Twelve Bethany College football players earned their way onto All-Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) teams that were announced Monday following voting by the league coaches.
Earning First Team All-PAC distinction was junior quarterback Matt Grimard. Second Team laurels went to senior offensive lineman Doug Murray, senior wide receiver Ed Holmes, sophomore defensive back Wyssmy Despagne, sophomore punter Stephen Amic and senior returner Jeff Joyce.
Rounding out the teams were seven players on the Honorable Mention list. They included senior offensive linemen Nick Gore and Bryan Benzinger, senior wide receiver Johnathan Foster, freshman wide receiver Eric Blinn, senior defensive lineman Blake DeBord, senior linebacker Kyle Arrington and Joyce again as a defensive back.
This is the second time Grimard has earned All-PAC attention and initial First Team recognition. He led the PAC and set new Bethany single-season records in passing (2,605) and total (3,127) yards, completion percentage (62.1) and passing touchdowns (23). Grimard also set new Bethany single-season marks in completions (226) and attempts (364) and on the ground, he rushed for 522 yards and 10 touchdowns, the fifth-most TDs in the league.
With still a season left, Grimard has placed his name atop many statistical categories in the program's records books. This season, he broke Bethany career records for total offense with 8,184 yards, as well as passing yards (6,363), completions (523) and completion percentage (60.1). Grimard will enter his final season in Green White ranked second in TD passes (51), as well as second in rushing touchdowns (26) and seventh in rushing yards (1,821).
Murray, the Bison starter at left guard, makes his second appearance on All-PAC after he was a Second Team choice last season. He was joined by left tackle Benzinger and right tackle Gore on the All-PAC teams, the duos' first all-conference award. Together, the three linemen helped Bethany set new single-season records for scoring with 301 points and passing yards with 2,605.
In addition to those records, the Bison ranked second in the league in total offense (391.1), third down conversions (40.8) and red-zone conversion (78.6). Bethany surpassed 400 yards in a game three times, highlighted by a 521-yard outburst in a 42-36 overtime victory over Geneva on Homecoming.
Holmes' Second Team laurel gives him two straight all-league nods after he was an Honorable Mention choice last fall. This season, he led the PAC and set a new Bethany single-season record with 10 touchdown receptions. He also finished fourth with 51 receptions and fifth in the PAC with 575 yards. Counting his TD run against Westminster, Holmes' 11 scores this year put him fourth in the conference in scoring.
For his career, Holmes' 147 catches place him third all-time on the Bethany career receptions list, while his 1,679 receiving yards is sixth all-time. Also a solid kick returner, Holmes finished fourth in kickoff return yardage (1,093) and his 2,952 all-purpose yards was good for seventh place in BC history.
In his first year as a starter, Despagne established himself as one of the top cover corners in the PAC on his way to Second Team All-PAC status. His one interception came in overtime in the Homecoming victory over Geneva. Despagne defended a team-leading nine passes for the year and tied for fifth on the team in tackles with 39. He also blocked a pair of kicks during the season.
Amic enjoyed a strong season in his first full year as a punter, which netted him a Second Team All-PAC nod. He was named the PAC and ECAC Special Teams Player of the Week for Oct. 8 after hitting five punts inside the Geneva 20. Although he ranked fourth in the conference in average at 36.9 yards per punt, Amic dropped 17 boots inside the opponents' 20-yard line, second-most among league punters.
Joyce battled injuries throughout his senior year but still managed to gather in recognition as a return man and a defensive back. He averaged 14.4 yards over nine punt runbacks to gain Second Team distinction. As a cornerback, he made 30 tackles, broke up five passes, including a pair of interceptions, and forced and recovered a fumble, as he was Honorable Mention All-PAC. It's the second straight season Joyce was rewarded with all-conference awards for his play in the return game and in the secondary.
Foster's Honorable Mention All-PAC honor comes after he set a new Bethany single-season record and ranked second in the conference with 72 receptions. He was also second in the circuit with 591 receiving yards. After a fairly normal start to the year, Foster caught fire over the second half, catching at least eight passes in each of the final five games, including 10 in games against Waynesburg and at Westminster.
The big senior year lifted Foster's name among the all-time receivers in Bethany history. He finished with 139 career catches, fifth-most in BC history, for 1,356 yards, which ranks 11th in the team record books.
While Holmes and Foster were completing record-setting careers as Bison wideouts, Blinn's was just beginning. The first-year receiver caught 50 passes, the most ever by a BC freshman, and his 15.8 yards per reception was the best in the PAC. Blinn ranked second in the league with 790 receiving yards, third-highest total ever in a season by a Bethany player, and also snared six touchdowns.
DeBord was a three-year starter in the trenches on the defensive line and he was recognized for the first time in his career with All-PAC accolades. He forced a team-high two fumbles, ranked second on the Bison with six tackles for loss and totaled 44 stops during the campaign, which was fourth on the team and sixth among PAC defensive linemen. All of his numbers were career-highs and DeBord completed his Bison career with 108 total tackles, including 14 for loss.
Arrington capped his career as a four-time All-PAC selection with his fourth Honorable Mention award. He tied for third in the conference this season with a career-high 99 stops and also picked off two passes. Highlighting his year was a career-best 17 stops in the Geneva victory, one of four games this season and 15 in his career he had 10 or more hits in a contest.
Bolstered by his best season in Green and White, Arrington racked up 355 total tackles during his career. That surpassed the previous all-time high in Bethany history, which was held by Roger Fitzsimmons, who had 347 stops from 1990-93.