New Wilmington, PA– The Golden Tornadoes traveled to Westminster College on Saturday to battle the Titans in the 122nd meeting between Geneva and Westminster. This rivalry, now affectionately known as “The Game”, did not disappoint as the two sides battled to the last second on Westminster’s Senior Day. Unfortunately for Geneva, its season did not end the way they hoped as the Titans kicked a last second field goal to defeat the Golden Tornadoes by a 30-27 final.
Westminster held the run of the play in the first quarter as the Geneva offense struggled desperately in the first 20 minutes of the game. Capitalizing off of short-lived offensive drives and a key interception, Westminster built a 17-0 lead in the first quarter of play. Fortunately for Geneva, this slow start served as motivation moving into the second quarter of play as the Tornadoes orchestrated a four play, 54 yard touchdown drive capped by a 38 yard TD pass from Rocco Colavecchia to Josh Guiser to make the score17-7. After another Westminster field goal, the Golden Tornadoes benefited from a fantastic punt return by Colton Booher to the Westminster 19 yard line. Just a few plays later Colavecchia punched in his second TD of the day on a two yard scamper to make the score 20-14 going in the half.
The second half of play started with a scoring burst from the Titans as they ran back the Geneva kickoff 94 yards for a TD to move the score to 27-14 just 15 seconds into the half. However, Geneva would go on to hold the majority of the play in the second half while slowly inching their way back into the contest. Down 13 to begin the fourth quarter, the Tornadoes benefited from more fantastic field position as they put together a four play, 35 yard drive capped by another Colavecchia shot yardage running play for his third TD of the day to pull Geneva to within seven at 27-20.
With the momentum beginning to swing Geneva’s way, an enormous fourth down defensive stop gave them the ball at their own 29 with just over nine minutes to play. Quarterback Zack Hayward wasted no time orchestrating a 10 play, 71 yard drive finished off by a brilliant 32 yard strike from Hayward to Guiser to even the score at 27. Both teams traded unsuccessful possessions before Westminster got the ball at their own 34 yard line with :51 seconds left in the game. The Titans sensational quarterback, Dak Britt, drove the Titans to the Geneva 25 yard line while using tremendous clock management to put his team in field goal range with three seconds left on the clock. Place kicker Justin Dahl pounded a 42 yard field goal through the uprights to give the Titans the dramatic 30-27 victory.
Senior quarterback Zack Hayward finished his outstanding career by going 25-39 for 208 yards and a touchdown while adding 70 rushing yards in his final game under center for Geneva. Fellow senior quarterback and all-time Geneva record holder for most career touchdowns, Rocco Colavecchia, threw for 38 yards and a touchdown while running for two more touchdowns on the day. Josh Guiser had a tremendous receiving day by catching eight balls for 108 yards and two touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, linebacker Dillon Goodell had an outstanding 16 tackles on the day including a sack and 2.5 tackles for a loss. Freshman Tim Martin added to his Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) leading interception total with his sixth pick of the season.
Coach Geno DeMarco remarked after the game, “This is certainly a bitter pill to swallow and a tough way to end the year. This will serve as motivation for us as we move forward. We certainly made positive strides as a program this year and we hope to only improve moving forward. Our senior class will be sorely missed.”
Geneva ends its season with a 5-5 overall record, a 4-4 mark in the PAC.
Geneva College invites students to accept the challenge of an academically excellent, Christ-centered education. Offering nearly 40 undergraduate majors, Adult Degree Programs with fully online and campus-based options, and seven graduate degrees, Geneva has programs that place students at the forefront of higher learning. Adhering to the inerrancy of Scripture, a Geneva education is grounded in God’s word as well as in a core curriculum designed to prepare students vocationally to think, write and communicate well in today’s world.
Geneva is one of only 118 colleges in the U.S. to be approved for membership in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), and is a founding member.