Milton grad Bethay makes mark in arena football league

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Milton grad Bethay makes mark in arena football league

Postby BestOfBreed on Thu Aug 24, 2006 1:30 pm

Milton grad Bethay makes mark in arena football league

(Published Thursday, August 24, 2006 11:01:16 AM CDT)

By Tom Miller
Gazette Staff

Pop quiz: Name the two Milton High graduates who have scored rushing touchdowns in pro football.

Mike Saunders is one. Saunders played in the Canadian Football League, earning All-CFL honors in 1995 as a running back with San Antonio.

And the other is…

Would you believe Katon Bethay?

And it isn't just one touchdown, or even two.

Bethay, now a member of the Spokane Shock in the af2-arena league football-scored three touchdowns-covering a total of three yards-in the final regular season game.

"The last touchdown I scored was on an interception in college," Bethay said. "I haven't scored an offensive touchdown since high school. I played fullback when I was a freshman and sophomore."

But there have been many blasts from the nose tackle spot on defense, and no rushing attempts, since then.

Bethay has not scored a touchdown since that final regular-season game, but his play has been a factor in the Shock earning a spot in Saturday's af2 championship game against the Green Bay Blizzard.

The game will be played at 6 p.m. in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and is scheduled to be televised by Comcast Sports, which is available on satellite packages in the area. The two teams left for Puerto Rico on Tuesday.

Bethay had hopes of getting drafted by an NFL team after he completed his college career at Wofford (S.C.) College. That did not happen.

Bethay then signed with the Shock,one of 25 teams in the af2.

Arena football players are expected to play offense and defense. For his first few games, Bethay played nose guard on defense and center or guard on offense.

Then the Shock moved him to nose guard or linebacker on defense and fullback on offense.

And a scoring machine was created-at least for that one game.

The Shock is 8-1 with Bethay on board and 16-2 overall. The former Milton High standout is happy playing the indoor game.

"It's a lot of fun," he said. "It's a quick game. The fans really get into it."

Sometimes they actually get into it. One fan, Bethay said, was knocked out when a player flew into the stands.

Bethay had his reservations when he first joined the league.

"There's not much running, and I've always been a run-stopper," Bethay said.

But he's been able to contribute and has learned to enjoy it.

"The turf is kind of tough on your knees, but you get used to it," he said. "There's a lot less contact. There are no double-teams (blocks). They're real strict on the blocking rules."

The 6-foot-1, 297-pound Bethay has been used to having blockers fly at him from all angles in his four years of playing nose guard at Wofford.

After Saturday's championship game, Bethay plans to return to Wisconsin to visit friends for a week or two. His aim after that is to continue to play football. He has received feelers from the Tampa Bay Storm, a member of the top indoor league.

"I'm using Arena 2 to get to Arena 1," he said. "You get paid plenty of money in Arena 1. I'm not using Arena ball to try to get to the NFL."
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