BETHANY - The Bethany College football team looked ready to go into halftime tied with Centre (Ky.) College, but the Colonels scored with two seconds on the clock and posted 28 of the final 35 points scored in the contest to claim a 42-21 victory Saturday at Bison Stadium.
Bethany put the first points on the board with an impressive opening drive. Moving 75 yards in nine plays, the march was capped by a 13-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back and Linsly great Phil Acrie.
The Colonels answer was just as striking, as they needed just four plays to cover 64 yards and the game was tied when quarterback Heath Haden tossed a 49-yard scoring pass to Rob Melillo.
Centre took its first lead of the game early in the second quarter with another long scoring pass. Facing a third-and-eight, Haden rifled a 37-yard TD pass to Jason Osterman for a 14-7 Centre advantage. Late in the quarter, Bethany appeared to grab the momentum before intermission. Highlighted by a 25-yard pass from junior quarterback Matt Grimard to Johnathan Foster, the Bison marched 65 yards in nine plays and drew even when Grimard flipped a six-yard scoring pass to Eric Blinn with 40 seconds to go before halftime.
Then came the key series of the game that changed momentum. After Haden opened the next drive with runs for eight and 14 yards, he hit Melillo for a 40-yard pass down inside the Bethany five. After one run gained no yards, Haden's second-effort on a run over the left side of the line carried him into the end zone with only two seconds showing and Centre carried a 21-14 lead into the locker room.
The Colonels seized control with a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter. On the opening drive of the half, the visitors moved 78 yards in seven plays, sparked by a 51-yard run by Haden. The score jumped to 28-14 when Monte Scotten went in from a yard out. Two possessions later, Centre took advantage of a short field, completing a 33-yard drive with a two-run TD run by Scotten and the Colonels were in front 35-14.
Bethany's best drive of the second half came early in the fourth, as Grimard was 4-for-4 for 58 yards and he finished an 80-yard drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Marcus D'Aguiar-Alexander. But hopes of a Bison comeback ended with Centre's next drive, an 11-play march that took more than six minutes off the clock. Scotton finished his nice day with a 5-yard TD scamper and the final margin was set at 42-21.
Grimard led the Bison offense with 138 passing yards and the two scores. In his first start, Acrie gained a team-leading 47 yards and scored his first collegiate touchdown.
Foster grabbed five passes, while senior Ed Holmes (Virginia Beach, Va./Landstown) snared four balls, including the 100th of his career. He is just the eighth player in Bison history to reach 100 career receptions.
For the Bethany defense, senior safety Simeon Young (Washington, D.C./McKinley Tech) made a career-high 12 tackles and junior linebacker Kyle Arrington (Jackson Twp., Ohio/Jackson) was in on eight stops.
For the Colonels, Haden made his first collegiate start a memorable one. He threw for 180 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 151 of Centre's 272 yards on the ground. Scotton gained 85 to go with his three touchdowns, while Melillo led all receivers with five catches for 113 yards.