GenevaCollege Football Preview
GenevaCollege Golden Tornadoes (1-1, 0-0)
@ MaloneCollege Pioneers (2-1, 0-0)
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Fawcett Stadium - Canton, OH
A pair of top 25 teams will face-off this Saturday in Canton, OH in the next chapter of the rivalry between Geneva and Malone. In what will be the final conference meeting between the two schools, the Golden Tornadoes and Pioneers will play each other as top 25 teams for the first time since 1996. While Geneva has been on the sidelines for the past two weeks after a scheduling quirk forced the Golden Tornadoes into back to back bye weeks, Malone was busy picking up one of the program′s most impressive victories in the last ten years. The Pioneers beat 5th ranked St. Xavier, IL on the road two weeks ago to move their record to 2-1 and into the NAIA top 25.
With Geneva making the switch to NCAA Division III next year, the Golden Tornadoes will be facing Malone as a member of the MSFA Mideast League for the final time on Saturday. Geneva and Malone have battled each year since the inception of football at Malone in 1993. In 14 meetings, the two schools have each won seven times. Most recently, Malone shocked Geneva in 2005 with a 15-14 victory that almost cost the Golden Tornadoes a play-off berth.
This season, Geneva may have to brush off the rust since its last game action was a victory over Olivet Nazarene on September 9th. Splitting their first two games of the season, the Golden Tornadoes finally were able to get the offense on track with 27 points against ONU, 20 coming in the second half. Senior quarterback Justin Sciarro ranks third in the MSFA with his 216.5 yards per game average. However, a Geneva running game that has at times dominated opponents, has not yet gotten on track. In fact, the Golden Tornadoes have rushed for just 70.5 yards/game.
Defensively, senior linebacker Brian Hall leads the conference with 14.5 tackles, per game, while sophomore defensive back Derek McElhaney leads the conference in passes defended with four interceptions and one pass break-up. McElhaney came up with a career best three interceptions against Olivet Nazarene.
Malone′s Bernard Payton is averaging 71 yards per game on the ground with three touchdowns. Malone′s senior quarterback, Brad Reifsnyder, has thrown three touchdown passes and is averaging just under 200 yards per game in Malone′s first three contests.
Geneva displayed some big play capabilities in its last game against Olivet Nazarene. Sciarro hooked up with Luke Duriancik on a 98-yard pass play, which was the second longest in Geneva football history. Sciarro also found Brian Dvorsak for 74 yards and a touchdown to seal Geneva′s victory.
The Golden Tornadoes will travel to Seton Hill University for their first ever meeting against the Griffins next week in Greensburg, PA. As for Malone, the Pioneers will travel to Columbus, OH to take on Ohio Dominican in another MSFA Mideast League game.