Frostburg, MD – An instant classic could have resulted in one of the most exciting victories for Geneva’s football team in recent history. As it turned out, the Golden Tornadoes suffered one of the toughest losses in the highest scoring game in Geneva College history. Geneva dropped a 56-53 decision to Frostburg State as the Bobcats scored the winning touchdown in the final seconds in a game that was truly won by the team that had the ball last.
The two teams combined for 1275 yards of total offense that included over 700 yards of offense for the Golden Tornadoes. Junior quarterback Zack Hayward threw a career high six touchdowns and 464 yards but it wasn’t enough for Geneva to win its first season opener in two years. Geneva suffered an identical fate in a 34-21 loss to Frostburg State to open the 2011 campaign. The Golden Tornadoes went on to lose their first four games of the season for the first time since 1978. Head coach Geno DeMarco was much more optimistic this time around than after the 2011 defeat. “When you get in a shoot-out, you leave very little margin for error,” said the 20 year head coach. “We made some mistakes in the kicking game and it really hurt us. We have to find a way to win that game and I am confident we will in the very near future.”
It took Frostburg less than three minutes to find the end zone on the first possession of the game but Geneva came right back with an 80 yard drive that culminated with a 25 yard hook-up from Hayward to Corey O’Patchen. Geneva took its first lead of the game on its next possession that ended with a five yard touchdown run from Rocco Colavecchia. The game continued to see-saw to the halftime whistle with the score knotted at 28-28.
Geneva seemingly took control of the game with back to back touchdown drives to open the third quarter. Colavecchia scored on an 11-yard run and Josh Guiser busted off a 66-yard touchdown to open up a 41-28 lead early in the third quarter. It took Frostburg just one play to get on the board again and then the Bobcats regained a 42-41 lead mid-way through the fourth quarter but the scoring was far from over.
Colavecchia’s third touchdown of the game came on a six yard reception from Hayward to give Geneva a 47-42 lead after missing the two-point conversion. After Frostburg regained the lead yet again, Guiser put Geneva up 53-49 in what appeared to be the game winning score with just 1:14 remaining in regulation. Frostburg immediately got into scoring position and with ten seconds on the clock, completed a 14-yard touchdown pass on a second down play.
“We had some great chances to put this game away and just didn’t do it,” said DeMarco. “We made a lot of plays but left a lot out there and you just can’t do that and win on the road.”
Geneva missed an extra point and a 31-yard field was blocked midway through the fourth quarter that could have given the Golden Tornadoes’ an even greater advantage. As it turned out, Frostburg took advantage of the miscues and snuck away with a victory.
Hayward was 38-48 through the air for 464 yards. Colavecchia found the end zone three times and rushed for a team best 77 yards on 13 carries. He also caught seven passes for 66 yards. Jordan Curry led the team with nine receptions while O’Patchen caught seven balls for 141 yards.
Despite allowing 56 points on defense, Geneva was led by an impressive 20 tackles from Brett Hutira. Dillon Goodell finished the game with 11 tackles in a losing cause.
Geneva will continue its road travels when it heads to Hobart College next Saturday. The Golden Tornadoes will not play a home game until hosting the defending PAC champion Thomas More Saint on September 29th at 1:00 pm.
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).