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BISON FALL INCHES SHORT IN 37-33 LOSS TO GENEVA

Sept. 25 - BETHANY, W.Va. – After setting the Bethany College career touchdown record earlier in the game, junior RB Eric Walker (New Brighton, Pa.) was stopped inside the one-yard line on the final play of the game, as Geneva held off the Bison 37-33 in a heart-stopper at Bison Stadium Saturday night.

The final series, which featured freshman QB Matt Grimard (Lowell, Mass./Dracut) gaining 33 yards on the ground and completing a 14-yard pass to sophomore WR Marcus D’Aguiar (Waldorf, Md./Frederick Douglas) on a fourth down, saw the Bison (1-3) reach the Geneva two-yard line before calling their final timeout with 14 seconds to play. Walker’s carry went off the left side and his knee came down just before he reached over the goal line. Bethany tried to scramble to get another play off but time expired and the Golden Tornadoes escaped with the win.

It looked like the game wouldn’t come down to the final seconds early on, as Bethany rolled out to a 20-3 lead midway through the second quarter. Walker broke the school’s career TD record in the opening frame, as he scored on a three-year run to cap an 80-yard drive for his 31st career touchdown, surpassing Will Anderson’s career total of 30 from 1999-2002.

Geneva (2-2) came right back with a 41-yard field goal by Nick DiPietro, but BC extended their lead to 14-3 when Grimard went in from two yards out. The next time Bethany had the ball, senior QB Dan Pegg (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) spelled Grimard and tossed 37- and 24-yard passes on the scoring drive, which was capped when Walker bulled in from the one. The extra point was missed, but the Green and White margin stood at 20-3.

The visitors struck back before halftime with a 40-yard touchdown pass from David Girardi to A.J. Delmonico following a Bethany fumble and a 24-yard field goal by DiPietro just before the intermission. Geneva then scored on their first possession of the second half when Girardi hit Corey O’Patchen for a 40-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 20-20.

The teams then started swapping scores. Bethany lit up the scoreboard again midway through the third quarter when Grimard connected with sophomore WR C.J. Thomas (Jacksonville, Fla./University Christian) for an 11-yard TD toss, but the GTs drew even when Gerard Muschette scored on an eight-yard run early in the fourth quarter. On their next possession, the Bison went back in front with a 54-yard drive that ended on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Grimard to freshman WR Chris Collins (Youngstown, Ohio/Ursuline), but the extra point was off target again, so the lead was 33-27.

Just two plays after getting the ball back, Geneva went ahead for good. This time, O’Patchen got behind the BC secondary for an 88-yard touchdown pass and the extra point put the GTs on top 34-33. The first place after taking possession again, a Grimard pass was picked off and returned to the Bethany eight. The Bison defense rose up to force a field goal of 26 yards from DiPietro to extend the cushion to 37-33 with 3:22 to play, which set the stage for Bethany’s dramatic but unsuccessful final quest for victory.

Grimard shouldered the load for the Bethany offense, as he rushed for 140 yards on 27 carries, his third straight game over 100 yards. He also threw for 110 yards and a pair of scores on just six completions. Also on the ground, Walker not only reset the school record for career touchdowns, but with his 74 yards rushing, became just the sixth player in Bethany history to surpass 2,000 career yards (2,002).

For the Bison defense, sophomore LB Kyle Arrington (Jackson Twp., Pa./Jackson) made a career-high 16 tackles, while sophomore LB Willis Powell (Virginia Beach, Va./Landstown) and junior FS Jeff Joyce (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) each had 10 hits.

Bethany will remain at home for their next game, as they host Waynesburg (2-1, 2-0) next Saturday at 2 p.m. for Homecoming.