Nov. 14 – Latrobe, Pa. – The Bethany College football team earned their third-straight victory, defeating Saint Vincent College, 35-27, on Saturday afternoon. The Bison scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to defeat the Bearcats and become ECAC Bowl eligible for the second-straight season.
The Bearcats got on the board first, scoring on a fake field goal attempt to take a 7-0 lead. The Bison fell behind by 13 after the Saint Vincent defense returned an interception for a touchdown on the next drive.
Bethany, however, roared right back for a quick score. Quarterback Lincon Reyes (Gaithersburg, Md./Gaithersburg) found Eric Blinn (Beaver, Pa./Western Beaver) for a 50-yard touchdown on the third play of the drive to cut the lead to 13-7 at the 10:58 mark of the second quarter.
The St. Vincent offense managed to add seven more points later in the quarter, taking a 20-7 lead. One again though, Bethany rallied to cut the deficit to six as Reyes completed a 14-yard pass to Dustin Hess (Upper St. Clair, Pa./Upper St. Clair). The sophomore tight end’s first-career touchdown reception cut the hosts lead to 20-14 at the halftime break.
In the third quarter, the Bearcats added to their lead with a one-yard touchdown run by Shavonte Craft to make the score 27-14 with 1:05 left in the frame. That, however, would be the last time Saint Vincent would find the end zone.
Bethany quickly drove the ball back downfield, scoring on the first play of the fourth quarter. Reyes found Blinn in the end zone on a three-yard pitch-and-catch, cutting into the Bearcats’ lead, 27-21.
The Bison defense came up with a big stop later in the fourth, recovering a fumble on the Bearcats’ 38-yard line. Senior Larry Kpadehyea (Monrovia, Md./Gaithersburg) made the play, stripping Jhnard Dorset of the ball and recovering the fumble.
Following the turnover, the Bison took their first lead of the ball game. The Green & White needed a seven-play drive to punch the ball into for six. For the third time, Reyes hit an open Blinn to take a 28-27 advantage with 6:40 remaining in the game.
Bethany ‘s defense then took over the game. The Green & White forced a Saint Vincent punt on the next possession, and then took the ball back on a turnover on downs with 3:43 to go in the fourth.
Junior running back Jalen Holmes (New Castle, Pa./New Castle) extended the Bison lead to 35-27 with an uncontested four-yard touchdown with 1:37 left. The touchdown marked the ninth game in a row in which Holmes had found pay dirt. The Bearcats had one final opportunity to tie the game, getting the ball back with 1:26 to play in the game. Saint Vincent drove down the field and despite, fumbling the ball twice, had a chance at the end zone on a “hail Mary” play from Bethany’s 46.
In what proved to be his final catch in his regular season Bison career, Eric Blinn came down with the football in the end zone, posting the interception to seal the win for the Green & White.
Offensively, Blinn and Reyes were in synch all day as the senior wideout tallied 10 catches for 128 yards and three touchdowns. In his only two games at Chuck Noll field in Latrobe, Blinn has now totaled seven touchdown receptions (scored four times in 2013).
Reyes finished his last collegiate regular season game with 14 completions for 186 yards and four touchdowns. With the touchdown mark, Reyes shattered the single-season passing touchdowns record previous held by Matt Grimard. Reyes now has thrown 24 TD passes this season, more than any other QB in school history.
Holmes led the Bethany ground game, posting 84 yards and a touchdown. The totals pushed his regular-season numbers to 1,353 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns, both of which are program records.
Defensively, Donovan Hayden (Hyattsville, Md./Northwestern) dominated throughout the contest. The junior tallied 16 tackles, including 13 solo, giving him 109 total tackles on the season.
Hayden’s tackle total marks the 10th time in Bison history that a player has eclipsed the 100-tackle mark on a season. He also becomes just the third Bison in history to post multiple 100-tackle campaigns (Dan Rovira and Roger Fitzsimmons). Hayden joins Rovira as the only players to accomplish the feat in back-to-back years.
Defensive end Nadim Raddar (Laurel, Md./Old Mill) also had himself a game, living in Saint Vincent’s backfield. The senior tallied 3.0 sacks in the contest, giving him 8.5 sacks over the team’s last four games.
Bethany ends the regular season with a 5-5 record, including 4-4 in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference. With the .500 mark, the Bison have given themselves a chance to be invited to play in an ECAC bowl game for the second-straight season. The ECAC will extend invitations for their bowl games early next week.