Bluffton preps for hungry Hiram squad

By Tim Stried, SID
September 5, 2000

Two inspired teams will enter Salzman Stadium Saturday, as the Bluffton College Beavers and the Hiram College Terriers aim to erase some bad memories.

For Bluffton, those memories are of last week's 42-28 loss to Malone College. BC battled back from a 21-0 deficit to forge a 28-28 tie in the fourth quarter. However, Malone scored two touchdowns late in the game to take the victory and hand Bluffton a loss in the 2000 season's opening game.

For Hiram, those memories are of the entire 1999 season, which saw the Terriers lose all 10 of their football games and 22 players to season-ending injuries. Those ten losses included a 47-26 loss to Bluffton in Hiram on Sept. 11.

With those injuries, however, several young Hiram players saw significant playing time last season, which makes Terrier Head Coach Bob Thomas optimistic about his 2000 team. Key returners for Coach Thomas include senior running back Kris Giebel, senior linebacker Matt Stiner and junior quarterback Dwayne Pavkovich. Giebel and Pavkovich have led Hiram in rushing and passing, respectively, each of the past three seasons, while Stiner led the linebacking corps with 62 tackles and was named the OAC Player of the Week when he totalled 16 tackles against John Carroll University on Nov. 13.

Bluffton can point to several positives that came out of last week's loss to Malone. Most importantly, the fact that BC was down 21-0 and came back to tie the game in the fourth quarter shows that the Beavers won't quit. Also, the offense racked up 419 yards, including 203 through the air from sophomore quarterback Brad Moore, who completed 18 of 29 passes without an interception in his first collegiate start. Senior kicker Brandon Cupples also had a good day, converting all four PAT kicks.

In 1998, Hiram visited Salzman Stadium and came away with a 39-24 victory as Pavkovich completed 19 of 39 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns. Bluffton's Tyson Goings rushed for 223 yards in that game, but was held out of the end zone.

Saturday is National Take a Kid to the Game Day, with all kids under the age of 14 admitted free when accompanied by an adult. See page 49 in today's program for more details