/seasons/2012/contrib/20120829o83cl3

Bethany To Open Slate Saturday Vs. Centre

More news about: Bethany

The Bethany football team will open the new season Saturday with its stiffest challenge in head coach Tim Weaver's seven-year tenure, as the Bison play host to 2011 playoff qualifier Centre. Kickoff at Bison Stadium is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Bethany is also coming off a productive season, as BC's 5-5 mark last year gave the program back-to-back .500 records for the first time since 2000 and 2001. With 21 seniors coming back from those teams, that experience helped drive the program to have a strong camp and the Bison are primed for the kickoff of the 2012 season.

"Our camp overall was very, very good," said Weaver, who is fifth all-time at Bethany in victories. "We were able to install everything we wanted to. We are fortunate to have tremendous veteran leadership and they set the tempo and demeanor of everything. Our attrition with the newcomers was low, but I credit the veterans for helping with that as much as the young guys.

"We also found a couple new players that can step in and play right away, which we weren't expecting," said Weaver. "They showed us they can play and help right away and that is a big boost for our depth."

The Bison are a veteran group on both sides of the ball coming into 2012 with 17 starters back. On offense, junior quarterback Matt Grimard returns after setting a new BC-single season record with 2,685 total yards last fall. He'll be protected by four returners on the offensive line, which is bookended by senior tackles Bryan Benzinger and Nick Gore and features senior guard Doug Murray and junior center Evan Sargo.

On the defensive side of the ball, where the Bison led the PAC in yards allowed last year (281.1), five seniors will spearheaded the efforts. On the front line, defensive tackle Blake DeBord is back for his third year as a starter in the middle, while the linebackers will feature seniors Kyle Arrington, a three-time All-PAC selection, and Gage Lotozo, who made 40 stops last year. In the secondary, cornerback Jeff Joyce is coming off back-to-back All-PAC honors and safety Simeon Young steps into the starting line-up.

Even with all the experience returning, the surprises of preseason camp were found in some of the freshmen. First-year linebacker Tyler Vincent has positioned himself for playing time on the defense, while wide receiver Eric Blinn will see extensive time on offense. Weaver is also thrilled with a stable of four freshmen quarterbacks that will provide solid depth behind Grimard.

"The two major surprises are that we'll have freshmen contribute this year at linebacker in Tyler and wide receiver in Eric," said Weaver. "They were highly rated coming in, but they climbed over people on the depth chart and will see significant playing time.

"The other surprise is that our recruiting class at quarterback is very strong," said Weaver. "We recruited four guys and they can all play. So we feel real good about the depth behind Matt, our ability to move the ball in JV games and the future of the position."

Despite the strong camp, Weaver says there are still a couple spots him and his staff will feel more comfortable about once the season begins. DeBord anchors the talented defensive line, but with three sophomores and one freshman listed on the two-deep, it might be the most inexperienced spot on the roster. On the other side of the ball, Bethany will turn to a new tailback and while Weaver says his staff believes strongly in sophomore game-one starter Phil Acrie and junior D.J. Lesane, among others, there is always apprehension when the new guys step into the limelight for the first time.

"We are a little unsettled with depth at defensive line," said Weaver. "We know we have talented guys, but we're glad the first game is at home. It gives us a chance to put them in and see how they handle game day. There is no way to know that as a coach until you put them in.

"We are also inexperienced at running back," said Weaver. "We really like the guys we have to play there, but it will be their first time in the spotlight."

Centre lost some of their experience that helped the team to a 9-2 finish in 2011, which included a win in the opening round of the NCAA playoffs before a 30-10 loss to eventual runner-up Mount Union in the second round. The Colonels lost 10 starters from that team, but 63 lettermen are back, so another big year is expected. Centre was ranked 12th in Lindy's preseason poll and they were first among Others Receiving Votes in the D3Football.com poll.

The offense will have a new signal caller, as Heath Haden, a 6-1, 177-pound sophomore is slated to start Saturday. He is joined in the backfield by senior Monte Scotton, who ran for 771 yards and 13 scores last year. The top two wideouts also return in Rob Mellio (42 receptions, 460 yards, four TDs) and Jason Osterman (39 rec., 396 yards, nine TDs) and the front line consists of four seniors and one junior, so the Colonel offense, which averaged 32.9 points per game, should be a formidable attack. If they can't punch it in, the Colonels can turn to kicker Jordan Gay, who hit 11 field goals last year and also punted for an average of 41.3 yards per kick.

Centre's defense lost six players who made 40 or more tackles last year, but four others return to pace a unit that forced 25 turnovers. Senior safety Thomas Kent posted 72 stops, including six and a half for loss, while junior linebacker Michael Bozarth registered 50 tackles for the Colonels, who did allow nearly 22 points per game last season. Despite the graduation losses they took, Weaver said Centre is stout from top to bottom.

"They were very good last year and look to be good again this year," said Weaver. "They had a great quarterback graduate, but they are replacing him with a very talented player who knows the offense very well. Their backs are big and physical and they have good skill at wide receiver. The interior of their defense at tackle and linebacker is very good. And their kicker is the best we've ever seen and it's not even really close.

"They are fundamentally sound, talented, used to winning and have high expectations for the season," said Weaver. "This is going to a huge challenge for us."

If Bethany wants to knock off the Colonels and start out 1-0 for the second consecutive season, the big factors according to Weaver will be not turning the ball over, be better inside the 20 on offense and defense and also not let Centre's kicker completely control the tempo of the game.

"To win this week, we can't turn the ball over because that's a huge factor in any opener," said Weaver. "We have to tackle well because all of their backs and receivers are very violent, physical runners with the ball. And we have to be patient because their punter can control the field and tempo. There are a ton of hidden yards in each of their games because he puts teams on long fields."

"The other area we need to improve on, not just game one but for the season, are both sides in the red zone," said Weaver. "We worked on it a lot during camp and changed some things we do, so we expect to execute better this year."
Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Framingham State 50, Massachusetts Maritime 7
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Final
Muhlenberg 56, at Juniata 40
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at Dean 25, Becker 10
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Salisbury 27, at TCNJ 7
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MIT 38, at Catholic 21
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Merchant Marine 56, at Maine Maritime 31
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at Hobart 34, Endicott 17
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Final
at Morrisville State 44, Nichols 22
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Final
at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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Final
at Albright 9, Widener 7
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Christopher Newport 16, at Montclair State 8
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Final
at Westminster (Pa.) 41, Bethany 14
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Middlebury 41, at Bowdoin 14
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Williams 24, at Colby 7
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Amherst 36, at Hamilton 6
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Ursinus 35, at Moravian 17
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Trinity (Conn.) 51, at Bates 0
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at LaGrange 38, Brevard 28
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Geneva 33, at Thiel 24
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at Plymouth State 37, Mass-Dartmouth 7
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Final
Kean 28, at Southern Virginia 14
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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Union 17, at Curry 14
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Final
at Carnegie Mellon 37, Thomas More 17
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41.7 4th
44 Lycoming
41 King's
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Final
at Western New England 21, Husson 14
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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at DePauw 51, Wooster 24
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at Ohio Wesleyan 37, Allegheny 21
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at Misericordia 43, Wilkes 14
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at N.C. Wesleyan 35, Maryville (Tenn.) 25
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Huntingdon 31, at Ferrum 28
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Final - OT
at McDaniel 27, Gettysburg 20
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Final
at Buffalo State 33, RPI 21
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Final
Franklin and Marshall 27, at Susquehanna 24
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at Denison 45, Oberlin 17
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 10, Westminster (Mo.) 7
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at Eureka 44, Crown 20
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Final
at Lebanon Valley 24, FDU-Florham 14
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4th - 06:12
21 John Carroll
40 Heidelberg
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4th Quarter - 2:09
7 Otterbein
35 Ohio Northern
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Final
at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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4th - 00:38
14 Defiance
37 Rose-Hulman
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3:00, 4th quarter
25 Muskingum
49 Marietta
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3rd - 9:59
42 Franklin
16 Bluffton
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3rd - 10:07
21 Anderson
57 Hanover
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4th - 03:31
31 Mount St. Joseph
14 Manchester
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2:00 PM
Worcester State at Westfield State
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Start of 4th
6 Coast Guard
6 Norwich
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4th - 12:00
14 Bridgewater State
31 Fitchburg State
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3rd - 11:10
28 Wittenberg
11 Kenyon
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3rd - 9:45
21 Hiram
16 Wabash
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Halftime
41 North Central (Ill.)
7 Millikin
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2:00 PM
Sewanee at Millsaps
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Start of 4th
9 Birmingham-Southern
28 Rhodes
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2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
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2:00 PM
Greenville at Martin Luther
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12:33 4th Q
35 Chapman
21 Trinity (Texas)
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2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Loras
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9:00 4th
13 Washington U.
24 Wartburg
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3rd - 2:06
7 Hamline
44 Gustavus Adolphus
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3rd - 04:38
35 Augsburg
21 Carleton
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1:52 3RD
7 St. Olaf
57 Bethel
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2:00 PM
Dubuque at Luther
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8:49 3rd Q
17 Nebraska Wesleyan
28 Central
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2:00 PM
Simpson at Coe
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3rd - 7:55
19 Wheaton (Ill.)
8 Elmhurst
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2:00 PM
St. Norbert at Grinnell
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2:00 PM
Ripon at Knox
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2:00 PM
Iowa Wesleyan at MacMurray
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3rd - 13:08
37 Hardin-Simmons
3 Howard Payne
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2:00 PM
Southwestern at Louisiana College
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2:00 PM
Monmouth at Macalester
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3rd - 05:13
10 St. John's
17 St. Thomas
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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3rd - 06:45
10 WPI
35 Springfield
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3:00 PM
Beloit at Cornell
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4:00 PM
Utica at Brockport
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4:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Hartwick
Audio
4:00 PM
Carroll at UW-La Crosse
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1st - 06:58
0 Minnesota-Morris
7 St. Scholastica
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4:30 PM
UW-Eau Claire at George Fox
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5:00 PM
Salve Regina at Western Connecticut
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5:00 PM
Adrian at UW-Stevens Point
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6:00 PM
Tufts at Wesleyan
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6:00 PM
Methodist at Averett
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6:00 PM
Centre at Berry
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7:00 PM
Waynesburg at Case Western Reserve
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7:00 PM
St. Vincent at Grove City
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7:00 PM
North Park at Illinois Wesleyan
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7:00 PM
Texas Lutheran at Mary Hardin-Baylor
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7:00 PM
Lakeland at UW-Platteville
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7:00 PM
Carthage at Augustana
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7:00 PM
Chicago at Illinois College
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7:00 PM
McMurry at Sul Ross State
Audio
7:30 PM
Capital at Wilmington
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8:00 PM
Lake Forest at Lawrence
Video Video
8:00 PM
Belhaven at East Texas Baptist
8:00 PM
Arizona Christian at Whittier
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Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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Final
at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Final
Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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Final
Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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4th - 06:12
21 John Carroll
40 Heidelberg
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Final
at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
Box Score Video
3rd - 11:10
28 Wittenberg
11 Kenyon
Video Preview Preview Live stats
3rd - 9:45
21 Hiram
16 Wabash
Video Video Live stats Tickets
3rd - 13:08
37 Hardin-Simmons
3 Howard Payne
Video Live stats Audio
Halftime
41 North Central (Ill.)
7 Millikin
Video Live stats Audio Audio
3rd - 7:55
19 Wheaton (Ill.)
8 Elmhurst
Video Live stats
3rd - 05:13
10 St. John's
17 St. Thomas
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
Live stats Preview Audio Audio Video
4:00 PM
Utica at Brockport
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Waynesburg at Case Western Reserve
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
North Park at Illinois Wesleyan
Video Live stats Audio
7:00 PM
Lakeland at UW-Platteville
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Texas Lutheran at Mary Hardin-Baylor
Video Live stats Audio Audio