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BISON OVERMATCHED BY #18 THOMAS MORE 40-12
Oct. 3 - CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. – 18th-ranked Thomas More raced to a 20-0 halftime lead and never looked back in scoring a 40-12 Homecoming victory over the Bethany football team Saturday afternoon at the Bank of Kentucky Field.
The Bison were able to reach midfield on their opening drive, but a short punt gave the Saints (4-0, 3-0) the ball at the BC 48. Seven plays later, Thomas More QB Trevor Stellman tossed the first of his four scoring passes on the day, an eight-yard connection with Nick Olthaus for a 7-0 TMC advantage.
Thomas More’s next two scores came barely two minutes apart in the second quarter. The first was just over a minute into the new period when Stellman hooked up with Chris Farley for a 14-yard scoring pass. Then five plays after the kickoff, Bison QB Chad Smith (Washington, Pa.) was picked off by Saints LB Brad Steinmetz, who ran it back 40 yards for another score and the hosts were on top 20-0 after a missed extra point.
The Bison defense was able to hold Thomas More out of the end zone on their final drive of the half when freshman CB Brett Molanick (McKeesport, Pa./South Allegheny) intercepted a pass at the goal line to end that threat and keep it a 20-0 game at intermission.
The third quarter saw scores come quickly. Three plays after the second half kickoff, the Saints struck again, as Stellman rifled a 51-yard scoring strike to Othaus for a 27-0 margin. Bethany (1-3, 0-2) answered back with an 11-play, 67-yard march for their initial TD of the day. Smith was 4-for-5 on the drive for 52 yards, which helped set up sophomore RB Eric Walker’s (New Brighton, Pa.) 10-yard touchdown scamper. The extra point was missed and BC trailed 27-6.
The only other time Bethany has played at Thomas More came in 2006 and the Green and White overcame a 14-0 halftime deficit for a 21-17 triumph. Unfortunately, any hopes for a Bison comeback on this day were quickly dashed, as the Saints scored on their next two possessions to put the game away. The first touchdown was a 37-yard run by Stellman and the senior QB threw his final scoring pass of the day late in the third quarter on a 26-yard toss to Kendall Owens.
The Bison capped the scoring with an impressive drive at the start of the fourth quarter. Moving 76 yards in 17 plays, Smith shook off a pair of sacks to complete 7-of-9 for 85 yards and then finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown run.
Bethany finished the day with just one less first down than Thomas More (19-20) and controlled the ball for 36:54 to the Saints’ 23:06, but TMC outgained the Bison 436-283, including a 257-30 margin on the ground.
For the second straight game, Smith completed 29 passes, which is tied for third-most in BC single-game history. However, in addition to being limited in the running game by a stifling Saints defense, Bethany signal callers were also sacked seven times. Pacing the receivers for the Bison was freshman Marcus D’Aguiar (Waldorf, Md./Frederick Douglas) with eight catches for 89 yards.
A pair of Bison ended the game with double digit tackles defensively, led by senior FS Matt Dahle (McKees Rocks, Pa.). The PAC leader in tackles made 12 stops, including 10 solos, and forced a fumble, giving him three games this year with 10+ hits. Freshman LB Kyle Arrington (Jackson Twp., Ohio/Jackson) also had 10 tackles in the loss.
Bethany will return home for the next two weeks, beginning next Saturday when they host Thiel for Homecoming. The Tomcats, who beat the Bison 50-44 in four overtimes last season, improved to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the PAC Saturday with a 24-21 victory over Westminster. Kickoff at Bison Stadium next Saturday is scheduled for 2 p.m.