Saint Vincent scored the go-ahead touchdown with 9:33 to play and stopped the Bethany College football team's final drive with an interception in the end zone with 1:15 to play, as the Bearcats held on for a 20-14 victory over the Bison Saturday in Latrobe, Pa.
The score after the first quarter was tied at seven despite neither offense finding the end zone. Midway through the quarter and one play after a Saint Vincent punt, Bearcat linebacker David Riberio picked off a pass and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown to give the hosts a 7-0 lead.
The score didn't stand up for long, as the ensuing kickoff was taken by BC junior Ed Holmes and run back 82 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was good to knot the score at 7-7, which is where it stood through the second quarter and into halftime.
With five minutes left in the third quarter, the Bearcats (6-4, 5-3) went back on top thanks to two big plays. First came a 44-yard pass from Aaron Smetanka to Andre Rogers. On the next snap, SBC running back Huey Ehredt found paydirt on a 17-yard run to boost his team to a 14-7 advantage.
The Bison opened the fourth quarter down a touchdown and pinned back at their own 16 following a good Bearcat punt. Bethany found its way to midfield on a 27-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Matt Grimard to sophomore RB Nico Irizarry. Two plays later, Grimard connected with sophomore WR Daryl Powell on a 51-yard touchdown pass that drew BC even at 14-14 with 10:44 to play.
It would take just three plays for Saint Vincent to go back in front. After the kickoff, Ehredt broke off runs of 27, 19 and finally 13 yards for the touchdown and a 20-14 SVC margin. The extra point attempt failed, leaving the door open for a potential Bison win.
Bethany nearly took advantage of that opportunity on its final drive. Starting at its own 42, BC made it into the red zone with a 25-yard pass play from Grimard to junior WR Johnathan Foster. Three plays later, the Bison had a fourth-and-eight at the Bearcat 15 when Grimard lofted a pass into the end zone which was picked off by Dan Wirkowski with 1:15 to play. The Bearcats were able to run out the clock and secure not only its first win against Bethany in five games, but also its first six-win season since 1949.
For the third time this year, Bethany outgained its opposition in a losing effort. The Bison gained 313 total yards, while holding the Bearcats to just 222, with Ehredt accounting for 116 of those on the ground in 13 carries. Grimard threw for 195 yards for the Bison, but was picked off twice and sacked four times. Senior Eric Walker rushed for a team-high 58 yards and with 2,916, needs just 31 more to surpass Will Anderson (2,946) as the all-time leading rusher in Bethany history.
In addition to the kickoff return for a score, Holmes snared a game-high eight passes for 50 yards.
Leading the Bison's solid defensive effort was sophomore safety Jordan Joyce and junior linebacker Kyle Arrington with six tackles each and sophomore DE Prince Aguzie with four tackles, including 1.5 sacks.
Although the regular season is over for most teams, the Bison will get to strap up the helmets one more week. The Sept. 10 game at home against King's that was postponed due to heavy flooding around the Monarchs' campus in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., wil be made up next Saturday. Kickoff at Bison Stadium is scheduled for 1 p.m.