1999 Bluffton College Football Preview
Coach Carlin Carpenter starts his 21st season at BC with optimism that the Beavers can improve on their 5-5 overall record in 1998 and their 4-3 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference record that left them tied for third in the HCAC’s first season.
With nine starters back on offense much of that improvement will depend on finding replacements for five graduated defensive standouts. Gone from last year’s defense that ranked fourth in the HCAC in scoring and fifth overall are cornerbacks O.J. Blair and Tim DuBois, linebackers Dave Sheely and Dan Williams, and defensive tackle Dave Perkins. Blair and Perkins were both named Honorable Mention HCAC last season, while those seniors as a group combined for 381 tackles, four sacks and five interceptions.
Returning for the defense is first team HCAC linebacker Jeremy Arend and HCAC interceptions leader Jarret Smotrila. Both received HCAC player of the week honors in 1998. Arend led the Beavers in tackles with 109, recorded six tackles for loss and caused three fumbles. Smotrila marked up 52 tackles and his four interceptions all came in HCAC competition, ranking him first in the league and tied for third overall. Other defensive returning starters are defensive ends Greg Bruns (74 tackles, five sacks) and Domont Watkins (53 tackles, 5 sacks) and defensive back Shawn Goetz (65 tackles). Returning letterwinners expected to fill some of those holes include linebackers Greg Ditz (71 tackles) and Cliff Willoughby (55 tackles).
BC returns nine starters back on an offense that led the HCAC in rushing in 1998 and was ranked fourth in total offense. Back are first team HCAC selections Tyson Goings and Joel Parrett, who both received HCAC player of the week honors during the season, as well. Goings led the HCAC in rushing last season with 1,111 yards while Parrett was the highest rated passer in the HCAC with a 153.4 efficiency rating. Goings also accounted for nine touchdowns and those 54 points ranked him seventh in the HCAC. Parrett tossed 13 TD passes and carried the ball into the end zone eight times.
Graduated is Parrett’s favorite target from 1998, tight end Chad Cavender, who collected 669 yards and six TDs on 38 receptions. Returning receivers include Eric Metz, also BC’s record setting punt returner, who caught 33 passes for 532 yards and four TDs, and Jonothon Spradling who caught 20 passes for 257 yards and one TD. Joining Goings in the backfield will be returning fullback Paul Risner who rushed for 298 yards on just 53 carried last season and scored four TDs. Returning offensive linemen include center Clint Fox who missed the entire conference schedule in 1998 due to a broken leg, guards Rick Orr, Jason Wright, and Dan Voress, and Honorable Mention HCAC tackle Jeremy Poeppleman.