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Bethany College (2-0) @ Geneva College (2-1)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

6:30 pm - Reeves Field - Beaver Falls, PA

All-Time Series: Geneva 25-7-1

Last Meeting: Geneva 17-6 (1983)


After starting the 2007 season with three consecutive road games, Geneva finally gets the opportunity to play in front of its home fans. Even more exciting is the fact that the Golden Tornadoes will be playing on their new synthetic surface for the first time in the history of Reeves Field. Despite having to open the season with three games on the road, Geneva has come out of the box in fine condition with a record of 2-1 having defeated long time rival Westminster College 37-14 last Saturday. Geneva′s home opening opponent, Bethany College, is coming off a record setting offensive performance against Saint Vincent on Saturday in a lopsided 66-7 victory. The Bison have started the season 2-0 and are leading the PAC in team defense (7.0 pts/gm) and team offense (45.0 pts/gm).

Geneva and Bethany have not met since the 1983 season in a game that Geneva won by the score of 17-6. The two schools have hooked up 33 times with Geneva leading the all-time series 25-7-1. It has been 34 years since Bethany last defeated Geneva 15-14 back in 1973.

The current version of Geneva football has, if nothing else, been quite opportunistic the start the 2007 season. In fact, the Golden Tornadoes found four different ways to score in its most recent victory over Westminster. The offense did put together one sustained drive that culminated with a Matt Dean touchdown run. However, it was the defense and special teams that took home top honors last week. Geneva′s defense held Westminster to -25 yards rushing, while also putting up 14 points of its own. Both Richard Kolesar and Brad Roman returned interceptions for touchdowns to help the cause. The special teams finished the day with three blocked kicks, including two punt blocks that led directly to a pair of touchdowns. The defensive star of the game was Brad Roman, who racked up 12 total tackles, five tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and an interception return for a touchdown. So far in 2007, Geneva′s defense ranks second in the Presidents′ Athletic Conference in scoring defense with a mark of just 15.0/pts per game.

Geneva′s defense will be put to a stern test this week when the PAC′s top offense in Bethany College comes to Reeves Field. The Bison are coming off a record setting performance last week against Saint Vincent. Bethany broke school records for total offense (739) and rushing yardage (482) in a single game. For the season, Bethany is averaging 45 points per game and 593 yards of total offense in its first two games. Running back Nick Neratka has rushed for 246 yards and is averaging almost seven yards per carry. Quarterback Milton Joyner has already tossed for four touchdowns, including an 83-yard hookup to Matt Cruse for the first score of the game on Saturday against Saint Vincent.

If scoring 45 points per game wasn′t impressive enough, the Bethany defense has yielded just seven points per game in 2007. Holding opponents to under 200 yards of total offense the first two weeks, the Bison have cruised to victories over Hiram and Saint Vincent. Dante Fuscardo has paced the Bethany defensive eleven with 14 total tackles including 2.5 tackles for loss. Geneva has also boasted some outstanding individual efforts on the defensive side of the ball. Sophomore Brian Wilson leads the PAC with five sacks and an incredible 11.0 tackles for loss. Geneva has been quite pesky against opposing quarterbacks with an impressive 13 sacks in three games.

Geneva begins a string of playing six of its last seven games on the schedule at Reeves Field. Tonight is the first of three straight home weeks beginning with a homecoming match-up against NCAA Division I-AA LaSalle University next Saturday. The Golden Tornadoes will make just one more road trip on October 20th when they travel to Kentucky to face Thomas More College. Bethany, on the other hand, begins a string of three straight road games with tonight′s contest. The Bison will travel to Thiel next week and then Grove City before returning home to Bethany, WV on October 13th for a date with Waynesburg.

NOTES: *Head coach Geno DeMarco picked up career victory 97 last week in Geneva′s win over Westminster. The all-time winningest coach in school history is just three victories away from milestone win #100.

*While DeMarco eyes a milestone, the Genevafootball program is focused on a milestone of its own. The Golden Tornadoes are just two wins shy of #500 in the program′s 118-year history.

*GenevaPresident Ken Smith will address the Reeves Field crowd prior to kick-off to officially unveil Geneva′s new playing surface and visitor side bleachers. The stadium renovation will be completed at the end of the 2007 season when home side bleachers and a new press box will be installed, among other major changes to the 82-year old facility.