Oct. 18 - NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – Westminster’s Trevor Young hit a 44-yard field goal as time expired to give the Titans (4-3, 2-2) a 46-43 victory over the Bethany football team (1-5, 0-4) Saturday afternoon at Harold Burry Stadium.
The kick, which was Young’s first-ever attempt, capped off a wild game that saw the Titans rally twice from double digit deficits, including 17 unanswered points in the final 3:55 of the game.
Bethany used four Westminster turnovers to take a 28-0 first quarter lead. Freshman LB David Grillo (Charleroi, Pa.) picked off a Kevin Franz pass at the Titan 16. On the next snap, freshman RB Eric Walker (New Brighton, Pa.) scampered 16 yards for a score and a 7-0 lead. On the Titans’ first play following the kickoff, sophomore SS John George (Munhall, Pa./Steel Valley) intercepted a Franz aerial to set up BC at the Westminster 42. Four plays later, freshman QB Chad Smith (Washington, Pa.) lobbed an 18-yard touchdown to junior TE Jorge Laboy (New York, N.Y./Central Park East) for a 14-0 advantage.
The Green and White tacked on two more scores on big plays before the end of the quarter. The Titans drove inside the BC 20, but senior CB Brandon Zeman (Bridgeville, Pa./Chartiers Valley) stepped in front of a Franz attempt and raced 86 yards for a touchdown, the third INT return for a score in his career. The Titans would punt Bethany deep inside their own territory on the following drive and three plays later, sophomore Marcus Santini (Seminole, Fla.) burst through a hole and sprinted 84 yards to paydirt to give the Bison a four-touchdwon cushion heading into the second quarter.
The Titans’ first comeback began when Franz fired a seven-yard scoring pass to TE Gary Hutsler with 10:31 to play before halftime. Bethany missed a chance to add on when a 32-yard field goal went wide right and Westminster responded by driving 70 yards to add a 27-yard field goal from Fred Romeo just before the halftime horn sounded to make it a 28-10 game.
Westminster continued to build their momentum by taking the second half kickoff and going 61 yards in five plays to score on a 31-yard run by Nick McKolosky. The extra point was wide right to keep it a 28-16 Bison advantage. Bethany would turn the ball over on their next drive with a fumble and the hosts’ took advantage with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Franz to Chad Rosatelli to bring Westminster within a score at 28-22.
Bethany’s next drive ended with a partially blocked punt and the Titans used the short field to take a 29-28 lead on a 22-yard touchdown run by McKolosky. The Bison answered back on their following possession to move 55 yards in eight plays to reclaim the lead. The drive culminated on the first play of the final period when Smith flipped a 20-yard scoring pass to Santini out of the backfield and after Smith connected with sophomore WR Randy Rankin (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) for the two-point conversion, BC was back on top 36-29.
The margin grew to 43-29 midway through the fourth quarter. Freshman Jeff Joyce (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) returned a punt 31 yards to the Titan 18 and four plays later, Walker bulled in from the four for his eight rushing touchdown of the season, the most by a Bison back since Will Anderson set the school-record with 10 in 2002.
Bethany was able to stop Westminster on their next drive, but the Titans final rally started after they got the ball back. Franz threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Hutsler with 3:55 remaining to bring the Titans within a TD at 43-36. The Bison were forced into a three-and-out and a short punt gave Westminster the ball at the BC 48. Four plays later, McKolosky scored for the third time in the game on a four-yard run to even the contest at 43 with 1:45 left.
An incomplete pass and sack would force Bethany to punt away with 1:08 remaining and the Titans’ final drive began at their own 35. Franz ran once for 12 yards and completed two passes for 30 yards to move his team down to the BC 27. Young, who saw his first action of the season with three extra points in the second half, came on with two seconds to play and booted the 44-yard kick as time ran out for the improbable Westminster triumph.
The Bison offense recorded 335 yards of total offense. Smith recovered from being shaken up in the first half to complete 14-of-21 passes for 144 yards and two scores. On the ground, Santini rushed for 116 yards on nine carries and one TD and Walker churned out 62 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. With six catches for 62 yards, Rankin was the top receiver for the Green and White, who were without junior Matt Cruse (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier) because of illness and senior Taylor McNeil (Old Saybrook, Conn.), who left the game in the second quarter.
Defensively, junior CB Michael Salters (McKees Rocks, Pa./Sto-Rox) made nine tackles and broke up three passes, while secondary partner Zeman had four tackles and picked off two passes to tie the Bethany single-game record.
Franz recovered after having three of his first eight passes intercepted to throw for 306 yards and three TDs, while McKolosky gained 137 yards on the ground. Jon Gubish posted game-highs with 11 receptions for 104 yards.
Bethany will return to Bison Stadium next Saturday when they host Waynesburg at 1 p.m. in a PAC contest. It will begin a stretch of three home dates in the final four games of the year for BC.