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BETHANY PLACES 13 ON ALL-PAC FOOTBALL TEAMS
Nov. 16 - WEXFORD, Pa. – After finishing with a 5-5 record for the first .500 season since 2001, the Bethany College football team had 13 players honored when the All-Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) teams were announced Monday.
Headlining the largest group of all-conference players in head coach Tim Weaver’s five-year tenure was senior right guard Jason Soltis (Port Vue, Pa./South Allegheny), who earned First Team honors, and junior RB Eric Walker (New Brighton, Pa.), a Second Team honoree.
A total of 11 players received Honorable Mention laurels, including: freshman QB Matt Grimard (Lowell, Mass./Dracut); sophomore WR C.J. Thomas (Jacksonville, Fla./University Christian); junior offensive linemen Bryan Benzinger (Fairview Park, Ohio) and Cory Potter (Akron, Ohio/Green); senior DT John Gyure (Pittsburgh, Pa./Brentwood); junior DE Kasib Taalib-Din (New York, N.Y./Central Park East); sophomore linebackers Kyle Arrington (Jackson Twp., Ohio./Jackson) and Willis Powell (Virginia Beach, Va./Landstown); freshman defensive backs Jamaan Webb (Jacksonville, Fla./University Christian) and Adrian White (Tampa, Fla./Chamberlain) and junior kick returner Jeff Joyce (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin).
This is the initial All-PAC honor for Soltis, who finished his second year starting at guard. He was part of the BC line that earned the D3Football.com Offensive Line of the Week after the team pounded out 387 rushing yards in a 31-29 win at King’s Sept. 11. For the season, the Bison were ranked second in the PAC in rushing offense (202.4) and posted four games with 236 or more rushing yards.
Walker picked up his second consecutive Second Team award and third All-PAC distinction overall. He finished third in the PAC with 898 rushing yards, sixth-most in Bethany single-season history. Walker also scored 12 rushing touchdowns to break his own single-season mark at the school and his 13 total TDs placed him fourth in the conference in scoring with 78 points. With one year left in his Bison career, Walker already owns the school record for career touchdowns with 39 and has climbed to third in program history in career rushing yards (2,491).
Grimard’s first season under center for Bethany was extremely productive. He ranked fourth in the league right behind Walker with 882 rushing yards, which is also a record by a BC quarterback, as was his 11 rushing touchdowns. Through the air, Grimard completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,490 yards and 10 scores. Overall his 2,372 total yards is third-highest and the 404 total offensive attempts is the fourth-most in Bethany single-season history.
The top receiver for the Bison was Thomas. He garnered his first all-conference honor after leading Bethany with 32 receptions and his 514 receiving yards tied for sixth-most in the PAC. Thomas also hauled in a pair of touchdowns during the year, including an 11-yard TD reception against Geneva Sept. 25 and a 33-yard scoring catch in the final win over Saint Vincent.
Benzinger, the starting left tackle, and Potter, the starting center, join teammate Soltis with All-PAC distinction. This is Benzinger’s first award and the second in a row for Potter after he was a Second Team pick last year. They earned it after leading the way for the BC ground attack, which helped Bethany rank first in the conference in time of possession (32:28) and third down conversions (43.2 percent) and fourth in sacks allowed (18) while rolling up 358.8 yards of total offense.
This is the third Honorable Mention award for Gyure, which he picked up after starting all 10 games at defensive tackle. His presence in the middle helped the Bison lower their rushing yards allowed per game from 226.6 last year, when he missed most of the year due to injury, down to 134.7 in 2010, good for fifth in the PAC. Gyure finished his senior year with 30 tackles, two sacks and a key forced fumble in the Saint Vincent win.
In his second full year as a starter, Taalib-Din emerged as one of the top pass rushers to secure All-PAC status. He tied for second in the league with 8.5 sacks, which was also tied for fifth-most in one year by a Bison. Taalib-Din registered at least one sack in seven contests and notched 54 tackles for the season to rank fourth on the BC roster. His biggest sack during the season came on a fourth down play to stop Waynesburg’s final drive in a 24-17 Bethany victory Oct. 2.
Arrington’s second straight Honorable Mention All-PAC accolade comes after he led Bethany and ranked third in the PAC in the league with 97 tackles, the most by a BC player since 2006. He was chosen as the PAC Player of the Week after tying his career-high with 16 tackles in the victory over Saint Vincent Saturday. It was his fifth game of the season with double digit stops in a game and third straight to close out the year. In addition, Arrington was second on the team with 3.5 sacks.
Powell was another member of the Bethany linebacking corps to take in the All-PAC spotlight after he finished his second year as a starter with 52 tackles and two interceptions. Both of his pickoffs came in victories, as he snared passes at Thiel and in Saturday’s win over Saint Vincent. Powell also matched his career-high with 10 stops in the Bison’s Sept. 25 contest against Geneva.
Webb started the season at cornerback, but finished it as the Bison’s starting free safety. He posted 49 tackles overall and finished the season playing his best football. Against nationally-ranked Thomas More Oct. 23, Webb made 10 hits and blocked two kicks, then came back in the next game to collect 11 tackles, including one for a loss, in the Nov. 6 tilt at Grove City.
White was Bethany’s starting strong safety this year and he matched Webb with 49 tackles and broke up a team-leading four passes, including two in his first collegiate game at King’s. He picked off his first career pass in the Oct. 16 victory at Westminster and set a season-high with 11 tackles in the Thomas More game, while also recovering a fumble.
After starting his career as a quarterback and moving to wide receiver as a sophomore, Joyce slid to defensive back and kick returner this year. He earned All-PAC for the first time after ranking sixth in the conference in kick returns (22.7 yards per return). His biggest runback came in the Oct. 16 triumph at Thiel when he took the second half kickoff back 87 yards for a touchdown. Also a big contributor on defense, Joyce was second on the team with 63 tackles, including five for loss, picked off a pass and recovered a fumble.