For head coach Geno DeMarco it seems as if it has been a month since the Golden Tornadoes have played a game. In reality, Geneva has enjoyed only a week off with its only bye of the season coming after a 2-0 start to the 2009 season. It is the first time since 2005 that a Geneva team has started the year at 2-0 and the Golden Tornadoes are riding a six game winning streak, which is the longest in almost ten years. With all those positive numbers it is no wonder Geneva would have liked to have saved the bye week for later in the season. As it stands, the Golden Tornadoes will play eight straight weeks to close out the 2009 campaign.
While Geneva was busy healing its wounds over the weekend, Thiel College was having its hands full with Washington & Jefferson in a 56-16 loss to the President’s. Thiel opened the season with a six point loss to Marietta and then rebounded with a 20-10 victory over Albion before falling to W & J in the third game of the season.
The Tomcats have generated nearly 250 yards of total offense per game thus far with the bulk of that production coming through the air. Willie Bova has completed 51-93 passes for 529 yards and five touchdowns. Bova’s favorite target has been Brendan Taylor, who has already pulled in 24 receptions for 290 yards and a pair of scores. Thiel has struggled moving the ball on the ground and averaging only 2.3 yards per rush this season. Dan Hess leads the ground game with 117 yards on 51 carries. Perhaps the hidden weapon for Thiel is on special teams and placekicker John Madeline. Madeline is 3-4 on field goal attempts including a 44-yarder and he leads the Tomcats with 14 total points.
Geneva has enjoyed a balanced offensive attack in its first two games of the season. Coming into action this week, the Golden Tornadoes are averaging 36.5 points per game and 365 yards of offense in the first two weeks of the season. Through the air, David Girardi has completed nearly 60% of his passes for 408 yards and three
touchdowns. Girardi has found a new favorite target in tight end Brian Wilson this year. Wilson has caught six passes, two of which ended up in the end zone in Geneva’s 32-17 victory over Saint Vincent two weeks ago. The ground game has been led primarily by Gerard Muschette’s 221 yards and 5.7 yard average. Matt Barge is averaging four yards per carry and Matt Dean leads the team with three touchdowns in the first two games of the year.
Geneva’s defense has already forced six turnovers in two games with two of those resulting in touchdowns in the victory over Frostburg State. Rich Kolesar has an interception in each of the first two games while junior Gary Walstrom came up with his first Geneva pick in the win at Saint Vincent. Adam Rose is Geneva’s leading tackler with 16 total tackles that include four tackles for loss and two sacks.
Saturday’s meeting will be the 35th between Geneva and Thiel with the Golden Tornadoes holding a decisive 22-9-3 advantage in a series that dates back to 1909. Geneva has won the last two meetings including a 31-17 win in Greenville a year ago. In that victory, Muschette rushed for 126 yards and a touchdown while the Geneva defense held the Tomcats to only 55 yards on the ground.
The last time these schools met in Beaver Falls, Thiel came away with a 7-0 victory in the 2006 season opener. Since that loss, Geneva has handed Thiel a pair of home defeats of its own in 2007 and 2008. The Golden Tornadoes will head back out on the road next week to battle Washington & Jefferson while Thiel will be hosting Westminster.
After finishing the 2008 season with a 2-8 overall record, the Tomcats made a change at the top and hired first year head coach Kurt Reiser. Reiser has already seen improvements from a year ago as Thiel opened the 2008 season with losses in its first five games. As for Geneva, its six game winning streak is the longest since winning the final six games of 1999 and the first four games in 2000. The longest winning streak in school history spans 16 games from 1901-1903.
Through the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, Geneva offers the 3&3 Program enabling students to complete a B.S. and a M.Div. in only six years.