Beaver Falls, PA – In the last football game as a member of the NAIA and the last football game on a natural grass surface, the Golden Tornadoes faced the ultimate challenge against the top ranked NAIA team in the country in St. Francis, IN. When the dust settled or in the case of Saturday’s match-up, the mud, St. Francis remained unbeaten with a 21-20 victory over the Golden Tornadoes. St. Francis won for the 51st consecutive time in the regular season and moved to 10-0 on the season. Meanwhile, Geneva fell to 4-5 overall, including a 2-4 mark in its final season as a member of the Mid-States Football Association.
After St. Francis broke out on top with a 57-yard interception return for a touchdown just three minutes into the game, the Golden Tornadoes took over the momentum with touchdown scoring drives on their next two possessions. Senior quarterback Justin Sciarro threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Luke Duriancik and a 28-yard scoring throw to Tim Sawyer to help the Golden Tornadoes take a 14-7 first quarter lead.
Eric Hooks scampered five yards for a touchdown that tied the score at 14 early in the second quarter. With the score tied going into the second half, Geneva jumped back on top when Sciarro plunged one-yard mid-way through the third quarter to cap a six play, 13 yard drive that was set-up after a Cory Lankford interception. With the field conditions worsening, the extra point snap skipped past the holder and Geneva did not get an opportunity to attempt the kick, which would ultimately come back to haunt the Golden Tornadoes.
St. Francis’ game winning drive was set up after a Daniel Carter 74 yard run pushed the ball to the Geneva five yard line. Two plays later, Hooks found Brian Kurtz on a four-yard pass play and the extra point gave the Cougars a one-point advantage with nine and half minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
Geneva did get some chances late and their final scoring drive moved down to the St. Francis 30 yard line with a minute to play before Sciarro threw and interception to St. Francis’ Brian Kurtz that sealed the deal.
In his final collegiate game, Sciarro as 26-51 for 281 yards and two scores, including 11 hook-ups with Luke Duriancik, who finished with 119 yards and a touchdown.
On defense, Brian Hall’s brilliant career came to an end with 13 tackles, including one tackle for loss to lead the Geneva defense as its leading tackler for the third year out of the last four.
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