ASHLAND, Va. - Junior quarterback Matt Grimard accounted for 363 total yards and had a hand in four touchdowns, but the Bethany College football team came up on the short end of a 49-33 shootout at Randolph-Macon on Saturday.
The Bison (0-2) opened the game with a 44-yard pass from Grimard to Ed Holmes on the first play from scrimmage. Following a big third down conversion pass to Johnathan Foster, the Bison struck first on a 12-yard scoring run by D.J. LeSane for a 7-0 lead.
The Yellow Jackets (2-1) running attack, which ran for 281 yards in the game, went to work on the home team's second drive. They gained 59 of 61 yards on a scoring drive that was capped by a 1-yard plunge into the end zone by RB Drake Sanders. R-MC did not convert the two-point conversion and Bethany held a 7-6 lead into the second quarter.
Randolph-Macon opened the second period with a quick scoring drive. A 41-yard screen pass to Will McGhee was the big play of the 66-yard drive, which culminated with McGhee's one-yard scoring run. The two-point conversion was successful, as quarterback Zac Naccarato hit Dan Crouch to make it a 14-7 lead. Then two plays into Bethany's next drive, Grimard was intercepted and the Jackets were at the Bison 13. On the next play, Naccarato tossed a touchdown pass to Vance Hendren and the Randolph-Macon lead grew to 21-7.
The points came fast and furious in the second quarter. Bethany answered quickly, as Grimard broke off a 46-yard run deep into R-M territory. Two plays later, the Bison signal caller ran to paydirt from five yards out and it was a 21-14 score.
Both teams would put TDs on the board in the final two minutes before halftime. The Jackets' score came on a two-yard scoring pass from Naccarato to TE Zach Midulla with 1:53 left. Bethany then moved 70 yards in 12 plays, with Phil Acrie providing two big plays, one coming on a 17-yard carry and the other being a two-yard run on fourth-and-two. Then on third-and-10, Grimard tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Holmes and although the extra point was blocked, it was a 28-20 Bison deficit at halftime.
The quick scores continued into the third quarter. Bethany forced an R-MC punt on their first drive, but a fumble on the Bison's first play gave the Jackets possession on the Bethany 18. The Green and White defense would force the home team into a fourth-and-goal at the one, but Naccarato snuck into the end zone to make it 35-20.
Bethany stormed back for an answering score. Grimard fired a 45-yard pass to Eric Blinn as part of a four-play, 67-yard drive and Grimard posted his second TD of the day with a four-yard carry. But Randolph-Macon had a fast response, as four carries from McGhee netted 31 yards and then a TD pass.
play-action pass led to a 44-yard touchdown completion from Naccarato to Luke Sellers that took the Jackets' lead to 42-27 through three quarters.
The Jackets put their final touchdown on the board midway through the fourth quarter when Naccarato flipped a nine-yard TD pass to TE Dan Crouch. Bethany scored the final TD of the day when Grimard ran in for his third touchdown of the game, a 16-yard carry with five minutes to play. When the final second ticked off the clock, the teams had combined for 82 points and 960 total yards.
Grimard was productive on the ground and through the air. He rushed 18 times for 124 yards and three TDs, his highest rushing output since posting 172 in the 2010 season finale against Saint Vincent. In addition, he was 14-for-28 through the air for 239 yards and the one TD and in the process, became just the fourth Bison quarterback in school history to surpass 4,000 career yards (4,135).
The top receiver for Bethany was Foster, who hauled in eight passes for 96 yards. On the defensive side, senior safety Simeon Young (Washington, D.C./McKinley Tech) had his second straight double-digit tackle game, making 13 stops, including 11 solos. Senior DT Blake DeBord (Martinsburg, W.Va.) also had a nice game, registering seven solo tackles, including one for loss, and recovering a fumble.