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Nov. 14 - LATROBE, Pa. – Senior wide receiver Matt Cruse (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier) set the career receptions record and sophomore RB Eric Walker (New Brighton, Pa.) broke the record for single-season rushing touchdowns to help lead the Bethany football team to a 34-13 victory over Saint Vincent in the 3rd Annual “Green Game”.

The victory ended the Bison’s season with a 3-7 record, while the Bearcats finished with a 0-10 mark.

The day had a bright start for Saint Vincent, who forced a three-and-out on Bethany’s first drive and then drove down to BC’s 14. But fortunes turned quickly when Bison freshman LB J.J. Stoken (Brownsville, Pa.) picked off a Jake Smith pass and rumbled 69 yards to the SVC 22. Three plays later, Bethany was facing a fourth-and-four when junior QB Dan Pegg (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) found senior TE Jorge Laboy (New York, N.Y./Central Park East) for a 16-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was missed, keeping it a 6-0 Bethany advantage.

Early in the second quarter, Bethany used 12 plays to march 68 yards down to the Bearcat two, but on fourth down, Walker was stopped and the hosts had the ball back. They would be forced to punt just three plays later and the snap back to the punter went over his head and out of the back of the end zone for a Bethany safety, giving BC an 8-0 margin midway through the second quarter.

Following the free kick, Pegg engineered an eight-play, 60-yard scoring drive by competing five passes, including a 22-yard strike to freshman WR Johnathan Foster (Cumberland, Md./Fort Hill) and a 21-yard connection with Cruse down to the SVC three. Two plays later, Walker carried it into the end zone and the extra point pushed the lead to 15-0. It was the 11th rushing score of the season for Walker, breaking the single-season record set by Will Anderson in 2002 and matched last year by Walker.

One play after a good kickoff return by Saint Vincent, a Bearcat pass was picked off by Bethany senior CB Michael Salters (McKees Rocks, Pa.) at the BC two. A 13-yard carry on second down by Walker helped get the Bison out from their own goal line and they began marching down the field. With just 21 seconds left before halftime, Pegg rifled a 37-yard scoring pass to Cruse and with the extra point, Bethany held a 22-0 lead going into halftime.

Saint Vincent had the ball first to start the second half and drove 58 yards for their first score of the day, which came on a three-yard TD run by Marc Gonzales. Bethany answered right back on their next possession. Cruse, who was tied with T.J, Parker’s career reception record of 175 catches, appeared to have the record on an acrobatic 34-yard reception deep into SVC territory, but the play was called back because of holding. Two plays later on third-and-11, Pegg was flushed from the pocket and found freshman WR Ed Holmes (Virginia Beach, Va./Landstown) for a 50-yard touchdown play to extend the Bison lead to 28-7 after the extra point was wide.

The Bearcats trimmed their deficit back down when they took possession. They quickly reached the Bison one and had first and goal, but Bethany denied them on two running plays and one pass attempt. Finally on fourth down, SVC’s Kevin Corona tossed a one-yard scoring pass to a diving Jake Gabelt for the home team’s second touchdown of the day. The extra point would be blocked by the Bison, as they maintained a 28-13 cushion.

The final score of the day came late in the fourth quarter and was set up by the Bison defense forcing the fifth turnover of the game. Freshman LB Kyle Arrington (Jackson Twp., Ohio/Jackson) picked off a Saint Vincent pass and took it back to the SVC 49. Cruse, who set the school’s career receptions record with a 23-yard grab late in the third quarter, added to his new mark with a 22-yard catch during the drive. The score came when Pegg faked a handoff to Walker and scrambled five yards to the end zone, giving him a hand in four of the team’s touchdowns in the game.

Highlighting the Bethany victory was Pegg’s effort, along with the record-setters. Pegg completed 29-of-41 through the air for 341 yards and three scores while adding in the rushing touchdown. The 29 completions tied for the fourth-highest total in one game at Bethany, while the 341 yards is the ninth-most posted by a Bison QB.

The record-setting score by Walker was the highlight to his day, as it also gave him 15 total touchdowns for the season to equal the single-season mark established by Anderson in 2002. He was limited to 42 yards on the ground, but still finished with 879 for the season, the sixth-best total by a Bison running back in one year. In addition, he is now second on the school’s all-time touchdown list with 26, four behind Anderson’s amount of 30.

Holmes led Bethany receivers with seven catches for 72 yards and one TD, while Cruse snared five balls for a game-high 113 yards and one touchdown in his final game as a Bison. In his four years with BC, he set every major receiving mark at the school with 177 receptions for 2,625 yards and 25 touchdowns, which placed him third on the all-time touchdown list at the school behind Anderson and Walker.  

A pair of Bethany linebackers spearheaded their efforts, as they held the Bearcats to 247 yards, the lowest total allowed by the Green and White this season. Arrington made a game-high 12 tackles and added his second interception of the season, while Powell made nine hits. Salters also made his final game a memorable one with a pair of interceptions to tie the school’s single-game record.