Geneva College (0-2)
Thomas More College (1-0)
Saturday, September 17 – 1:30 pm
The Bank of Kentucky Stadium
Beaver Falls, PA – Not much has gone to plan for the Geneva College football team in 2011. The Golden Tornadoes have opened the new campaign with an 0-2 record and have yielded a combined 80 points in the first two games. Dropping the season opener 34-21 to Frostburg State followed by a 46-10 loss at Albright last Saturday, the Golden Tornadoes need to quickly flip the script as the 2011 Presidents’ Athletic Conference games are set to begin.
Geneva will have no easy task as it plays its first ever PAC game against three-time defending conference champion Thomas More. The Saints haven’t lost a conference game in three years and Geneva is the only PAC team to defeat Thomas More since 2007. The 10-9 victory at Thomas More four years ago didn’t count in the PAC standings as Geneva was in its first year of NCAA Division III provisional status. Since that initial victory against the Saints, Geneva has dropped three straight to the PAC champion. Last year, Thomas More defeated Geneva 36-20 at Reeves Field in what was also the third game of the season for the Golden Tornadoes.
The Golden Tornadoes are sitting in very unfamiliar territory with their 0-2 record. It is just the third time in Geno DeMarco’s 19 year head coaching career that Geneva has opened the season with two losses. The other two occasions were in 2008 and 1999. In both cases, Geneva was able to win game three of those seasons. If that trend is to continue, the Golden Tornadoes will need hand Thomas More its first conference loss since 2007. The Saints opened their defense of the conference championship with a non-conference victory over Hanover last Saturday by the score of 44-13. A year ago, Thomas More went undefeated in the PAC and finished the year with an overall record of 11-1 including a quarterfinal loss to Mary Hardin Baylor in the NCAA national tournament. In the season opener, quarterback Robert Kues threw for 241 yards and three touchdowns while also leading the Saints with 45 yards on the ground. Kendall Owens pulled in a pair of touchdowns to lead the receiving core. On defense, strong safety Alex Taylor led the way with eight tackles while also coming away with his first interception of the season.
Geneva’s defense has yielded an average of over 450 yards in the first two games while allowing an average of 40 points to start the season. Despite those numbers, the Golden Tornadoes and specifically head coach Geno DeMarco are not about to hit the panic button. While Geneva’s opponents have registered 39 first downs in the first two weeks, the Golden Tornadoes have made the chains 34 times. Numbers that don’t lie in that Geneva is not as far away as some might think. The offense and first year starter Zack Hayward have shown flashes of production. In fact, Hayward ranks third among PAC quarterbacks with over 235 yards of passing offense per game. A.J. Delmonico has been the primary target with 11 catches for 129 yards while Alex Mack has pulled in seven catches for 110 yards. Sophomore linebacker Dillon Goodell is tied for ninth in the conference with his 18 tackles, including a team best 4.5 tackles for loss.
Next week, the Golden Tornadoes return to Reeves Field for their first conference home game when they host Bethany College at 7 pm. Thomas More will take to the road in a showdown of the top two PAC teams from a year ago when they visit Washington & Jefferson.
Geneva College’s Center for Urban Biblical Ministry (CUBM) in Pittsburgh educates urban students for effective service in their local communities.