BC set to open at Bethany
Bluffton College will look to start off the 1999 season on the right foot Saturday, and that first step will take the Beavers to Bethany, West Virginia for a 1:30 match up with the Bison of Bethany College. The two teams squared off in last season's lid lifter in Salzman Stadium with Bluffton taking a 31-7 victory.
Bethany went on to finish the 1998 season with a 2-8 overall record and 1-3 mark in the Presidents Athletic Conference. Back for the Bison is quarterback Justin Deem, who in nine games last season completed 100 of 210 passes for 1297 yards, nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions. In last season's game Deem was 10 of 19 for 91 yards with no TDs or interceptions.
Perhaps the biggest loss for Bethany will be tailback Tim Caldwell, whose two 1000 yard seasons in 1997 and 1998 are the only two 1000 yard rushing seasons in Bethany history. He ran for 52 yards on 16 carries last season against the Beavers and scored Bethany's lone touchdown. Looking to fill Caldwell's shoes will be pound freshman tailback Brandon Isbell.
J.D Basile is the top returning receiver for Bethany, who caught 17 passes for 254 yards last season. The Bison averaged 290 yards of offense per game in 1998, and return four starters on the offensive line for 1999.
Bluffton will look to a nucleus of returning veterans to lead them into action at Bethany. Back are first-team All-HCAC selections Joel Parrett at quarterback, Tyson Goings at tailback and Jeremy Arend at linebacker. Parrett lead the HCAC in pass efficiency last season while Goings also led the HCAC in rushing. Arend recorded a team high 109 tackles with six tackles for loss, 1 quarterback sack and three caused fumbles. Honorable mention All-HCAC selections back for the Beavers include offensive tackle Jeremy Poeppleman and defensive back Jarret Smotrila. Poeppleman helped open holes for the BC running game which led the conference in rushing in 1998, while Smotrila's four interceptions all occurred in league games, ranking him first in the HCAC in that category.
The Bluffton defense is talented but inexperienced, as six of the 11 starters will be starting their first college football game this Saturday at Bethany. BC will also be looking to find a kicker for 1999, as last season's starter Brandon Cupples will miss this season due to an off-season leg injury.
See the Bluffton two-deep list for probable starters.