|Smith’s big day helps Bethel hold off Pikeville |
Bethel knew coming into Saturday’s contest with Pikeville that the Bears were going to be a challenge. Pikeville is a very athletic team but also very young. The teams have met three times and Bethel had never defeated the Bears until their Saturday meeting in McKenzie, winning 41-34.
End zone ahead — With former Dresden Lion Bruce Slusser (65) trailing after opening a hole for him to run through, Bethel College Wildcat Adrain Smith (center) heads for the end zone for one of his three touchdowns in a 41-34 win over Pikeville Saturday
Everyone became familiar with the Bears quarterback Dan Wideman right from the start. Wideman, a 6-3, 205-pound freshman, was recruited by Georgia Tech, Virginia and others but opted to play for his former high school coach, Mac Bryan, who is in his second year as Pikeville’s head coach. Wideman directed the Bears’ opening possession with a five-play, 56-yard touchdown drive finishing it off himself with a 32-yard scamper.
The Bears’ lead was short-lived as Bethel responded with a seven-play, 84-yard drive that ended with a Ronnie Jankovich to tight end Buck Reed 12-yard touchdown pass to knot the score at 7-7. Bethel’s defense settled in and stopped the Bears on their next two possessions, and the Wildcats started their third offensive series from their own 27. The Cats series was short-lived as running back Adrain Smith got loose and broke away for a 73-yard touchdown run and a 14-7 Bethel lead. As would be the case for most of the afternoon, Pikeville responded and hung close. On the ensuing kickoff, the Bears’ Antwan Surrat returned it for a 91-yard touchdown as the first quarter expired.
Bethel picked up right where they left off to begin the second quarter. The Wildcats’ running attack was on the move as Terrance Bell, Ricky Currie and Smith all got into the act. Seven plays and 65 yards later, Smith scored his second touchdown on the day. The PAT failed and Bethel led 20-14. After both defenses held, Pikeville on the arm and legs of Wideman drove 65 yards on seven plays to tie the score at 20-20.
Bethel again answered with a six-play, 50-yard march that ended with Bell punching it in from the six and Bethel retook the lead 27-20. Pikeville managed to get to the 50-yard line before time expired.
The Wildcats could not get the offense going to start the third quarter and Pikeville took advantage of good field position starting at the Bethel 41-yard line. Again Wideman got the job done directing the Bears to a six-play, 41-yard drive that resulted in a Wideman to Surratt touchdown pass and the score was tied again at 27-27.
Pikeville tried to sneak up on the Wildcats as they attempted an on-sides kick that was recovered by Wildcat Banarvon Taylor. But, Bethel had excellent field position at the Pikeville 47-yard line. On the second play, Jankovich hit Antonio Brown, Sr. over the middle. Brown broke several tackles on his way to a 44-yard touchdown. The Cats defense held and Bethel was on the move again. They got it to the Pikeville 14 before attempting a field goal by Shane Normandin that sailed wide.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Bethel forced Pikeville to punt and Brown returned it 29 yards to the Pikeville 14. With a short field to work with, it only took the Wildcats two plays and 45 seconds to score. Smith found paydirt with his third touchdown of the day and Bethel extended the score to its largest margin of the afternoon, 41-27.
But, Pikeville wasn’t going away easily. After a couple of defensive holds, Pikeville scored on an 83-yard, eight-play drive as Wideman scored from the four-yard line to make the score 41-34. That’s how the scoring would end up as the Wildcats steadily ran the ball well, effectively running out the clock.
Offensively, the Wildcats gained 519 yards of total offense. Smith had 200 yards on 18 carries (11.1/avg.) and scored three touchdowns. Bell followed with 84 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown. Currie had a good afternoon from the fullback spot with 51 yards on three carries.
Jankovich was 11-of-17 for 169 yards and two touchdowns on the afternoon.
On the receiving end, Brown had three catches for 86 yards and a score. Rashad Daniels had four grabs for 40 yards. Buck Reed had one catch for 12 yards and a score.
Defensively, the Cats were led by linebacker Markee Robinson with 13 total tackles including two for losses of six yards. Justin Cobb followed with 12 tackles and one for loss. Chancey DePriest made seven tackles.
The fifth-ranked Wildcats have won their last four games and are 5-1 (3-0, 1-0) on the season. The Cats will be on the road this weekend in Montgomery, W. Va. to play the West Virginia Tech Golden Bears. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m.
Weakley County Press Oct. 9, 2007