Washington, PA – Under the lights in Washington, PA, the Geneva College Golden Tornadoes tussled with the Washington and Jefferson Presidents in a pivotal Presidents’ Athletic Conference battle on Saturday night. With the Presidents in need of two straight conference wins to match Thomas More’s impressive 7-1 conference record, and Geneva in need of a massive win to move into a second place tie in the conference, this game was jammed pack with importance for both sidelines. In this primetime game, the Golden Tornadoes were outdueled as the Presidents were able to control the game throughout on their way to a 49-34 victory over Geneva.
The first half of play started out promising as Geneva was able to cash in on fantastic field position when Justin Giar sacked Matt Bliss and forced a fumble on the play. A few plays later, Mike Gardner drilled a 41 yard field goal to give the Golden Tornadoes a 3-0 lead early in the contest. Unfortunately for the Tornadoes, W&J ruled the rest of the first half of play. Highlighted by a 44 yard touchdown strike from Matt Bliss to Max Creighan and a 51 yard touchdown scramble by Dion Weigand, the Presidents scored 28 straight points against a Geneva defense that struggled mightily with the combination of short-lived offensive drives and a W&J hurry up offense that worked like a well oiled machine.
Down 28-3 in the middle of the second quarter, the Golden Tornadoes rallied to put together a seven play, 80 yard touchdown drive capped by a three yard touchdown run by Rocco Colavecchia. What seemed like a promising change of momentum was quickly crushed as Dion Weigand ran the ensuing kickoff back 85 yards for a W&J touchdown to give the Presidents a 35-10 lead with under five minutes left in the first half of play.
But, though they faced adversity, Geneva would not go quietly. With just over two minutes on the first half clock, the Presidents’ Dion Wiegand fumbled the ball on his own 29 yard line and Geneva took possession. After a few unsuccessful red zone plays, Lemuel Fuller took a lateral from QB Zack Hayward on third down and threw an 11 yard pass to Colavecchia to make the score 35-17 at the half. The Presidents dominated the first half stats by doubling Geneva’s total yards but costly turnovers kept the Golden Tornadoes in the contest.
Geneva would start off the third quarter in style as they marched down the field on a 13 play, 56 yard drive that was halted by the Presidents but yielded a Mike Gardner 31-yard field goal to tighten the score at 35-20. Unfortunately, Geneva was unable to continue these positive trends as the Presidents scored back to back touchdowns to put the game out of reach. The fourth quarter was highlighted by a tremendous 59-yard touchdown pass from Hayward to Fuller and another touchdown combo of five yards from Hayward to Fuller in the final minute to make the final score 49-34.
Hayward went 25-38 with 258 yards and two touchdowns in the contest. Lemuel Fuller had a fantastic receiving night as he hauled in eight catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Rocco Colavecchia had his usual dominant performance as he managed both a receiving and a rushing touchdown.
In the midst of a difficult loss, a very significant record was broken for Geneva College. Rocco Colavecchia broke Geneva’s all-time career points scored record in tonight’s contest. The three year Golden Tornado has propelled himself into end zones for a total of 280 points scored. Colavecchia’s record exceeds Gerard Muschette’s 274 that he compiled from 2007 to 2010.
The loss brings Geneva’s overall record to 5-4 (4-3) and pushes W&J to 7-2 (6-1). Geneva will travel to Westminster next Saturday for a 1pm tilt against the Titans for their last game of the regular season.
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.
Washington Monthly ranks Geneva among the nation’s top ten “Best-Bang-for-the-Buck” baccalaureate colleges for providing students the highest chance of graduating with an affordable degree that has marketplace value.