Defense Fuels 21-7 PAC Football Victory Over Thiel
WASHINGTON, Pa. – The Washington & Jefferson defense limited Thiel to 175 total yards, including only 28 in the first half, during a 21-7 Presidents’ Athletic Conference victory over the Tomcats on Saturday afternoon at Cameron Stadium.
The Presidents (5-4, 4-3 PAC) defeated the Tomcats (0-9, 0-6 PAC) for the sixth consecutive time. W&J also kept alive its chances of earning a 28th-straight winning season heading into next week’s Senior Day game against local-rival Waynesburg (1:30 pm) in the PAC Backyard Brawl.
W&J scored the only touchdown of the first half on the first play of the second quarter as sophomore quarterback Matt Bliss (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) connected with sophomore wide receiver Alex Baroffio (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) for a six-yard scoring pass. The play capped a six-play, 44-yard drive. Bliss was forced out of the game with an injury on the next W&J possession and senior quarterback Taylor Hockman (Martinsburg, W.Va./Hedgesville) took over for the remainder of the game.
W&J scored its second touchdown on its first drive of the third quarter as a run-dominated 79-yard drive culminated with junior running back Tim McNerney’s (Butler, Pa./Knoch) third-yard scoring jaunt. W&J rushed 11 times on the 13-play drive which took 7:09 off the clock.
After Thiel’s 10th punt of the game, W&J strung together a 10-play, 45-yard drive to go ahead by three touchdowns. Hockman threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wideout Brandon Trefelner (Greencastle, Pa./Greencastle-Antrim). The touchdown was the first in both players’ careers through the air.
Thiel ended the shutout bid with a 17-play, 79-yard drive at the start of the fourth quarter. Jared Soell passed three yards to Nate Blazevich for the Tomcats’ first touchdown with 8:09 remaining. Thiel got the ball back two more times, but senior defensive end Frank Gigler (Lower Burrell, Pa./Burrell) ended both drives of fourth-down plays, one with a sack and another on a deflected pass.
McNerney rushed 26 times for 89 yards to lead the W&J ground attack. Hockman completed 13-of-18 passes for 94 yards, while Bliss was 8-of-12 for 108 yards before leaving the game. Baroffio caught seven passes for 67 yards.
Senior linebacker Mitch Rose (Uniontown, Ohio/North Canton Hoover) paced the defense with seven stops, while senior linebacker Neil Sorice (Youngstown, Ohio/Canfield) had six tackles, including two for a loss. Sophomore safety B.J. Monacelli (Cassadaga, N.Y./Cassadaga Valley) also intercepted a pass. W&J held Thiel leading rusher De’Von Drish to 10 yards on 11 carries.
W&J outgained Thiel 338-175 and used a 20-11 first-down advantage. Soell completed 16-of-45 passes for 135 yards for the Tomcats, who have lost 21 consecutive games. Tim Taylor was a force on defense with a game-high 15 tackles and a pair of sacks.