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Bison Football Upends Waynesburg University 27-14

Sept. 26 – WAYNESBURG, Pa. – The Bethany College football team (2-2, 1-1 PAC), proved that it could win a football game in multiple ways as the Green & White tallied a 27-14 victory over Waynesburg University on Saturday afternoon in Waynesburg.

The first half of the game between the Bison and Yellow Jackets proved to be a fast-paced, offensive affair, with the two teams combining for 552 yards and 38 total points. When the dust settled in the opening half, the Bison held a 24-14 lead.

The Green & White showed flashes of brilliance on the offensive side of the ball in the first half, totaling 369 yards on 43 plays, averaging 8.5 yards per play. Bethany notched 280 yards through the air as senior Lincon Reyes (Gaithersburg, Md./Gaithersburg) completed 19-of-25 passes while connecting for two touchdowns.

Waynesburg opened the scoring in the first quarter, using 4:44 off the clock to drive 50 yards on eight plays. The drive ended on a Jake Dougherty 12-yard touchdown pass to Dan Davis, and the Yellow Jackets held a 7-0 lead.

The Bison would respond immediately, needing just one play to find the answer. After a kick return set Bethany up at the 26-yard line, the offense called on Reyes to look for the home-run throw. Reyes responded, connecting with junior Tyler Ambush (Germantown, Md./Northwest) on a 74-yard strike to knot the game at 7-7. The scoring drive lasted just one play and needed just 10 seconds of game time.

Along with the first touchdown play, the Bison would tally 17-unanswered points in the first half. The Green & White’s next score would come on a 22-yard field goal by sophomore Chris Ray (Henrico, Va./Mills E. Godwin). After forcing a punt, the Bison found themselves pinned inside their own 10. Bethany then showed its versatility, posting a five-minute drive. The Bison tallied 17 plays on the drive, going 89 yards and ending the stretch with three, giving them the 10-7 advantage.

After forcing another Waynesburg punt, the Bison once again went to work, methodically moving down the field. Reyes connected with Ambush on completions of 22 and 21 yards, respectively, to set Bethany up with a first down from the Yellow Jacket 33.

On the next play from scrimmage, junior Jalen Holmes (New Castle, Pa./New Castle) broke one over the left side of the Waynesburg defense, finding a seem, and racing into the end zone from 33-yards out to extend the lead to 17-7 with 8:06 to play in the half.

Waynesburg would respond immediately thanks to a 42-yard kickoff return by Austin Wilson. From there, the Yellow Jackets would need just two plays and 49 seconds to cut the Bethany advantage to 17-14 on Davis’ second TD reception.

Neither team could find a score over the next four possessions, and the Bison received the ball back from Waynesburg with just 29 seconds left before the half.

Wanting to make a statement before the halftime break, coach Bill Garvey called once again on his senior signal caller to orchestrate a scoring drive. Reyes responded by completing five-straight passes to three-different receivers, including a 34-yard strike to Ambush to set the Bison up with a first-and-goal from the Waynesburg seven.

Taking their last time out of the half, the Bison had time for one or two plays. Reyes, however, only needed the one play, as he connected with senior Eric Blinn (Beaver, Pa./Western Beaver) on a seven-yard hitch pattern for another Bison score. Thanks to the TD pass, the Bison took a 24-14 lead into the break.

In the first half, the Bison were led by Ambush and Blinn as the duo combined for 16 catches, 269 yards and two scores. The deep threat, Ambush tallied 168 yards, while the sure-handed Blinn hauled in 11 catches.

For as much as the offense shined in the first half, the Bethany defense showed that they are just as capable of controlling a game in the second half.

The Green & White held Waynesburg to 137 total yards between the third and fourth quarters while also forcing a pair of turnovers to preserve the lead.

Waynesburg’s offense totaled seven possessions in the second half, four of which ended in a turnover. The Bethany special teams made the first big play as the Green & White forced a fumble on a punt. Montez Lee () recovered the muffed punt on the Waynesburg side of the field, setting up the final score of the game, a 23-yard field goal by Ray. With the extra points tacked on, the score would show a 27-14 advantage for the visitors.

Waynesburg took their best shot to get back in the game on the next drive, moving 58 yards down the field on just six plays to get into the Bethany red zone. It was there, however, that the Bison would tally a momentum-swinging play.

Waynesburg quarterback Jake Dougherty looked to punch the Yellow Jackets into the end zone from the six yard line as he lofted a pass to a seemingly open receiver early in the fourth quarter. However, senior Dion Williams (Clinton, Md./Frederick Douglass) made the big play, cutting in front of the Waynesburg wideout for the interception.

From there, Waynesburg would get three more possessions, two of which were ended on downs.

Overall in the second half, the Bison held the Yellow Jackets to just 3.8 yards per play and zero points as the Bethany “D” pitched the second-half shutout to preserve the 27-14 victory.

The Bethany defense was led by senior Donavan Hayden (Hyattsville, Md./Northwestern) who finished the game with 16 total tackles, two forced fumbles, a tackle for loss and two pass breakups. Freshman Tyrik Darby (Jersey City, N.J./Lincoln) also played well, notching a career-high 13 tackles.

Overall, the 14 points allowed by the Bethany defense marked the lowest point total by any Bethany opponent since the Bison defeated Carnegie Mellon 19-7 on October 11.  

Offensively, the Bison did most of their damage in the first half. Reyes finished the game with a career high 342 yards while throwing two touchdowns. Ambush totaled 177 yards and a touchdown, while Blinn finished with 12 catches for 107 yards and a score.

Also effective in the ground game, the Bison totaled 149 yards rushing, led by Holmes’ 121 yards and a score on 29 carries.

Overall, the Green & White posted a season high for total yards, surpassing their 486 yards of offense in a 51-16 win over Thiel with 491 yards, most of which came in the opening stanza.

The Green & White will return home for their next game on Saturday, October 3 as they host Case Western Reserve University at 2 p.m. The weekend will also serve as Homecoming weekend for Bethany, with festivities being held over the course of the three days.