Bethany, WV – It is hard to imagine any other team in college football in 2012 having any more excitement than that of the Geneva College Golden Tornadoes. Geneva played its third consecutive overtime game on Saturday and dropped a 42-36 decision to Bethany after the first extra session. The loss dropped Geneva to 1-4 on the season and 1-2 in the PAC while the Bison picked up their first victory of 2012.
In a game that featured more see-saw action on the scoreboard, it was Geneva that provided the drama at the end of regulation with a desperation touchdown that sent the game into overtime. Following a Bethany touchdown that gave the Bison a 36-29 lead with less than 30 seconds on the clock, the Golden Tornadoes quickly used a pair of pass plays to advance the ball to the Bethany 41 yard line with four seconds on the fourth quarter clock. Junior quarterback Zack Hayward let a pass go from the 50 yard line on the final play of regulation and Rocco Colavecchia came down with the ball in the back of the end zone for a game tying touchdown. Unfortunately for Geneva, the excitement didn’t last long as the first possession of overtime ended with a Colavecchia interception in the end zone that resulted in no points in the first overtime session. Two plays into Bethany’s first extra possession, the Bison connected on a 24 yard touchdown that resulted in their first victory of the season.
“This team is so close to where we wanted to be at the mid-way point,” said head coach Geno DeMarco. “It just proves what a small margin of error you have at this level. A few plays go in the wrong direction and we are sitting on the wrong side of the scoreboard. We made too many mistakes on both sides of the ball and it cost us a great opportunity.”
Bethany opened the scoring early in the first quarter but Geneva answered quickly with an 11 play, 84 yard drive that was capped by a three yard touchdown run by Colavecchia. Geneva took its first lead of the game in the final minute of the first quarter when Zack Hayward ran the ball in from one yard out to take advantage of a botched snap on a Bethany punt three plays prior to the touchdown.
Geneva then botched a punt snap of its own that resulted in a Bethany safety to cut the lead to 14-9 and the ensuing free kick set the Bison up in good field position that resulted in a four play touchdown drive giving Bethany the lead back at 16-14. Prior to halftime, Geneva regained the lead when Colavecchia broke free on a 65 yard touchdown run that gave the Golden Tornadoes a 21-16 halftime lead.
Bethany took control of the game with a pair of second half touchdowns that pushed the Bison lead to 29-21 early in the fourth quarter. Geneva once again responded with a touchdown tying drive that culminated with a Lemuel Fuller three yard run and a Hayward rushing score on the two-point conversion which set the stage for the late game dramatics.
Bethany racked up 521 yards of offense including 343 yards on 23-36 through the air. Hayward finished the afternoon with 132 yards on 13-24. On the ground, Colavecchia led the way with 136 yards on 19 carries. Colavecchia also led the receiving core with six catches for 79 yards including the game tying score on the final play of regulation from 41 yards out.
Four Geneva defenders ended the game with double digit tackles led by Ryan Fronius’ 13 tackles. Dillon Goodell (12), Scott Erb (12) and Tucker Nuetzel (10) each turned in solid performances.
The Golden Tornadoes will get back on the bus next Saturday for their fifth road game out of six to start the season when they meet winless Saint Vincent in Latrobe at 1 pm. Geneva returns home on October 20th to face PAC leader Waynesburg for a 4 pm homecoming kick-off at Reeves Field.
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).