Beaver Falls, PA - It was a play that Geneva′s football team had been practicing all season and waiting for exactly the right time to pull it out. With time winding down on the 2009 NCCAA Victory Bowl and the Golden Tornadoes trailing by two points, the time for the play called "900 Saint Vincent" had arrived. As important as the execution of the play is the acting skills of junior quarterback David Girardi. The play begins with Girardi walking toward the sideline with a confused look as he stares at the coaching staff for a new play. At the same time the ball is being snapped directly to senior running back Matt Barge. Barge then flips the ball to Girardi who sets his sights downfield. In this case, it was senior receiver Parker Nuetzel who was running free. Nuetzel pulled in a 47 yard reception that moved the ball to the Greenville 12 yard line and set up a Nick DiPietro game winning 20 yard field goal. The field goal capped a 12 play, 94 yard drive that had started on Geneva′s on three yard line. The drive ended with another Victory Bowl championship banner flying on College Hill.
"I have been a head coach at Geneva College for a long time," said Geno DeMarco following the victory. "We have seen our teams win post-season games, receive numerous accolades and top rankings, but I have never felt more gratified with what our team accomplished this year. Overcoming adversity is a part of athletics, but these guys stood up and refused to give up on a season and on a game. I have never been around a more deserving group of young men."
The story of the 2009 Geneva football team begins in 2008 when the Golden Tornadoes turned around a 1-5 start with four straight victories to end the year at 5-5. The winning streak continued into the new year with the Golden Tornadoes opening the 2009 campaign with three straight victories before falling to sixth ranked Washington & Jefferson. Four victories later, the Golden Tornadoes lost to tenth ranked Thomas More and closed out the regular season with a heart wrenching 31-28 loss to Westminster. Back to back losses in the regular season forced Geneva to travel to Greenville for the Victory Bowl instead of playing at Reeves Field, a place where it was a perfect 5-0 for the first time since 1995.
After a ten hour bus trip, a community service project and a Victory Bowl banquet, the Golden Tornadoes took care of business in thrilling fashion against an upstart Greenville team that was playing in only its second Victory Bowl and hadn't lost a home game all season. Geneva trailed Greenville 28-14 before Gerard Muschette scored his third touchdown of the game and Matt Barge plunged into the end zone from nine yards out to cut the lead to two points with just under five minutes left to play in the game. After a defensive stand got the ball back into the hands of Girardi, Geneva was staring at 97 yards to victory with two minutes to play. After 12 plays and "900 Saint Vincent" in their pocket, the Golden Tornadoes got back on the bus with one extra passenger, the 2009 NCCAA Victory Bowl championship banner.
To view photos from the game, click here.
Geneva College is a comprehensive Christian college of the arts, sciences and professional studies. Founded in the tradition of the Reformed Christian faith, Geneva prepares students to serve Christ in all areas of society: work, family and the church. Geneva College′s philosophy of education is based on the Foundational Concepts of Christian Higher Education. Geneva is a founding member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).