A rivalry is not a rivalry until both teams can compete on an even playing field. For 40 years throughout the decades of the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, the rivalry between Geneva and Westminster was quite one sided with the Titans controlling things year after year. In the mid 1990’s, Geneva turned the tables and to the best of Westminster on three straight occasions. After joining up again in the PAC, Geneva defeated Westminster in 2007 and 2008 before falling to the Titans in a thriller 31-28 a year ago. To say the rivalry is back between these two schools is a true statement and the 2010 edition promises to be another memorable chapter in the long storied history of a rivalry that dates back to 1891.
The 2009 loss was a bitter pill to swallow for Geneva as it costs itself a chance to host the NCCAA Victory Bowl. Despite having to travel, The Golden Tornadoes did secure their fifth NCCAA Victory Bowl title but the bitterness of the loss to Westminster has lingered for 365 days. Both teams enter the 2010 finale having experienced less than appealing results throughout the season. Geneva needs a victory to avoid only the fourth losing season of Geno DeMarco’s career while Westminster has won just once since an opening day victory at Hiram College. But when it’s Geneva and Westminster on a late Saturday afternoon in November, the saying is simply, “throw out the records”.
Geneva is coming off a dominant second half performance in a 34-20 victory at Thiel two weeks ago. Trailing the winless Tomcats 6-0 at halftime, Geneva posted 34 second half points highlighted by four touchdowns and 250 second half rushing yards from Gerard Muschette. Muschette finished the game with a school record 302 yards and broke the school’s all-time touchdown record with 44 for his career. Coming into the season finale with Westminster, Muschette sits 108 yards behind Melvin Cobbs’ all-time rushing mark of 3,809 yards. Senior quarterback David Girardi will also be playing his final game in a Geneva uniform. The school’s all-time leader in passing efficiency and completion percentage, Girardi has thrown for 2007 yards and 14 TD’s this season while completing nearly 60% of his passes. AJ Delmonico and Muschette has been Girardi’s favorite target with 46 receptions each while Corey O’Patchen leads the team in receiving yards with 660 and a team best nine receiving touchdowns.
Geneva’s defense was far from perfect in the first half of the season but has certainly come on of late. Through the first six games of the year, Geneva’s defense allowed an average of 38 points per game. In the last three games, the Golden Tornadoes have surrendered an average of 18.3 points per game in holding both Grove City and W & J under their season averages along the way. Chance Kelsey leads the defense with 60 tackles while Adam Rose is among the leaders in the PAC with six sacks. Jeremy Kiger is also listed among the best in the conference with his five sacks in 2010.
The Titans are coming off a 21-14 loss to Saint Vincent last week, which was the seventh loss in eight games. Averaging 20 points per game, Westminster has relied heavily on quarterback Shane Lehocky. Lehocky has thrown 13 touchdown passes on 1574 passing yards. Geno Pasquinelli has been the favorite target with 43 receptions for 486 yards and six touchdowns. On the ground, Westminster has turned to John Proano and his 405 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, Tom Geraghty has been nearly unstoppable with 100 tackles on the season. Teammate Cory Meeker is a close second with 84 tackles while Aaron Nauer leads the Titans defense with 15 tackles for loss.