Geneva College vs. Frostburg State University
September 5, 2009
Reeves Field - Beaver Falls, PA
Beginning its 120th year of football, Geneva College will be asking itself how long momentum can last. The Golden Tornadoes opened the 2008 season with just one victory in their first six games. After a 1-5 start, Geneva finished the season with four consecutive victories. Will that late season momentum carry over into the start of 2009? That is the question the 17th year head coach Geno DeMarco is waiting to answer. DeMarco matches his predecessor Gene Sullivan for the longest coaching tenure in school history this year. It was in Sullivan’s final season as head coach, back in 1992, when Geneva last lined up against Frostburg State, who just happens to be Geneva’s opening night opponent.
Both teams are looking to turnaround sub-par seasons in 2008. While Geneva struggled to get back to 5-5 at season’s end, the Bobcats finished the year at just 3-6. Perhaps the biggest offensive threat that Frostburg will bring to the table will be the return of its top two receivers. Makiha Cooper (40 receptions, 6 TD’s) and Avery Willie (30 receptions, 2 TD’s) will both return to the fold in 2009. Who will get the ball to Cooper and Willie may be Frostburg’s most intriguing question? Freshman Phoenix Butler-Poole looks to be the front runner and will receive his first collegiate start in the season opener. In the backfield, the Bobcats must find a way to replace the 534 yards and five touchdowns from leading rusher Anton Wade. Junior Anthony King will attempt to fill that void after rushing for over 350 yards and a touchdown in his sophomore season.
On defense, Frostburg allowed almost 31 points per game in 2008. Even more distressing was the 41 points per game it allowed in the six losses a year ago. The good news for the Bobcats defense is that they will return their top two tacklers in linebacker George Feiser (70 tackles) and safety Terryl Monroe (65 tackles).
Much like the early season results, the Golden Tornadoes did not fare very well on the statistical sheet during the first half of the season. Geneva scored an average of 18 points per game during its 1-5 start. In the last four games of the season, the Geneva offense lit up the scoreboard in averaging almost 32 points per ball game. David Girardi is back for his third season as the quarterback and will look to build upon a very impressive second half of 2008. Girardi finished his sophomore season with nearly 1500 yards through the air and ten touchdowns. More good news for Geneva comes in the form of a three-headed backfield monster consisting of seniors Matt Dean (426 yds, 8 TD’s), Matt Barge (633 yds, 4 TD’s) and Gerard Muschette (719 yds, 5 TD’s), all of which are returning in 2009. The receiving core will have a different look to it, but senior Parker Nuetzel will be back alongside sophomore AJ Delmonico.
The defense will be led by senior linebacker Aaron Tommelleo who finished the 2008 season as the teams second leading tackler with 66 to his credit. Another key defensive feature will be Adam Rose and Brian Wilson who combined for eight sacks a year ago. In the secondary, senior safety Rich Kolesar will spearhead a solid group of defensive backs that includes sophomore Marcus Costanza and division I transfer Jake Delmonico at the corners.
Geneva leads the all-time series against Frostburg State by a slim 9-8-1 margin. This will be the first meeting between the schools in 18 years when Geneva secured a 22-7 victory back in 1992. The Golden Tornadoes will take to the road next week in the first of two games this season against Saint Vincent College. Geneva will return to Reeves Field on September 26th to battle Thiel College at 7 pm.
Geneva College’s Center for Urban Biblical Ministry (CUBM) in Pittsburgh educates urban students for effective service in their local communities.