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Bison fourth quarter rally tops Saint Vincent on Senior Day, 32-31

Box Score

Nov. 12 – BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College football team scored 19-unanswered points in the fourth quarter to rally for a 32-31 win over Saint Vincent Saturday afternoon on Senior Day at Bison Stadium.

The Bison end the 2016 season at 3-7 overall, 2-6 in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC). Meanwhile, the Bearcats are denied their first winning-season since the program’s inception in 2007 and fall to 5-5 overall, 3-5 in the PAC.

Saint Vincent led 31-13 entering the fourth quarter, when senior running back Jalen Holmes (New Castle, Pa./New Castle) crossed the pylon from three yards out to trim the Bison deficit to 31-19 (two-point try failed) 29 seconds into the final quarter.

On the second play of the Bearcats next drive, quarterback Derek Stewart rolled to his right and threw a pass that freshman linebacker Anthony Fiasco (Harrison City, Pa./Penn-Trafford) leaped up and intercepted at midfield.

Two plays later, junior quarterback Chase Kinemond (Shadyside, Ohio/Shadyside) heaved a 37-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Tyler Ambush (Germantown, Md./Northwest) to cut the Saint Vincent lead to five, 31-26, with 12:32 remaining in the game.

The Bearcats moved the ball into Bethany territory on the ensuing drive. On a third-down play, freshman defensive end Charles Blango (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mount Lebanon) got to Stewart and forced a fumble that bounced out of the hands of a Saint Vincent lineman and was recovered by the Bison near midfield.

Bethany only managed two yards on the next two plays, when Kinemond connected with Ambush for 20 yards on a third down conversion. Holmes gave the Green & White its first lead of the day four plays later when he punched the ball in from 17 yards out to put the Bison ahead 32-31 with 6:11 left on the clock (two-point try failed).

Each team traded possessions, when Saint Vincent took over at its own 20-yard line with 2:53 remaining in the game. After moving the ball to its own 46-yard line, Stewart threw a fourth down pass deep into Bethany territory that was intercepted by senior safety Aaron Frye (Vandergrift, Pa./Kiski Area), sealing the largest come-from-behind win by Bethany since 2006.

Holmes led the team with 120 yards on 19 rushes and two touchdowns. He ends his Bison career fourth all-time in school history with 2,701 rushing yards and third all-time with 24 rushing touchdowns.

Kinemond ended the day 11-for-22 for 203 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He ends the season with 20 touchdown passes, which is the fourth-highest single-season total in Bethany history.

Ambush wrapped up his prolific career with three catches for 72 yards and one touchdown. The Maryland native leaves the program tied for fourth all-time with 158 receptions, third all-time with 2,262 receiving yards and tied for third in school history with 17 touchdown catches.

Defensively, senior linebacker Donavan Hayden (Hyattsville, Md./Northwest) collected a game-high 16 tackles (nine solo) to become the school’s all-time leader with 360 career tackles. He added 4.5 tackles for loss, including a sack, in his final game in a Bethany uniform.

Saint Vincent opened the game with a pair of drives deep into Bethany territory that resulted in zero points. The Bearcats failed to convert a fourth down from the Bison 35-yard line and Stewart was intercepted at the nine-yard line to end the second threat and keep the game scoreless in the opening period.

Saint Vincent scored the first points of the game on a 51-yard catch-and-run from Stewart to DJ Oceant-Kelly to take a 7-0 lead with 13:15 left until halftime. The Bearcats pushed their lead to 14-0 following a Kinemond interception with Stewart’s second touchdown pass of the game with 9:56 remaining in the second quarter.

The Bearcats tried to extend its lead once more in the final two minutes of the first half, but missed a 39-yard field goal attempt. Bethany took the ball and, largely thanks to a 20-yard Holmes rush, were setup at the Saint Vincent 42-yard line with one second left on the clock. Kinemond heaved the ball into the endzone, where a Bearcat defender deflected the ball right into the hands of junior wide receiver Terry Linyard (Jersey City, N.J./Lincoln) who crossed the goal line to help the Bison head into the locker rooms trailing 14-7.

The second half featured three touchdowns in the first eight minutes. Saint Vincent rebuilt its lead to 21-7 on a wild 28-yard touchdown catch by Oceant-Kelly. Fiasco appeared to intercept the ball, but Oceant-Kelly pried the pigskin away and dashed into the endzone for the score with 11:55 remaining in the third quarter.

Bethany answered right back when Kinemond found freshman tight end Aronis Espinal (Oceanside, N.Y./Oceanside) for a 32-yard touchdown to trim the Bearcat lead to 21-13 (PAT no good) with 8:43 left in the third period.

Once again, Saint Vincent converted a big-play, as Stewart found Dalton Dietrich for a 40-yard touchdown pass three plays into the ensuing possession to put Saint Vincent ahead 28-13 with 7:19 on the clock in the third quarter. The Bearcats added a field goal with 1:01 left in the period to take a 31-13 lead into the fourth quarter.

Stewart ended the day 30-for-42 for 369 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. Oceant-Kelly was his top target, finishing with seven catches for 155 yards and two scores.

Bethany defensively held the Bearcats to 44 yards rushing on 34 attempts (1.3 ypc.) and forced four turnovers. The Bison got to the quarterback four times in the game, led by sophomore defensive end Nate Daniels (Crooksville, Ohio/Crooksville) who finished with two sacks and three tackles for loss.

Saint Vincent held a 413-to-370 edge in total offense and an over six-minute edge in time of possession.

The officials were active in the contest. Saint Vincent was flagged 14 times for 157 yards, while the Bison were called for 11 penalties for 106 yards.

The 19-point come-from-behind victory is the largest comeback by a Bethany team in the last 10 years. The Bison rallied from down 21-0 at Ohio Wesleyan on September 16, 2006. The victory is also the second-straight year in which the Green & White rallied past Saint Vincent in the fourth quarter. The Bison scored 21-straight points in the fourth quarter to defeat the Bearcats 35-27 in last season’s finale in Latrobe.