Beaver Falls, PA – Geneva College and head coach Geno DeMarco could not have asked for a better start to the school’s new era of football as a member of NCAA Division III and Presidents’ Athletic Conference.
On a perfect Saturday afternoon, Geneva opened the 2007 campaign with an impressive 20-3 victory over Thiel College. Geneva was finally able to put its 2006 opening season loss to Thiel to rest after controlling this year’s season opener from start to finish.
Although Geneva dominated the statistics, it did watch the Tomcats take advantage of a first-quarter Javon Moody fumble and turn it into three points on Sammy Koyl’s 25-yard field goal with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter. Moody’s fumble was one of three first-half turnovers that hampered Geneva’s offense for most of the first 30 minutes.
Moody, who began the 2007 season as Geneva’s number-one running back, was forced to the sideline with a knee injury on the same play he fumbled in the first quarter. Moody’s replacement, freshman Gerard Muschette, didn't take long to get into the action. With less than two minutes remaining before halftime, Muschette took a screen pass from Bobby Bondi and raced 50 yards for Geneva’s first touchdown of the new season.
On Geneva’s second possession of the second half, Muschette again took center stage. On a seemingly innocent handoff, Muschette spun off three tacklers and continued to roll over a pile of Thiel defenders until he regained his balance on the other side of the pile and rumbled 28 yards for his second score of the game.
With Geneva’s defense in complete control all game, Thiel was never able to find any offensive answers. In fact, the Tomcats rushed for -25 yards in the game and compiled just 150 yards of total offense. Luke Duriancik capped off a 14-play, 67-yard drive in the fourth quarter to put the game away for the Golden Tornadoes.
Geneva managed 421 yards of offense, including 172 yards passing from Bondi on 15-25 for the game. On the ground, Muschette carried the ball 11 times for 77 yards, and Matt Dean gained 76 yards on 14 carries.
Although Geneva’s offense was impressive at times in the season opener, it was the Golden Tornadoes’ defense that stole the show. Sophomore Brian Wilson, after sitting out the 2006 campaign, played one of the most impressive games in recent history. The defensive end led Geneva with ten total tackles, including seven tackles for loss and three sacks. He also had a fumble recovery and one broken-up pass. Gabe Gordon had eight tackles and Greg Eberhart and Aaron Tommelleo had six tackles each. Geneva racked up a total of six sacks in its opening-game victory.
Geneva will renew another old rivalry next Saturday night when it travels to pre-season PAC favorite Washington & Jefferson for a 7 p.m. kickoff. Next week’s match-up will mark the first meeting between the two schools since 1985.