Nov. 13 - WEXFORD, Pa. – When the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) announced its all-league teams Monday afternoon, 10 members of the Bethany College football team were honored, the most since 2003 when 12 Bison earned all-conference laurels.
Receiving First Team accolades was junior RG Brian Liptock (New Salem, Pa./Uniontown). Four Bison were named to the Second Team, including senior QB Milton Joyner (Pittsburgh, Pa./Westinghouse), sophomore WR Matt Cruse (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier), senior punter Mike Elias (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) and sophomore DB Nelson Mitzen (Waynesburg, Pa./Waynesburg Central).
Rounding out the honorees were five Honorable Mention players, including junior WR Taylor McNeil (Old Saybrook, Conn.), sophomore LT Chad Sedlacek (Monaca, Pa.), senior linebackers Bill Wineberg (Pittsburgh, Pa./Shaler) and Kellen Lieb (Farmington, Pa./Uniontown) and junior DB Brandon Zeman (Bridgeville, Pa./Chartiers Valley).
This is the second all-conference award for Liptock and the first time he’s earned First Team honors. The 6-2, 265-pound junior was the anchor of the BC offensive line, where he started all 10 games, nine coming at left guard. His efforts up front were a primary reason the Bison moved up from seventh in the PAC in rushing a year ago (71.1 per game) to third this season with 185.7 yards per contest.
The biggest day for the Bethany ground attack was in a Sept. 15 game against Saint Vincent (Pa.) College. BC rolled up school-records with 482 rushing yards and 739 total yards in a 66-7 victory.
An environmental science major, Brian is the son of Robert and Joanne Liptock of New Salem, Pa.
Joyner’s Second Team nod is the first all-league award of his career. After spending his first three seasons as a wide receiver and earning spots in the top 10 at the school in career receptions (114) and yards (1,263), he shifted to QB and had a record-setting year. He completed 53 percent of his passes (162-304) for 2,087 yards, becoming just the third BC signal caller ever to throw for more than 2,000 yards in a season. Joyner also fired 21 TD passes to break the school’s single-season mark of 19 that had stood since 1997.
In addition, he rushed for five touchdowns and 223 yards, which gave him the third-highest total yardage count in Bethany history with 2,310 yards.
His most remarkable performance came in the season finale against undefeated and #5 Washington & Jefferson (Pa.) College when he completed 28 passes, second-most in one game by a Bison quarterback, for 375 yards, third-highest total ever recorded at Bethany. He also fired five touchdowns to tie the single-game record that was previously set in 1991.
A physical education major, Milton is the son of Mary Souchern and Milton Joyner Sr. of Pittsburgh, Pa.
As one of Joyner’s favorite targets, Cruse had an outstanding year at receiver. Despite missing two games because of injury, he had 52 receptions for 763 yards, which equaled out to a PAC-leading 95.4 yards per game. He also caught nine touchdown passes to tie Bethany’s single-season record that was set just two years ago by T.J. Parker.
Cruse had at least one touchdown reception in seven of the eight games he played this season. The lone time he was held out of the end zone this season came in a 41-21 victory over Westminster Oct. 20 when he hauled in 12 passes for 133 yards.
An accounting major, Matt is the son of Margaret and Bill Cruse of Naples, Fla.
This is Mitzen’s first All-PAC award of his career. He led the team with two interceptions and was second with 65 tackles. Mitzen had eight or more stops in five of the last six games, including nine hits and an INT in the Westminster victory. He set his career-high with 12 tackles at Grove City Oct. 6.
A psychology major, Nelson is the son of Jim and Alice Mitzen of Waynesburg, Pa.
For Elias, this marks the third time he’s been recognized by the conference for his punting abilities. He was ranked third in the circuit in average with 36.4 yards per kick. Elias boomed five punts of 50+ yards, including a season-long 65-yarder against Geneva. He also downed eight attempts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.
Also the Bison tight end, Elias had 14 receptions for 156 yards and one TD, which was an 11-yard scoring catch in the W&J game.
An economics major, Mike is the son of Barb and Bill Elias of Uniontown, Pa.
Highlighting the five Bison who made Honorable Mention was McNeil. He tied Cruse for the team-lead with 52 receptions, which went for 711 yards and five touchdowns. McNeil recorded one of the best all-purpose seasons ever at Bethany, as he totaled 1,476 yards, fourth-most in BC history. Included in those numbers were 122 rushing yards and 643 kickoff return yards, which broke the Bethany single-season record.
McNeil capped off his great season with a historic day against W&J. He tied the BC single-game record with 13 receptions which went for 221 yards, the second-highest total in Bethany history. Overall, he finished with 386 all-purpose yards, which earned him PAC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for the third time in his career.
A physical education major, Taylor is the son of Gary and Kathy McNeil of Old Saybrook, Conn.
Starting all 10 games at left tackle, Sedlacek earned his initial All-PAC laurel. He helped Bethany finish second in the PAC in total offense with 410.5 yards per game, as well as 224.8 passing yards per game. Sedlacek’s play in pass protection was also instrumental in BC allowing just 15 sacks, the fewest in the PAC this year.
Undecided on a major, Chad is the son of Rick and Katie Sedlacek of Monaca, Pa.
Bethany’s outside linebackers Lieb and Wineberg both received their first all-conference award following their efforts this year. Wineberg led Bethany with 69 tackles this season and was second on the squad with seven stops for loss. He earned PAC Defensive Player of the Week honors following BC’s season-opening win at Hiram (Ohio) College after he made 12 tackles and had one sack.
A physical education major, Bill is the son of Ken and Joanne Wineberg of Pittsburgh, Pa.
Lieb tied for third on the team with 56 tackles this year, which equaled his career-high total from last season. He made three tackles for loss and picked off one pass. Lieb made a career-high 12 tackles in the Westminster triumph, then had six solo stops and his INT the following week in a 35-14 win over Thomas More.
A physical education major, Kellen is the son of Larry and Jo Lieb of Farmington, Pa.
Zeman received his second consecutive Honorable Mention award despite missing the final four games because of injury. He had 35 tackles in the six games he did play in, while breaking up four passes, including one interception against Saint Vincent. Zeman set a career-high with a dozen tackles in the Geneva contest.
A physical education major, Brandon is the son of Lou and Kathy Zeman of Bridgeville, Pa.