BETHANY, W.Va. – Freshman QB Matt Grimard scored the go-ahead touchdown with 7:45 to play and the Bethany College defense stopped a drive inside their red zone to cement the Bison's 24-17 victory over Waynesburg Saturday in front of the Homecoming crowd at Bison Stadium.
Bethany (2-3, 1-1) used one very short drive and one long march for scores in the opening quarter to jump out to a 14-0 advantage. Junior WR Alex Evans returned the opening kickoff 68 yards to the Waynesburg 30 and three plays later, junior Eric Walker bolted into the end zone frpm nine yards out for a 7-0 BC lead.
Waynesburg (2-2, 2-1) was forced to punt on their first possession and the Bison started on their own 15. Grimard was 5-for-5 on the 88-yard drive for 49 yards, including completions of 16 yards to sophomore WR Ed Holmes and 12 yards to freshman WR Chris Collins to convert third down opportunities. On the 18th play of the drive, Walker bulled over from the two on fourth-and-goal to put the Bethany lead to 14-0.
The Yellow Jackets reached the end zone for the first time early in the second quarter. After a defensive stand and short punt gave the visitors the ball at the BC 48, they needed just three plays to score. Waynesburg's Bertrand Ngampa ran in from the two and the extra point was good to make it a 14-7 Bison lead, which is where the score stood at halftime.
The second half would see Waynesburg scores be answered immediately by the Bison. The Yellow Jackets used a 38-yard return on the second half kickoff by Troy Garove to establish good field position but stalled out after reaching the BC 18. That's when Waynesburg kicker Jon Storck booted a 35-yard field goal to trim the Green and White lead down to 14-10.
On the opening play of the ensuing drive, Grimard raced 34 yards into Waynesburg territory and Bethany was in business. The freshman signal caller later converted a third-and-17 with a 30-yard hook-up with sophomore WR C.J. Thomas to the Jacket 11. The Bison reached the WU three before being forced to try a 20-yard field goal, which freshman Robert Headden sent through the uprights for Bethany's first made field goal since the 2008 season finale to extend the lead back to 17-10.
Early in the fourth quarter, Waynesburg's Sean Hunt made a leaping interception to stop a Bison drive at the Jacket 30. The ensuing drive featured Waynesburg quarterback Brad Dawson hitting on all five pass attempts for 52 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown toss to TE Adam Moses with 10:49 remaining to draw the visitors even at 17-17.
Following a 30-yard return on the kickoff by BC sophomore Marcus D'Aguiar-Alexander, Bethany started on their own 40. The 60-yard drive was dominated by Grimard, who hit Holmes for three straight completions totaling 23 yards and later fired a six-yard pass to Thomas to give Bethany a first-and-goal at the Waynesburg five. Grimard kept it on the next play and took it into the end zone for the five-yard touchdown that gave the Bison a 24-17 lead.
Waynesburg mounted a serious threat to tie the game again with their next possession. Dawson fired three completions in a row that covered 35 yards and the Yellow Jackets had a first down at the Bison 21. Two runs gained five yards and an incomplete pass put WU in a fourth-and-five at the 16. On the next play, Dawson went play-action and tried to roll out to his left, but Bethany junior DE Kasib Taalib-Din made a huge play by sacking Dawson for nine-yard loss to give the ball back to the Bison.
In position to clinch the win with two first downs, Bethany
turned to their backfield combo of Grimard and Walker. Grimard
picked up one first down with consecutive seven-yard runs. That was
followed by a pair of three-yard gains by Walker sandwiched around
a three-yard run by Grimard to give the Bison a fourth-and-one at
their own 48. Head coach Tim Weaver sent the offense back out on
the field and Grimard sealed the victory with a two-yard
quarterback sneak to give Bethany their first PAC win of the season
and hand Waynesburg their initial conference defeat of the
Grimard posted impressive numbers for the Bison, as he recorded 256 of their 353 total yards in the contest. He had his string of consecutive 100-yard rushing games stopped at three, but still gained 83 yards and the winning touchdown on the ground. Through the air, he completed 17-of-22 for a career-high 173 yards and used six different receivers, including Thomas, Holmes and Collins with four catches apiece.
Walker was the leading ground gainer in the ball game, piling up 96 yards and the two scores on 26 carries. In the process, he surpassed Brandon Isbell (2,036) and Demrey Brandon (2,083) on the Bethany career rushing yards list and now has 2,098 yards in his two and half years in Green and White.
The Bison defense also had a stout game, as they limited the Yellow Jackets to 273 total yards and allowed the visitors to convert on just 2-of-11 third down situations. Freshman FS Jordan Joyce (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) sparked the effort with 11 tackles, while sophomore LB Willis Powell (Virginia Beach, Va./Landstown) was in on nine stops.
Bethany will be on the road for its next two contests, beginning next Saturday with a road trip to Westminster. Kickoff in New Wilmington is scheduled for 1 p.m.