October 20, 2012

Bethany Rally Not Enough in 45-28 Loss at Westminster

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The Bethany College football team trimmed a 17-point deficit down to three in the fourth quarter, but two late Westminster touchdowns sent the Titans to a 45-28 victory over the Bison Saturday in New Wilmington.

The fourth quarter of the contest saw 42 points scored between the teams, but the opening quarter could not have had a more different start. Neither team scored in the first 15 minutes and interceptions on each side ended potential scoring threats early in the second quarter. Westminster drove inside the BC red zone early in the second quarter, but junior safety Jordan Joyce intercepted a pass in the end zone to kill the drive.

The Bison's next possession was stopped when Westminster's Genio Mariano picked off a deep pass at the Titan 20. Running back Tyler Banks then had a 52-yard run and carried five times for 63 yards on a drive that netted a 25-yard field goal from Zach Baker to give Westminster a 3-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

Following punts from each side, the Bison jumped on the board for the first time. Junior quarterback Matt Grimard sandwiched 25- and 23-yard pass to freshman WR Eric Blinn around a 12-yard scramble to put Bethany in scoring position. Sophomore RB Phil Acrie capped the march with a five-yard touchdown run and the Bison were on top 7-3.

The Titans (3-3, 2-3) answered the big passing plays from Bethany with some of their own to take the lead late in the half. Westminster QB Dak Britt went 3-for-3 and accounted for all 61 yards through the air, including a 10-yard touchdown pass to Geno Pasquinelli with 34 seconds on the clock to send the home team into the locker room with a 10-7 advantage.

Following Westminster's first possession in the third quarter, long drives were the story of the period. On the second play after the second half kickoff, Britt broke off a 73-yard touchdown run to extend the Titan lead to 17-7. Bethany marched right down into Westminster territory on its next drive, but stalled out and turned the ball over on downs at the Titan 28. Westminster then moved 72 yards in nine plays to tack on another score, this one coming on a five-yard TD toss from Britt to Connor Kobis and the Bison trailed 24-7.

Bethany (1-6, 1-4) had a nice drive going at the end of the third quarter and its reward was a score on the opening play of the final stanza. Senior wide receiver Ed Holmes took a handoff and went five yards for a touchdown to trim the deficit to 24-14. That lasted exactly 20 seconds, as the first play after the kickoff, Britt exploded for a 52-yard scoring jaunt to take the Westminster lead back to 31-14.

That's when the points started flying on the board in a hurry. Three plays after taking over, Grimard hooked up with Blinn for a 55-yard touchdown play to bring BC within 10 at 31-21. Westminster was driving on its next possession, but senior linebacker Kyle Arrington intercepted a pass to give Bethany the ball at its own 38.

The ensuing drive was highlighted by a massive amount of penalties. The Bison had a 62-yard scoring pass from Grimard to Holmes wiped out due to a holding call, then had two more first down plays called back due to infractions. The Titans jumped into the fray with a personal foul to give BC a first down on a second and long and then kept the drive alive when a roughing the passer call on Westminster gave the Bison a first down following an incomplete pass on fourth-and-10. One play after that flag, Grimard hit Holmes for a nine-yard touchdown pass and the extra point made it a 31-28 Bison deficit with six minutes to play.

That would be as close as Bethany would get to pulling off the comeback, as the Titan running game cemented the victory. Four plays after the Bison score, Banks burst through for a 51-yard TD run. Bethany would turn the ball over on downs on its next possession and on the very next play, Banks scampered 35 yards for the final score of the afternoon. Banks (199 yards, two TDs) and Britt (160 yards, 2 TDs) sparked the Westminster ground attack that finished with 395 yards on the afternoon.

The Bethany offense turned in a strong day, led by Grimard. He finished with 357 yards passing and a pair of TDs on 28 completions. He added 78 rushing yards to lead the team and register 435 total yards for the day, which is third-most in a single game in Bethany history. His top targets included Blinn, who snared 10 passes for 168 yards and a score, and Foster, who had 10 receptions for 96 yards.

The defensive side was led by Arrington, who made 12 tackles for his third straight week with double-digit stops. Senior defensive end Cody Eyerman had a nice day as well with six tackles, including 1.5 for loss, and a forced fumble.

Bethany will remain on the road next week for another PAC affair, with a trip to Thiel on the docket. Kickoff between the Bison and Tomcats (2-5, 2-3) is scheduled for 1 p.m.
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