Greenville, PA – The Thiel College football team may have been starting to wonder if it would ever win a game. After suffering through two straight years of winless football, the Tomcats took stunned Geneva College by the score of 21-14 in overtime. The victory for Thiel snapped a 24-game losing slide while Geneva dropped its third straight to open the 2012 season.
The Tomcats scored the game’s only points in the first half with a pair of touchdowns to take a 14-0 lead into the halftime locker room. The first score of the game was a direct result of a muffed punt that placed the ball at the Geneva one yard line. Thiel’s one-yard scoring drive was the third such drive against the Golden Tornadoes’ defense in two weeks. Thiel scored on a 65 yard drive in the second quarter to double its lead and take the two score advantage into the break.
The Golden Tornadoes stormed out of the locker room and down the field on an eight-play, 65 yard drive that was capped by a 38 yard touchdown pass from Rocco Colavecchia to Corey O’Patchen. After Geneva’s defense stiffened, the offense got right back to work and scored on a 12 play, 61 yard drive that saw Colavecchia grab a 10-yard pass from Zach Hayward to tie the game at 14-14 with 4:21 remaining in the third quarter.
Neither team could get on the board throughout the rest of regulation, although Geneva had a golden chance to win the game in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter. A missed 33-yard field with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game forced overtime.
Thiel got the first shot on offense in overtime and had seemingly been stopped at the five yard line being forced to kick a short field goal. A low snap on the field attempt was bobbled and momentarily it appeared as though Geneva would keep the Tomcats off the board, but placekicker Cody McClelland picked up the loose ball and threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Berend Grube to give Thiel the lead. Geneva managed one first down on offense before being stopped at the Thiel 14 yard line on four consecutive plays. An incomplete pass on fourth and day handed Geneva its third straight loss and ended nearly three years of futility for the Thiel Tomcats.
“It is a very tough pill to swallow,” said Geneva head coach Geno DeMarco. “We put ourselves in pretty good shape to win the game but didn’t execute when it counted the most. This was a very hungry football team we played against today and they got a chance to experience a victory at our expense. We have to play much better to win in this league and we have two weeks to get it right.”
Hayward threw for 175 yards and a touchdown on 20-40 through the air. Colavecchia also threw a touchdown pass and rushed for a team best 73 yards on 18 carries. O’Patchen led the receiving core with five grabs for 102 yards and a score. Geneva’s defense played another solid game with Dillon Goodell leading the team with 9.5 tackles. Ryan Fronius also had a strong performance with seven tackles, a sack and an interception in the loss.
Geneva will have its only bye week of the season next Saturday to prepare for the latest home opener in school history when the Golden Tornadoes host four-time defending PAC champion Thomas More at 1 pm on September 29th.
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).