Nov. 17 - WEXFORD, Pa. – Eight Bethany football players were honored Monday when All-Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) teams were announced after voting by the league coaches.
Junior TE Jorge Laboy (New York, N.Y./Central Park East) was the lone BC representative on First Team, while a trio of Bison received Second Team laurels, including senior OL Brian Liptock (New Salem, Pa./Uniontown), junior WR Matt Cruse (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier) and junior FS Nelson Mitzen (Waynesburg, Pa./Waynesburg Central).
A total of four Bethany players gained Honorable Mention status, led by senior WR Taylor McNeil (Old Saybrook, Conn.), freshman RB Eric Walker (New Brighton, Pa.), junior DL John Gyure (Pittsburgh, Pa./Brentwood) and senior CB Brandon Zeman (Bridgeville, Pa./Chartiers Valley).
Laboy was rewarded with his first all-conference honor after he tied for the team lead in receptions. He had 43 catches for 433 yards and three touchdowns. The 6-4, 250-pound junior had four games with six catches or more, highlighted by an eight-reception, 135-yard, two-touchdown effort in BC’s four-overtime loss at Thiel Oct. 11.
A communication major, Jorge is the son of Margarita Murillo of New York, N.Y.
This is the third time Liptock has received All-PAC recognition after Second Team honors as a sophomore and First Team last year. The anchor of the Bison offensive line, he started seven games at right guard before suffering a season-ending injury in the 31-24 victory over Waynesburg. Bethany’s offense set records this year for scoring (280 points) and passing yards (2,548) while allowing just 20 sacks in 355 attempts.
An environmental science major, Brian is the son of Robert & Joanne Liptock of New Salem, Pa.
For Cruse, he has picked up All-PAC accolades all three years of his career and now has consecutive Second Team awards to his credit. Despite missing three games because of injuries, he caught 42 passes for a team-leading 721 yards (fourth-most in Bethany history) and five scores. Cruse had over 100 yards in five games, and in one of the games he didn’t reach that mark, the 6-3, 210-pound wideout tied the school’s single-game standard with 13 receptions.
With one year to go, Cruse already has one career receiving mark and has two others in his sights. He broke the Bethany record for career touchdown receptions this year with 21, while also being tied for second in receiving yards (1,959) and third in receptions (129).
An accounting major, Matt is the son of Margaret & Bill Cruse of Naples, Fla.
Monday’s announcement gives Mitzen back-to-back Second Team All-PAC citations. He led Bethany and ranked third in the PAC in tackles with 91, while also falling on a conference-high three fumbles. In addition, the 6-3, 195-pound free safety picked off three passes to tie for the team-lead. Mitzen posted three games with double-digit tackles, including a career-high 16 against Geneva Nov. 1, and received PAC Defensive Player of the Week honors after he recorded nine tackles, two fumble recoveries and one interception in the Waynesburg triumph.
A pre-physical therapy major, Nelson is the son of Jim & Alice Mitzen of Waynesburg, Pa.
McNeil closed his career with his second straight Honorable Mention All-PAC recognition. Despite missing one game, he tied Laboy for most receptions with 43 for 590 yards and three TDs. He also capped his Bison tenure with a bang, as he caught 10 passes for a school-record 279 yards and two touchdowns (60, 88) in the season finale against Saint Vincent, which earned him PAC Offensive Player of the Week status.
For his career, McNeil put himself near the top in numerous categories in the BC record books. He finished with 106 receptions (seventh all-time) for 1,489 yards (seventh) and 10 touchdowns (tied for seventh). One of the top kick returners in school history, McNeil was second in career runbacks (76) and return yards (1,553) and finished fourth in all-purpose yards (3,213).
A physical education major, Taylor is the son of Kathy & Gary McNeil of Old Saybrook, Conn.
In his first year in a Bison uniform, Walker established himself as one of the top ground-gainers in the PAC, ranking fifth with 714 rushing yards on 161 carries (4.4 average). He also scored 10 rushing touchdowns to tie the Bethany single-season record set by Will Anderson in 2002. Walker also caught 20 passes for 236 yards and another TD and his 11 total scores on the year tied for third-most at Bethany. He collected three 100-yard efforts during the campaign, including a career-high 117 in the 44-14 win over Saint Vincent.
A business major, Eric is the son of Lorraine Walker of New Brighton, Pa.
Gyure’s all-league nod is the second of his career to add to his Honorable Mention recognition from his freshman year. He led the Bison and tied for second in the PAC with 8.5 sacks, which is tied for the fourth most in one year at Bethany and is the highest total by a BC player since Chris Loftis posted 10.5 in 1999. Gyure also led the Bison in tackles-for-loss with 11.5 and ranked fourth overall in stops with 53. He played a huge role in the Waynesburg victory by recording eight tackles and two sacks.
A psychology major, John is the son of Anne and John Gyure of Pittsburgh, Pa.
Zeman’s honor is the finishing touch on a career that saw him collect three Honorable Mention All-PAC awards. BC’s top cover corner, he tied Mitzen for the team-lead with three interceptions and was also tied for high spot in the PAC with three forced fumbles. Of Zeman’s three picks, he took two back for touchdowns, including an 86-yard runback at Westminster and a 39-yard return against Saint Vincent, which gave him four for his career. Overall, Zeman finished with 51 tackles and 11 pass break-ups during his senior season.
A physical education major, Brandon is the son of Lou & Kathy Zeman of Bridgeville, Pa.