Presidents Earn 24-7 Homecoming Day Win Over Geneva
WASHINGTON, Pa. – Washington & Jefferson rushed for 258 yards, including 150 from junior running back Tim McNerney (Butler, Pa./Knoch), to record a 24-7 PAC football victory over Geneva on Homecoming Saturday at Cameron Stadium.
McNerney ran 26 times and scored a pair of touchdowns for the Presidents, who improved to 4-3 overall and 3-2 in the PAC. The W&J defense, which limited Geneva to 246 total yards, was paced by senior linebacker Neil Sorice’s (Youngstown, Ohio/Canfield) 10 tackles. Sorice recorded the 200th tackle of his career in the second quarter.
The game was scoreless for a majority of the first half until the Golden Tornadoes (2-6, 2-4 PAC) produced a 13-play, 75-yard drive late in the second quarter (2:47) which ended on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Zack Hayward to Corey O’Patchen.
W&J fought right back 98 seconds later to notch its first touchdown of the game. The Presidents covered 59 yards in six plays and sophomore quarterback Matt Bliss (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) rushed six yards for the score. The extra-point attempt hit the upright and Geneva led 7-6 at halftime. Sophomore Dion Wiegand (Pittsburgh, Pa./Keystone Oaks) set up the touchdown with a 24-yard kickoff return.
Washington & Jefferson grabbed its first lead on its second possession of the third quarter. McNerney raced 15 yards for a touchdown after sophomore wide receiver Max Creighan (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Hills) took a Bliss’ pass 19 yards on the first play of the drive. Sophomore wideout Alex Baroffio (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) made a leaping catch on the two-point conversion pass to put W&J in front 14-7 with 7:11 left in the third quarter.
Junior cornerback Nathan Melhorn (Salineville, Ohio/Southern Local) forced and recovered a fumble after a 24-yard Geneva pass on the next play from scrimmage and sophomore Eric Eberle (Mifflintown, Pa./Juniata) kicked a 26-yard field goal for a 17-7 lead with 2:02 left in the third quarter.
W&J put the game away with a 64-yard scoring drive midway through the fourth quarter. McNerney ran five times on the possession, including an 18-yard touchdown run.
The Presidents amassed 428 total yards and used a 26-11 advantage in first downs. W&J also possessed the ball for 33:45 and forced Geneva to convert only 3-of-14 third-down chances.
Bliss completed 21-of-29 passes for 164 yards, while adding 92 yards on 16 rushing attempts. Junior wide receiver Hunter Creel (Industry, Pa./Western Beaver) caught a game-high seven passes for 58 yards.
Nine of Sorice’s 10 tackles were solo stops. He also had one sack. Senior defensive end Frank Gigler (Lower Burrell, Pa./Burrell) posted four tackles and three pass breakups.
The Golden Tornadoes, who punted 10 times, were led by Rocco Collavecchia’s 75 rushing yards. He also passed for 49 yards, while Hayward completed 6-of-8 passes for 114 yards. Scott Erb and Tucker Nuetzel led the GC defense with 10 tackles.
W&J hopes to earn another PAC victory next week at Grove City (1:30 pm).