Down 21-0 at halftime, Reinhardt (2-2) mounted a massive comeback and even took a brief late lead in the 34-33 road loss to Bethel (3-1). The Eagles outscored the Wildcats 33-13 in the second half, but it still was not quite enough.
The Reinhardt offense was stifled in the first half. It was unable to crack the scoreboard, and on their first drive of the game, the Eagles turned the ball over on downs. Their next five consecutive drives resulted in punts.
Despite Bethel scoring a touchdown on its first drive of the second half, Reinhardt flipped a switch on offense. Five of the first six second-half drives for the Eagles ended in touchdowns, all starting with an eight-yard scoring run by emerging running back Devyn Collins.
Quarterback Billy Hall brought momentum to the Reinhardt sideline with a 77-yard touchdown run on the Eagles’ third drive of the half. Reinhardt got back to what it does best as it dominated in the run game as the contest moved along.
"First thing I want to say is I’m very proud of our young men," coach James Miller said. "Down, 28-0, in the third quarter – and to come back and take the lead – we showed great fight and grit. However, we should have never put ourselves in that hole."
Hall finished the game with a season-high 135 rushing yards and two touchdowns on only 10 attempts. He completed six of 15 passes for 69 yards and one interception, with a long conversion of 22 yards.
Collins had the next highest rushing output for Reinhardt as he tallied 22 carries in the game. He totaled 104 yards on the ground, his second-most of the season, and two touchdowns, playing the workhorse role for the Eagles.
The Eagle defense also stepped it up in the second half. Following Hall’s momentum-shifting 77-yard run, Tyler Hallum intercepted a pass from Bethel quarterback Nolan Chowbay and took it 60 yards for an Eagle defensive score.
Chowbay torched Reinhardt’s defense to the tune of 325 yards and three touchdowns. In two games prior to this matchup, the Eagle defense had only surrendered seven points to Campbellsville.
Reinhardt more than doubled Bethel’s rushing output in Saturday’s game with 354 yards, compared to 163 from the Wildcats. Bethel did, though, have a massive advantage through the air as it scored only one less point than Kennesaw State did in its season-opening win over Reinhardt.
"We are a better team than this," Miller said. "I love these kids, and we will learn, grow and get better as a family. Hats off to Bethel as they played a good game. We are and will be better.”
The Eagles will look to rebound next Saturday, Oct. 2, against a 1-3 Ave Maria that comes off a one-point loss to Kentucky Christian.