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Football falls short at Washington & Jefferson, 37-36

Box Score

Oct. 15 – WASHINGTON, Pa. – Despite over 500 yards of total offense, the Bethany College football team was edged 37-36 by Washington & Jefferson in Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) play Saturday night.

The loss drops the Bison to 1-6 overall, 1-5 in the PAC. Meanwhile, the Presidents improve to 3-1 in league play, 5-1 overall this season.

The Green and White led 37-30 with 11:39 remaining in the game when they started a drive on the Presidents’ 45-yardline. The Bison converted a pair of first downs to move the ball to the 24-yard line, but an interception by junior quarterback Chase Kinemond (Shadyside, Ohio/Shadyside) halted the drive. Kinemond rolled out to his right and threw a screen pass across his body towards the left side, hoping to catch the defense in over-pursuit. Unfortunately, the pass was intercepted by Presidents’ defensive lineman Torre Carr and returned to the 43-yard line.

On the next play, Washington & Jefferson quarterback Pete Coughlin hit Jesse Zubik across the middle of the field for a 57-yard touchdown pass to put the Presidents ahead 37-36 with 9:05 left in the game.

Bethany proceeded to go three-and-out on its next possession and did not get another opportunity with the ball. Washington & Jefferson erased the final 6:53 on the clock with four first downs, including a conversion on a fourth-and-three to run out the clock.

Kinemond finished the game 15-for-22 with 219 yards passing, three touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for 151 yards on 20 carries to register 370 yards of total offense.

Senior wide receiver Tyler Ambush (Germantown, Md./Northwest) hauled in seven receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown, while senior running back Jalen Holmes (New Castle, Pa./New Castle) rushed for 89 yards on 18 carries to pace the offense.

Bethany marched down the field on the game’s opening drive. After the Bison were hit with a delay of game penalty prior to the first snap, Kinemond rolled out and rushed for a 52-yard gain to the W&J 28-yard line. Two plays later Kinemond hit junior tight end Dustin Hess (Upper St. Clair, Pa./Upper St. Clair) in the middle of the end zone to put the Green and White ahead 7-0 one minute into the contest.   

The Presidents’ answered back with an eight-play drive to even the score at 7-7 with 11:05 left in the first quarter.

After each team exchanged possessions, Kinemond drove the Bison into the red zone, but the drive stalled and forced a 23-yard Chris Ray (Henrico, Va./Mills E. Godwin) field goal to put Bethany ahead 10-7 entering the second quarter.

Washington & Jefferson took its first lead of the game with a quick five-play drive, setup by a 54-yard punt return, that ended with a 14-yard touchdown pass to take a 14-10 advantage with 9:26 to play in the first half.

Bethany did not relinquish the lead for long. Kinemond escaped the pocket for a 31-yard rush and then Ambush made an amazing one-handed catch on a 33-yard pass to setup a first and goal from the seven yard line. Holmes finished off the four-play drive with a touchdown rush, but a missed extra point left the game at 16-14 with 7:43 remaining in the second quarter.

Bethany pushed its lead to 22-14 with the help of its special teams. Freshman Terel Phillips (North Miami Beach, Fla./Westminster Academy) stripped the Presidents’ punt returner near midfield and Kinemond broke through for a 48-yard touchdown rush to put the Bison on top 22-14 with 1:52 left in the first half.

Washington & Jefferson struck for a touchdown 67 seconds later to trim the Bison lead to 22-20 (two-point try failed) with 55 seconds until halftime.

Bethany chose to not settle on its two-point lead nearing the break. Kinemond completed a pair of passes to put the ball at the Washington & Jefferson 42-yard line with five seconds on the clock. Kinemond rolled out to his right and heaved a Hail Mary into the end zone that was hauled in by 6-3 freshman wide receiver Blake Lipke (Leetsdale, Pa./Cornell), sending the Bethany faithful in attendance into a frenzy as the Bison took a 29-20 lead into halftime.

Washington & Jefferson answered back with a 72-yard touchdown pass by Coughlin to Zubik on the second play of the third quarter to cut the Bethany lead to two, 29-27, 44 seconds into the second half.

Each team traded possessions, before Kinemond found Ambush alone behind the secondary for a 44-yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 36-27 with 7:33 remaining in the game.

The touchdown pass would be the final score of the night for the Bison, as the Presidents’ defense held the Green & White scoreless for the final 22 minutes of the game.

Bethany finished the game with 301 yards rushing and 219 yards passing in the game to finish with 520 yards of total offense. The Green and White held the ball for over 32 minutes and finished 7-for-16 on third down.

Senior linebacker Donavan Hayden (Hyattsville, Md./Northwestern), the reigning PAC Defensive Player of the Week, led all players with 15 tackles (10 solo) and had 1.5 tackles for loss with a forced fumble.

Senior defensive back/punter Aaron Frye (Vandergrift, Pa./ Kiski Area) tallied 11 tackles (10 solo) and averaged 50.6 yards on seven punts with three inside the 20-yard line and a long of 57 yards.

Presidents’ wide receiver Jesse Zubik finished with a career-best and matched a school-record 235 yards receiving on seven catches with two touchdowns to lead Washington & Jefferson. Pete Coughlin ended the game completing 17-of-31 attempts for 320 yards and three touchdowns in the air.

The Bison have the next week off before it heads to Crestview Hills, Kentucky to take on No. 18 Thomas More on Saturday October 29 at 12 p.m.