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BETHANY LOSES HOME FINALE TO #15 W&J

Nov. 7 - BETHANY, W.Va. – 15th-ranked Washington & Jefferson scored 21 first-quarter points and rolled on to a 49-0 victory over the Bethany football team Saturday afternoon in the Bison’s final home game of the season.

The Presidents (8-1, 4-1) scored on their opening possession when QB Steven Shumaker snuck over from a yard out for a 7-0 lead. W&J would add on two more scores before the period closed out on an 18-yard scoring pass from Shumaker to Craig Besong and a 17-yard touchdown run by Brian Baldridge to increase their lead to 21-0.

The second quarter was plagued by mistakes from both sides, as each team turned the ball over twice. Bethany looked to be in business early in the quarter when W&J fumbled a punt and senior Ariel Ramirez (West Hempstead, N.Y.) recovered at the President 30. But two plays later, BC junior quarterback Dan Pegg (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) was picked off at the W&J 19.

The visitors looked like they would add on more later in the quarter, as they reached the Bison five. However, Baldridge lost the ball straining for the goal line and senior CB Michael Salters (McKees Rocks, Pa./Sto-Rox) recovered in the end zone for a touchback. The relief was short-lived, as three plays later, a Pegg pass was intercepted by Craig Sudunov, who weaved his way 37 yards into the end zone to swell the President cushion to 28-0.

A 33-yard kick return by freshman Ed Holmes (Virginia Beach, Va./Landstown) gave Bethany hope before intermission and after Pegg hit sophomore RB Eric Walker (New Brighton, Pa.) for a 14-yard gain and Holmes for 31 yards, the Bison were at the W&J seven. But an incomplete pass and three-yard completion left the Green and White short of the end zone when time expired for intermission.

The Bison mounted another threat to open the second half. A 12-yard pass to senior TE Jorge Laboy (New York, N.Y./Central Park East) and a 27-yard connection with Holmes helped Bethany reach the President 19. The threat ended when W&J’s Jacob Bloomhuff picked off a pass and rumbled into Bison territory. Three plays after the INT, Baldridge broke off a 19-yard run to paydirt to extend the margin to 35-0.

The last two scores of the game were set up by Bethany turnovers, as one play following Sudunov’s second interception of the game, Gino Rometo fired a 46-yard scoring strike to Besong. Then in the fourth quarter, a fumbled snap led to a 21-yard scoring reception by Ben Hoffer to complete the scoring.

Although Bethany finished the game with just two less first downs than W&J (20-18) and nearly 300 yards of offense, they committed six turnovers in the game, their highest total since turning it over six times in a loss at Thiel in Sept., 2005.

Turning in a pretty productive day was Holmes, who caught seven passes for 95 yards while adding in 109 kickoff return and eight rushing yards and finishing with 212 all-purpose yards in the contest. Senior WR Matt Cruse (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier) caught three passes for the day to give him 172 for his career, leaving him four away from breaking T.J. Parker’s school record for career receptions (175).

On the defensive end, senior FS Matt Dahle (McKees Rock, Pa./Sto-Rox) made a team-high 11 stops, while freshmen linebackers Kyle Arrington (Jackson Twp., Ohio/Jackson) and Will Powell (Virginia Beach, Va./Landstown) each had 10 stops. Arrington’s day also included a sack.

The Bison (2-7) will conclude the 2009 season next Saturday when they travel to Saint Vincent (0-9) for the annual Green Game. This will be Bethany’s first-ever trip to Saint Vincent, as they won the first two match-ups between the schools 66-7 and 44-14. Kickoff at Chuck Noll Field in Latrobe is slated for 1 p.m.