan, who early in the drive had a fourth-and-2 conversion. The TD was setup by a 38-yard pass from Bellus to Alexander. Bellus ran in the two-point try.
Both teams lost fumbles before the Kings tied the game on a 48-yard TD pass on a rope from Owen Ohman to Kyle Dwiggins with 9:31 left in the first half. Ohman ran in the conversion.
Ohman’s passing was a bright spot for the Kings, who finished with 75 yards in the air but were outgained 202-129 on the ground.