Beavers fall to Quakers 31-28, end season 7-3
By Tim Stried, SID
November 14, 1999Check out the statistics.
Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis weren't the only two ranked heavyweights doing battle on November 13, as two powerful NCAA Division III teams held their own battle in Williams Stadium Saturday on the campus of Wilmington College with national playoff implications on the line.
And as expected, neither team could land the knockout punch. Unfortunately for Bluffton College, however, it was the Quakers who landed more blows and came out on top by the final score of 31-28. It wouldn't be enough for Wilmington to make the playoffs, though, as their season is over despite a 9-1 overall record and a 6-1 mark in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Bluffton ends their season at 7-3 overall and 4-3 in the HCAC, good for a fourth place finish in the conference that will be represented by Hanover College in the playoffs, as the Panthers will host Ohio Northern University (9-1) this Saturday in NCAA first round action.
The deciding blow for Wilmington came from the foot of kicker Art Steele, who kicked a 32 yard field goal with 6:36 left in the game to give the Quakers the lead for good and their school record ninth win of the season. Bluffton would mount a furious comeback at the end of the game, but it wouldn't be enough as Head Coach Carlin Carpenter will have to wait until Y2K to take over the lead on the BC all-time wins list.
There will be no "next year" for nine BC seniors, however, and despite the loss Saturday they can take pride in their efforts that turned the BC football program into winners from a 2-8 record their freshman season and 4-6 and 5-5 records the past two seasons. The 1999 Beavers finished with the school's best record since 1987 when BC finished 10-1 and went two rounds deep in the NAIA National Playoffs.
Several of those seniors will be now fall under the category of "BC Football Legends." Wide receiver Eric Metz caught eight passes Saturday for 130 yards and two touchdowns and became the first player in BC history to break the 1,000 yard barrier. He finished the season with 62 catches for 1,063 yards and eight touchdowns, all Bluffton records, as are his 163 career receptions for 2,617 yards.
Senior quarterback Joel Parrett passed for 204 yards and three touchdowns Saturday and ended the year with single-season school records for total offense (2,562), passing yards (2,354), touchdown passes (18) and completions (179). Joel also owns career records in completion percentage (.651), touchdown passes (43) and passing efficiency rating (154.09).
Defensive back Jarret Smotrila picked of a Wilmington pass Saturday, his sixth of the season, and returned it 33 yards, giving him 128 return yards in his senior season, a new BC record. His 16 career picks are tied for second and his 284 career return yards are a new BC record.
The Quaker defense, which finished the season ranked first in the HCAC in rushing defense, passing defense, total defense and scoring defense, proved their rankings to be true as they held BC to 106 yards rushing on the day. In fact, at first glance at the statistics from Saturday one would swear that the team names were over the wrong numbers.
Wilmington ran the football a Bluffton-like 48 times for 253 yards, both season highs for the Quakers, and threw the football just 25 times. Bluffton, on the other hand, threw a Wilmington-like 39 passes and saw junior running back Tyson Goings rush for just 47 yards on the afternoon. Goings finished the season with 1,116 yards on the ground and is now fifth on the BC career rushing list.
Perhaps one of the other key statistics of the game was Bluffton's performance on third down. The Beavers were just 1-16 in the game on third down and punted the football eight times.
The two teams traded touchdowns the entire game until Wilmington's game winning field goal. BC's two first-half touchdowns were thrown by Parrett, one on a three yard hookup to senior fullback Paul Risner and the other on a 22 yard strike to Metz. Freshman Adam Burgess made each of his four extra point kicks in the game.
The scoring would look very similar in the second half, as Metz caught a Parrett pass over the middle and raced into the endzone for a 32 yard score with 4:52 left in the third quarter. Risner, who led Bluffton with 73 yards rushing, scored the last BC touchdown on a two-yard plunge with 14:03 remaining in the fourth quarter. Risner finished the season with 402 yards on the ground and six TDs to go with 23 catches for 249 yards a pair of scores.
Smotrila's interception came in the second quarter, while sophomore defensive back Ben Schwab recovered a fumble in the second quarter and picked off a Quaker pass in the fourth quarter. Senior linebacker Jeremy Arend and junior defensive end Greg Bruns each recorded nine tackles to lead BC, while Bruns also recorded a quarterback sack. Smotrila, Schwab, senior Shawn Goetz and junior Cliff Willoughby all had six tackles each.
Seniors playing in their final game for Bluffton College were Jeremy Arend, Nate Colatruglio, Eric Metz, Joel Parrett, Paul Risner, Jarret Smotrila, Tony Vasko, Evan Ward and Jason Wright. Seniors Clint Fox and Shawn Goetz have indicated they will likely return next season.