Sophomore quarterback Heath Haden (Kingsport, Tenn.) and senior running back Monte Scotton(Cleveland, Tenn.) accounted for all six touchdowns as the Centre College football team opened the season with a 42-21 win over Bethany College Saturday, Sept. 1 in Bethany, W.V.
The two teams wasted little time putting points on the board as both offenses scored on their first possessions. Bethany went 80 yards on nine plays capped by a 13-yard rushing touchdown by Phil Acrie.
Centre answered with a four-play, 64-yard drive with Haden finding junior receiver Rob Mellilo(Louisville, Ky.) for a 49-yard scoring strike.
The Colonels took their first lead of the season early in the second quarter. This time Haden found senior receiver Jason Osterman (Monroe, Ohio) from 37 yards out to complete a six-play, 70-yard drive and give Centre a 14-7 lead.
Later in the half, the Bison evened the score again as quarterback Matt Grinard threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Eric Blinn to make it 14 all.
It appeared the teams would enter the half tied as the Colonels took over possession after the Bethany touchdown on their own 34-yard line with just 35 seconds left on the clock.
Haden rushed for eight yards and then again for 14 yards to the Bethany 44. Following a timeout, Haden then found Melillo for another long pass, this time for 40 yards to the Bison four-yard line. Two plays later Haden crossed the goal line to give Centre a 21-14 lead at the break.
Like the first half, the opening drive of the second half went for seven points, this time by the visiting Colonels. Facing a third and seven at the Centre 46-yard line, Haden found plenty of running room as he went for 51 yards to the Bethany three-yard line. Three plays later Scotton scored his first rushing touchdown of the season and the Colonels had a 28-14 lead.
Scotton also found the end zone later in the quarter as he finished off an eight-play, 33-yard drive, that began in Bison territory.
Bethany cut the lead to 35-21 in the fourth quarter as Grimard connected with Marcus D'Aguiar-Alexander for a 19-yard touchdown pass, but Scotton would score his third touchdown of the day on Centre's very next drive to seal the 42-21 victory.
The Colonels out-gained Bethany 452-248 in total offensive yards, including a 272-110 advantage in the running game.
Haden, starting in his first collegiate game, ran for a game-high 151 yards on 19 carries, while also completing 10 of 18 for 180 yards through the air.
Along with his three rushing touchdowns, Scotton rushed for 85 yards on 24 carries. Melillo caught five passes for 113 yards and Osterman finished with four catches for 60 yards.
The Centre defense tallied six tackles for loss, including four sacks on the day. Senior defensive back Thomas Kent (Cincinnati, Ohio) and junior linebacker Andrew Spitznagel (Cincinnati, Ohio) tallied seven tackles each. Senior Grant Poston (West Chester, Ohio) had three tackles, including two tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
Centre will return home Saturday, Sept. 8 to host the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in its home-opener. Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m. at Farris Stadium in Danville, Ky.