W&J Overcomes Turnovers; Defeats Westminster For 11th Consecutive Time
NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. -- Washington and Jefferson College juniors Andy McGill (Solon, Ohio/Solon) and Brian DeFranco (Steubenville, Ohio/Steubenville C.C.) notched sacks on Westminster’s final two plays to help the Presidents hold off Westminster 20-16 on Saturday in PAC football action at Burry Stadium.
The Presidents (3-2, 2-1 PAC) outgained the Titans (2-2, 1-1 PAC) by a 429-236 margin, but committed five turnovers which kept Westminster into the game after falling behind 13-0. The W&J defense limited the Titans to -17 yards rushing, while the Presidents piled up 178 yards on the ground.
Westminster (2-2, 1-1 PAC) had the opening possession, but W&J forced a punt after just three plays and took advantage three plays later on junior running back Tim McNerney’s (Butler, Pa./Knoch) 4-yard touchdown run. McNerney has scored a touchdown in each of his last 11 appearances. The score was set up by sophomore quarterback Matt Bliss’ (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) 39-yard pass to junior wide receiver Hunter Creel (Industry, Pa./Western Beaver).
The Presidents’ defense forced another punt, but sophomore Alex Baroffio (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) fumbled on the return, setting the Titans up at the W&J 46. Westminster took the ball to the Presidents’ 2-yard line, but fumbled on a third down play which was recovered by W&J senior Jimmy Thompson (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor).
W&J capitalized with a 12-play, 92-yard touchdown drive. Bliss completed five passes on the possession, including a 23-yard strike to Baroffio for a 13-0 lead after the extra-point attempt was missed.
The Presidents appeared to be in position to increase their lead twice early in the second quarter, but Bliss fumbled inside the 10-yard line on the first drive and the Titans held on fourth down at their 10-yard line four minutes later.
Westminster used the momentum from the defensive stop to narrow the deficit to 13-7 after a 90-yard drive that took 3:56 off the clock. Shawn Lehocky hit Geno Pasquinelli for a 16-yard touchdown pass.
W&J quickly entered Westminster territory again, but was stopped on another fourth down play. Two plays later, Lehocky’s pass was intercepted by redshirt freshman cornerback Dan Sciortino (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Kenston) and the Presidents took the six-point lead into halftime.
Bliss was intercepted twice in the opening minutes of the third quarter and Zac Henry converted a 26-yard field goal at the 9:55 mark to bring Westminster to within 13-10.
Washington and Jefferson strung together a 13-play drive which spanned the end of the third quarter and the first three minutes of the fourth. Bliss dove in from one yard for the touchdown after completing five passes on the 40-yard drive.
Westminster refused to quit and got to within 20-16 with 5:02 remaining as Lehocky connected with John Baummer over the middle for a 20-yard touchdown pass. The Titans forced a punt two minutes later and advanced to the W&J 39 before sacks by McGill and DeFranco ended the threat.
McGill notched a pair of sacks, while senior linebacker Neil Sorice (Youngstown, Ohio/Canfield) had a team-high eight tackles, including three for a loss. Senior defensive end Frank Gigler (Lower Burrell, Pa./Burrell) had four tackles for a loss and two sacks.
McNerney carried 30 times for 141 yards, while Bliss completed 24-of-40 passes for 251 yards. Creel caught six passes for 85 yards, while Baroffio hauled in five receptions for 80 yards. Senior Adam Dominick (North Irwin, Pa./Norwin) added five catches for 32 yards before leaving due to an injury.
Lehocky led the Titans with 253 passing yards, but was sacked six times. Alex Kernicky paced the WC defense with 15 stops.
Washington and Jefferson looks to stay in the win column next Saturday when traveling to Latrobe for a 1:00 pm kickoff of Saint Vincent at Chuck Noll Field.