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WALKER TIES RECORD BUT BISON LOSE AT GENEVA

Oct. 31 - BEAVER FALLS, Pa. – Sophomore Eric Walker (New Brighton, Pa.) tied a school-record with his 10th rushing touchdown of the season, but the Bethany football team could not overcome 33 second-quarter points by Geneva in a 54-21 Golden Tornado victory Saturday.

The Golden Tornadoes (7-1) found the end zone on their opening drive of the game when Matt Barge scored on a three-yard run for a 7-0 lead. The teams spent the rest of the quarter swapping turnovers. Bison senior SS Nelson Mitzen (Waynesburg, Pa./Waynesburg Central) stopped the next GT drive with an interception at the BC 30. Geneva answered by picking off a pass to stop Bethany’s possession, but on the next play, freshman DE Robert Baker (Colquitt, Ga./Miller County) forced and recovered a fumble at the Geneva 46.

Bethany appeared to get in the end zone for the first late in the quarter when junior QB Dan Pegg (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) hit freshman WR Marcus D’Aguiar (Waldorf, Md./Frederick Douglas) for a seven-yard scoring pass. But the play was called back because of a penalty on the Bison and the threat ended when BC was stopped on fourth and goal at the six.

The teams exchanged interceptions on successive plays early in the second quarter, but the rest of the period belonged to Geneva. Barge scored his second touchdown of the game with a 25-yard scoring reception from QB David Gerardi to double the hosts’ lead to 14-0. Bethany would drive to the GT 20 before turning the ball over on downs and Geneva would score again when Matt Dean broke off a 62-yard scoring run to extend the lead to 20-0 after a missed extra point.

The big plays continued to go against Bethany on their next drive. After going three-and-out, the Bison punt was grabbed by Geneva’s Jake Delmonico at the seven and run back 93 yards for a score. The next possession for Bethany ended with a fumble and eight plays later, Barge struck paydirt for the third time, rushing 11 yards to balloon the margin to 34-0. The final blow of the first half came on the last play before intermission, as Geneva’s Soloman Hejirika stepped in front of a Pegg pass on the sideline and raced 48 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was missed, but it was still a 40-0 GT cushion at halftime.

The opening two drives of the third quarter resulted in more points for Geneva. Dean bulled in from the one on the opening drive of the half and Gerard Muschette, the PAC’s leading rusher, raced 77 yards for the final GT score of the day to make it 54-0.

All of the Bison points were scored in the fourth quarter. On the second play of the period, Pegg connected with freshman WR Ed Holmes (Virginia Beach, Va./Landstown) for a 50-yard scoring pass, the first TD of Holmes’ collegiate career. Geneva was forced to punt on their next possession and senior WR Matt Cruse (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier) burst up the middle to block the kick. D’Aguiar scooped up the loose ball and scampered 33 yards for the second score of the day.

On the Bison’s last drive, they drove 97 yards in nine plays for the final score of the day. The march was highlighted by a 32-yard run by Walker and a 30-yard pass play from Pegg to Holmes. After reaching the one, Walker carried it into the end zone for his 10th rushing touchdown of the season. That ties the previous record originally set by Will Anderson in 2002 and equaled by Walker last year in his freshman campaign. It also gives Walker 14 total TDs this season, one off the school record of 15 set by Anderson in 2002.

The Bethany offense finished with 351 yards for the day, with 300 coming through the air, as Pegg completed 26-of-48 and also tossed the one TD. Walker was limited to 65 yards rushing in the setback. Holmes was the top receiver, as he grabbed five passes for 97 yards and his score. Cruse caught five passes in the game as well, giving him 169 for his career and leaving him seven away from breaking T.J. Parker’s all-time Bethany record of 175 receptions.

For the Green and White defensively, freshman LB Kyle Arrington (Jackson Twp., Ohio/Jackson) made eight tackles, while Mitzen and senior CB Michael Salters (McKees Rocks, Pa./Sto-Rox) each had five stops and one interception.

Bethany will return home for their final game at Bison Stadium next Saturday. They will host #8 Washington & Jefferson, who is coming off a 14-7 loss to Thomas More Saturday, which gave the Saints their second straight PAC championship. The Presidents (7-1, 3-1) will need a win in their final two games to keep their hopes for an at-large bid to the NCAA playoffs alive. Kickoff next Saturday is scheduled for 1 p.m.