2000 BC Football PreviewBy Tim Stried, SID
July 26, 2000
Bluffton College football fans can pick from several different reasons to be excited about the 2000 season. It could be that the BC defense returns depth and eight starters, or it could be that the BC offense returns four starters on the offensive line to go with two-time Heartland Conference rushing champ Tyson Goings, or it could even be the fact that the Beavers play six games in Salzman Stadium. Put them all together, however, a chance to build on 1999's 7-3 season is definitely in the plans.
Defensively, BC returns more depth and speed than any season in recent years. Eight starters and many backups return in 2000 from a unit that forced 31 turnovers in 1999. Graduation took defensive back Jarret Smotrila (64 tackles in '99, 16 career interceptions) and outside linebacker Jeremy Arend (73 tackles), but returning starters include defensive linemen Greg Bruns, Rob Kitchen and Jeremy Parthemore, linebackers Greg Ditz and Cliff Willoughby and defensive backs Shawn Goetz, Jon Richardson, Ben Schwab and Jeff Company.
On offense, graduation took most of the BC passing game, including three-year starting quarterback Joel Parrett (2,354 yards, 18 TDs), four year starting wide receiver Eric Metz (62 rec. for 1,063 yards, 8 TDs) and tight end Evan Ward (34 rec. for 451 yards, 3 TDs). Returning, however, is senior running back Tyson Goings and four returning starters on the offensive line. Goings rushed for 1,116 yards in 1999 as he led the HCAC in rushing for the second straight year. He scored 106 points and also caught 41 passes for 297 yards.
On the offensive line, center Clint Fox, guard Rick Orr and tackles Jeremy Poeppleman and Dan Voress are all back. Taking the snaps for BC in 2000 will most likely be sophomore quarterback Brad Moore, who saw limited action behind Parrett in 1999. Junior Jon Spradling leads the returning wide receivers, as he caught six passes for 112 yards and a TD last season.
NAIA power Malone College invades Salzman Stadium in Bluffton's opener on September 2 for a tough early season test. BC will then host Hiram College and travel to Thiel College for non-league contests before using an off week to prepare for the 2000 Heartland Conference schedule.
Two opponents that handed Bluffton losses in 1999 do not appear on the 2000 schedule, as Wabash and Wilmington have departed for new leagues. Longtime BC rival Defiance College joins the Heartland Conference this season, and will host the Beavers in the last game of the season. The winner of the Heartland Conference gets an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs.