Geneva linebacker: ‘Hard work pays off’

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After seven games, Geneva linebacker Dillon Goodell leads the PAC in tackles with 75.
Geneva athletics photo

Dillon Goodell is having quite a season. He leads the PAC in tackles for the second consecutive season, racking up 75 through seven games, and while it's quite an accomplishment, the Geneva senior linebacker credits it to something simple.

"It shows that hard work pays off," said Goodell, who was an All-PAC selection a season ago. "I just try to prepare the best I can every week. I practice hard. I study film and be the best I can be on game day."

Goodell has been an integral part in the success the Golden Tornadoes have enjoyed this year. Geneva is 4-3 overall and 3-2 in the conference. The record doesn't scream for attention, although it seemed early on that Geneva would be a league title contender.

The Golden Tornadoes, who won only three games last season, started 3-0, but injuries have hurt their success as of late.

"Dillon has really stepped up and has been very good all year," coach Geno DeMarco said. "This is a kid that would probably be an All-American for sure if he was on a team that had a few more wins. He's such a great player and works so hard."

Goodell isn't the only one making an impact on defense for the Golden Tornadoes. His teammate, linebacker John Onufer, is second in the conference in tackles with 73.

"It's pretty cool to see him up there with me, but he is a humble guy and wouldn't think too much of it," Goodell said. "We are both very competitive and we push each other. It's been a big help having him as a teammate."

Goodell has come a long way since his freshman season. A year ago, he tallied 104 tackles. He said his growth as a player is partly a credit to him learning how to be prepared to succeed.

"It wasn't too tough adjusting to the physical aspect of the game or the speed of it. The big thing for me was being able to read formations and understand how to break down film the right way. I've learned to do that, and I've improved as a player."

This past summer Goodell, who hails from Florida, stayed on campus to work out with the team.

"We did a lot of work, and I think we did a good job pushing each other as a team," Goodell said. "We did a lot of 7-on-7 work and helped the younger guys get used to everything. It paid off for me to stay over the summer."

Geneva could easily be in a better situation at the moment, though. Its season began to turn in the other direction after a 41-34 overtime loss to Carnegie Mellon.

Thomas More drilled the Golden Tornadoes 61-0 the following week. Geneva did bounce back with a 40-30 win over Saint Vincent but fell 31-14 to Waynesburg this past weekend.

"We really thought we were going to make a run, but our quarterback and tailback both got hurt, and while both are still fighting through the injuries, our offense hasn't been the same. The injuries limit what we can do tremendously. But it's part of football and you have to keep fighting. That is what our team has done."

Goodell has played a role in keeping players positive despite the struggles.

"It's easy to get down when things don't go right, but I've done what I can to keep teammates upbeat," Goodell said. "You have to continue to think positive, and we've done a good job of that. Obviously, you want to win every game, but you have to forget the past and go forward and keep getting better."

Zack Hayward has thrown for 1,987 yards and 10 touchdowns and has rushed for 303 yards and two scores. Dylan Jones has churned out 422 rushing yards and four scores. Lemuel Fuller (55 catches, 646 yards, five touchdowns) and Rocky Colavecchia (40 catches, 411 yards, one touchdown) have been the top receivers.

Geneva has three games remaining and is determined to close out the season on a positive note.

"I have total confidence in this team," DeMarco said. "Our team has continued to persevere. You can't pout in football or you will get punched in the mouth. You have to keep fighting and work hard. I believe our guys will go out and do that the rest of the season."

Goodell wants to make his final games count, which would further cement his status as one of the best to play defense at Geneva.

"I only have three games left. I want to make the most of them and play my best," Goodell said. "We want to finish strong and send a message that we are a good football team. We are looking forward to ending this year the right way."

In the poll

Top-ranked Mount Union reminded everyone why it has the best defense in the nation, limiting Otterbein to just 37 yards of offense in a 48-0 OAC victory on Saturday.

The Purple Raiders (7-0, 6-0) have won 22 consecutive games overall, 80 consecutive in the regular season and 71 straight games at home.

Jonathan Gonell racked up six tackles for a defense that limited the Cardinals to just 37 plays. The Cardinals crossed midfield only one time.

Mount Union also blocked two punts in the win, with Alex Kocheff recovering one in the end zone for a touchdown.

The Purple Raiders churned out 290 rushing yards. Kevin Burke rushed for 71 yards and threw for 128. Of the five passes he completed, three were scoring strikes, including a 76-yard touchdown toss to Luc Meacham.

Cartel Brooks rolled up 235 yards of offense, including 155 on the ground, and scored four touchdowns to help No. 9 Heidelberg knock off Muskingum 49-21 on Saturday.

Brooks had more yards than Muskingum did as a team. The Muskies were limited to 189 yards by the Student Princes (7-0, 6-0).

Michael Mees threw for 241 yards and four touchdowns, with all four scoring strikes being thrown in the first half as Heidelberg took a 42-0 lead into halftime.

The Student Princes finished with 550 yards. Dontae Dye caught two passes for 71 yards and a score while Christian Dominguez made two catches for 36 yards and a touchdown.

Ben Poirier racked up eight tackles and a sack while Mitchell Kelly finished with seven tackles to help Heidelberg remain unbeaten and set up a crucial showdown Saturday at home against Mount Union.

Forcing turnovers is pivotal to success, and No. 14 Wabash forced eight against Oberlin on Saturday in a 27-10 NCAC win over the Yeomen.

Eddie Cmehil scored on one of those miscues, returning an interception 44 yards for his first career touchdown. The score came during a run of 27 unanswered points by the Little Giants (7-0, 6-0), who trailed 3-0 early in the first quarter.

Grant Klembara rushed for 109 yards but did not score. It was the first time all season the Little Giants did not score a rushing touchdown.

Klembara did work on defense as well, racking up two sacks. AJ Akinribade tallied eight tackles and Denzel Wilkins, Austin Brown and Delon Pettiford each picked off a pass.

Michael Putko threw for 156 yards and two scores as Wabash finished with 318 yards while limiting Oberlin to 239 yards and avenging a 31-16 loss to the Yeomen a season ago.

Scoring points continues to be a problem for opponents of No. 15 John Carroll, which earned its fourth shutout of the season Saturday by blanking Ohio Northern 47-0.

The Blue Streaks limited the Polar Bears to 126 yards of offense. John Carroll, which is ranked second in the nation in defense, did not allow Ohio Northern to convert at all on third down.

John Carroll (7-0, 6-0) blocked two punts and a field goal attempt. Choe Samba blocked one of those punts and has blocked a punt in each of his last three games.

Jimmy King paced the defense with 10 tackles and Mitch Krotz added nine tackles.

Aramis Greenwood nearly broke the single-game receptions record, catching 15 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown. He was two shy of the record.

Mark Myers was 27-of-37 for 321 yards while Daquan Grobsmith and Tommy Michals for 62 and 132 yards, respectively. Michals scored three touchdowns. He entered the game with just two in his career. The Blue Streaks rolled up 521 yards of offense.

Reed Florence threw for 257 yards and three touchdowns to help lead No. 17 Wittenberg to a 38-7 NCAC win over Kenyon.

The Tigers (6-1, 6-0) haven't lost to the Lords in 99 years as they remained unbeaten in league play. Kenyon was held to 243 yards. Wittenberg has won the last 22 meetings in the series.

Sean Gary rushed for 71 yards and scored on a 2-yard run in the opening quarter to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead.

Three players finished in double figures in tackles for Wittenberg. Spencer Leno led the way with 11 tackles while Nick Gibson and Evan Killilea added 10 tackles apeice.

Gibson also picked off a pass and returned it 76 yards for a touchdown to cap the scoring. The touchdown was the first of his career.

Inside the OAC

Marietta won its first game of the year in style, scoring 22 unanswered points in the fourth quarter of a 50-22 win over Wilmington on Saturday.

The Pioneers snapped a 17-game losing streak dating back to last season and the 50 points was the most in a game for Marietta since beating Capital 55-21 in 2000.

Andy Waddle won his first game as the head coach of the Pioneers (1-6, 1-5), who were led by Tom Fulton's 245-yard passing effort. Fulton threw three touchdown passes. Cody Harris caught 10 passes for 119 yards and a score.

Corey Hunsberger racked up 15 tackles and Cody Rice came through with nine tackles. He also returned an interception for a touchdown.

Brandon Arehart led Wilmington (0-7, 0-6) as he was 21-of-41 for 317 yards and two scores. Terrell Starckey led the Wilmington defense with 22 tackles.
Marietta finished with 476 yards and Wilmington tallied 427 yards.

Baldwin Wallace stretched its win streak to three games with a 28-12 win over Capital on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets (5-2, 4-2) rolled up 383 yards and handed the Crusaders (1-6, 1-5) their fifth consecutive loss.

Josiah Holt rushed for 85 yards and caught a touchdown 19-yard touchdown pass. It was his sixth touchdown of the season. Kevin Johnson caught a touchdown pass as well in the win and also scored by recovering a fumble for touchdown.

Joe Kasper paced the Yellow Jackets on defense as he racked up a career-high 12 tackles. Baldwin Wallace allowed 312 yards.

Jake Breakey and Brent Walton each rushed for a touchdown for Capital while Dallas Banks came through with 11 tackles to lead the defense.

Inside the MIAA

Albion didn't play its best football game of the year from a special teams standpoint, fumbling two punt returns, having a bad snap on a punt and running into the punter for a penalty, but the Britons still managed to get the job done against Alma.

Albion forced the Scots to come up empty on two trips in the red zone in the final six minutes of play and hung on for a 28-24 victory.

Bret McCarty led the defense with 13 tackles while Terron Bridgeman came through with seven tackles and broke up five passes as he played a pivotal role in Albion's success.

Dominic Bona took care of things on offense, throwing for 240 yards and four touchdowns. Zachary Brewer caught six passes for 93 yards.

Darrin Williams rushed for 119 yards as Albion (5-2, 3-0) won its third consecutive game and remains the only unbeaten team in league play.

Jarrett Leister did what he could to keep Alma in the game. He was 20-of-43 for 218 yards and two touchdowns but was picked off twice. Jon Bricker rushed for 42 yards and a score.

Sam Young anchored the defensive effort for Alma (0-8, 0-4), tallying 15 tackles and one sack. Alma allowed 389 yards and racked up 306 yards.

Braden Black threw a touchdown pass to Kyle Bryson with 12 seconds remaining to lift Olivet to a 21-17 win over Adrian on Saturday in a key MIAA showdown.

Black hit Bryson on a 19-yard scoring strike on a fourth-down play to secure the thrilling win over the defending conference champions. Black had been sacked for a 10-yard loss on third down. He threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns to help Olivet (6-1, 2-1) stay in the hunt for a conference championship.

Black also rushed for 61 yards and the Comets finished with 342 yards of offense. Bryson caught six passes for 132 yards.  Justin Madar tallied nine tackles and two sacks. Nate Roberts added eight tackles while also forcing a fumble and recovering a fumble.

Adrian rolled up 415 yards behind Damon Brown, who rushed for 209 yards and a touchdown. Aaron Tenney threw for 148 yards and a score.

Juwan King finished with 12 tackles to lead the Bulldogs (6-2, 3-1). He also forced a fumble.

Olivet will get its shot at staying in the title hunt when it battles Adrian on Saturday on the road.

Inside the NCAC

Darrian Owens is only a freshman, but he looked like a veteran in Wooster's 43-21 win over Denison in the battle for the Old Red Lantern Trophy on Saturday.

Owens racked up 230 receiving yards in the first half of play and he made only four catches in the half to get to the total. Three of his catches went for touchdowns, including a 71-yard scoring strike that put Wooster up 7-0 50 seconds into the opening quarter.

Owens also threw a touchdown pass in the first half as Wooster (4-3, 4-2) led 29-0 at halftime. His 230 yards broke the school record of 200 in a half that was set during the 2001 season.

The Scots finished with 540 yards, marking the third time this season they have hit the 500-yard mark, with Richard Barnes throwing for 280 yards. Sean Hackel rushed for 119 yards, his fourth 100-yard game of the season.

Tyson Vogel paced the defense with seven tackles. He picked off two passes as well. Wooster allowed 449 yards. Mitchell Czerniak tallied a team-high 11 tackles and forced a fumble.

Denison (4-3, 4-3) was led by Brandon Sklenar, who was 32-of-52 for 276 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown. Pat Foley came through with eight tackles for the Big Red.

Mason Espinosa threw three touchdown passes in the third quarter and helped lead Ohio Wesleyan to a 51-13 win over Hiram on Saturday.

Espinosa was 27-of-41 for 417 yards and four scores. His passing total pushed his career mark to 10,213 yards. He is the first quarterback in league history to reach the 10,000-yard milestone. He is also the first NCAC player to roll up 10,000-plus yards of total offense.

Ohio Wesleyan scored 28 points total in the third quarter, the other seven points coming on a 6-yard run by Kylan Baker.  The Bishops went into the fourth quarter with a 45-6 lead.

Ohio Wesleyan (4-3, 3-3) finished with 523 yards while holding Hiram (2-5, 1-5) to 160. Jonathan Valentine led the defense with six tackles while Rayce Risser and Gary Brodek tallied five tackles apiece.

Domenic Paolo threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Dinard in the fourth quarter. It was his only completion of the night in a backup role. John Davis made nine tackles for the Terriers and Kyle Burchett added eight tackles.

Inside the PAC

Dylan Heitmeier recovered a blocked punt in the end zone with 44 seconds left and helped propel Westminster to a 7-6 win over Bethany on Saturday.

The Titans (3-4, 2-3) managed only 232 yards of offense while holding Bethany (3-4, 3-2) to 256.  Dak Britt rushed for 108 yards and threw for 82 yards.

Rich Ellebie came through with nine tackles and a sack to pace the Westminster defense. Dave Buzzacco also racked up nine tackles and Nate Moot finished with eight tackles.

Pedro Lalor accounted for Bethany's only points as he nailed field goals of 23 yards and 22 yards. Matt Grimard threw for 192 yards and Jarrett Rahymes racked up 11 tackles.

Domonique Hayden set three school records as Thomas More blasted Grove City 44-7 on Saturday. Hayden rushed for a record 327 yards and finished with a record
366 all-purpose yards. His four touchdowns pushed his career total to 49, which is also a record.

Hayden's highlight play was an 89-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Thomas More (6-1, 5-1) finished with 597 yards of total offense, with Jensen Gebhardt throwing for 175 yards.

Erick Butler led a defensive effort that held Grove City (2-2, 1-4) to 145 yards. Adam Rauch and Kyle Fuller added six tackles apiece. Westminster limited Grove City only 21 rushing yards.

Brian Pell threw for 119 yards and a touchdown. His 53-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Ritchie gave the Wolverines an early 7-3 lead but Hayden's 6-yard run put
Westminster back in front and the Titans never looked back.

Chris Gibbs finished with 17 tackles to pace Grove City. Ben Manwaring tallied 15 tackles.

Quick look at Tartans and Spartans

Carnegie Mellon returns to action this week when it opens UAA play against Washington University at home. The Tartans are 3-4 overall and have lost their last two games. However, they are 2-0 at home on the season.

Case Western Reserve was in action, though, and picked up a 21-17 win over Trinity Texas) on Saturday. Kenny Riordan rushed for 96 yards and scored two touchdowns while Greg Debeljack coached in his 100th game at Case. He owns a record of 70-30.

Riordan sealed the deal on the win when he jumped on a fumble in the end zone. Wide receiver Brendan Lynch had made a catch but fumbled the ball with just over six minutes to play in the game.

Erik Olson threw for 143 yards and two scores while Sean Lapcevic caught seven passes for 56 yards. Case (3-3) finished with 256 yards and allowed 402.

Gavin Sandidge racked up 13 tackles and Everett Dishong tallied 12 tackles. Austin Webb picked off a pass to halt Trinity's ensuing drive after the score by Riordan. Webb racked up five tackles.

Case begins UAA play at home against Chicago this weekend. The Spartans have won two consecutive games.

Notes: Dominick Williams of Muskingum grabbed national attention -- and Play of the Week honors -- with his 74-yard punt return for a touchdown against Heidelberg on Saturday. He was nearly brought down several times during the run before breaking free for the score in the 49-21 loss. Williams' play was featured on media outlests such as ESPNU, FoxSports1,, USA Today and Yahoo. It has also gone viral on YouTube....Dean Kreps won his 100th game as the head coach at Hope on Saturday as the Flying Dutchmen knocked off Kalamazoo 27-17 to remain in title contention. Kreps is 100-84 in his 19-year career and is the third coach in league history to reach the milestone. Kreps is also one of only five coaches in the league to win six or more conference championships in his career....Matt Hunt threw was 15-of-32 for 212 yards and two touchdowns as he led DePauw to its third consecutive win, a 23-7 victory over Allegheny. The Tigers finished with 427 yards. Mitch Dwenger and Will Longthorne tallied seven tackles apiece. Longthorne also picked off a pass...Dion Wiegand scored four touchdowns and became the eighth player in Washington & Jefferson history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Wiegand helped put the Presidents in position to win the 23rd conference title in program history. He rushed for 93 yards and three scores and caught a touchdown pass. His career rushing total is at 1,003 yards.