Beaver Falls, PA – The last time Thomas More dropped a regular season game it was at the hands of Geneva College in Beaver Falls, PA. On Saturday, the Saints returned to the scene of that 2008 crime but on this day the outcome would be different. Thomas More defeated Geneva 36-20 to improve to 2-0 while the Golden Tornadoes fell to 1-2 after their second consecutive home loss.
Thomas More opened the scoring when Geneva was accessed an illegal crack back block in the end zone that resulted in a safety nine minutes into the game. After a Saints touchdown early in the second quarter extended the lead to 9-0, David Girardi hooked up with Corey O’Patchen for the first of two long touchdown passes to cut the lead to 9-7. Girardi hit O’Patchen on a 58 yard strike to cut the lead to two. Thomas More quickly responded with a seven play, 48 yard drive that again built the lead to nine points. Gerard Muschette’s sixth touchdown of the season cut the lead to 16-14 and when Geneva’s defense held Thomas More on a three and out, the momentum had shifted to the black and gold. However, the fifth special teams fumble in three games led to another Thomas More touchdown as the Saints capitalized one play after a fumbled punt had again hurt Geneva’s cause in the football game. “We just are not in a good place on special teams,” said Geno DeMarco. “We have not done a good job at all in protecting the football and it is simply killing our momentum and has played a huge role in the outcome of the football game the last two weeks.”
O’Patchen caught a 42 yard touchdown pass from Girardi midway through the fourth quarter but it was a case of too little, too late as Geneva dropped to 1-2. The Golden Tornadoes have submitted 117 points in the first three games of the season. “You can’t at all put this all on our defense,” said DeMarco. “The offense has not moved the ball consistently and the special teams have put our defense in tough spots all season. We have to get better in all three phases.”
Thomas More racked up 334 yards of total offense to Geneva’s 290. On the ground, the Saints rushed for 257 yards and four touchdowns. Gerard Muschette led Geneva’s rushing attack with 78 yards and a touchdown. Girardi threw for 233 yards on 24-37 passing for the game. O’Patchen made six catches for 132 yards and a pair of scores.
Jeremy Kiger led the defense with nine tackles, including a sack. Solomon Hejirika and Marcus Costanza each had eight tackles in the loss. Geneva heads out on the road next week to take on Bethany College at 7 pm. The Golden Tornadoes return home on October 9th to take on Waynesburg University.
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).