Westminster Loses Roller-Coaster Game at Geneva in Triple Overtime
BEAVER FALLS, Pa. - The Westminster College football team's season came to a dramatic conclusion Saturday with a roller-coaster game at Geneva that included three overtimes, four ties and five lead changes. The Titans lost 30-24 in triple overtime after Geneva scored on a 17-yard touchdown run by Gerard Muschette on Geneva's second play in the third overtime.
Westminster finishes its season with a 2-8 record, while Geneva wraps up its year at 5-5. The game between the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) rivals did not count in the PAC standings because of Geneva's NCAA Division III provisional status.
Neither team scored in the first overtime, which included both teams missing field goals, Westminster from 46 yards and Geneva from 36 yards, the latter hitting the left upright.
In the second overtime, Geneva scored on the first play when, after a delay of game penalty, quarterback David Girardi completed a 30-yard touchdown pass to Corey O'Patchen.
Westminster answered in six plays as junior quarterback Shawn Lehocky completed a 5-yard touchdown pass to senior defensive end Jesse Sylvester, who entered the game to block in the Titans' goal-line package, after the Titans faced third-down-and-goal from the Geneva 5. It was Sylvester's first-ever pass reception.
In the third overtime, the Titans attempted a 24-yard field goal that was blocked by Adam Rose, which allowed for the game-winning touchdown by Muschette two plays later.
Muschette rushed 33 times for 190 yards and became Geneva's all-time leading rusher. Girardi was 14-of-25 passing for 147 yards and two touchdowns, including seven to O'Patchen for 94 yards.
Lehocky led the Titans with 152 passing yards on 16-of-32 passing with one touchdown. Sophomore Geno Pasquinelli was the Titans' leading receiver with five catches for 28 yards, while freshman Collin Wallace caught four balls for 74 yards.
Sophomore running back John Proano led the Titans on the ground with 32 rushes for 125 yards for his second straight 100-yard rushing game and the third of his career.
Westminster went scoreless on two trips inside the Geneva 20-yard line in the first half. The first produced Geneva's only touchdown of the first half when the Titans faced second-and-7 from the Geneva 11-yard line on their opening drive. Proano lined up in a Wildcat formation and couldn't secure an errant snap from center that was recovered by Rose and returned 81 yards for a Geneva touchdown.
After the Titans missed a 34-yard field goal in the second quarter, Westminster forced a three-and-out that included sophomore defensive end Aaron Nauer posting two of his three first-half sacks, the latter pushing Geneva back to its own 8-yard line.
Westminster sophomore defensive back Joe Ross returned Geneva's punt 20 yards to the Geneva 20 yard-line. The Titans tied the game two plays later. Lehocky completed a 19-yard pass to freshman wide receiver Austin Cope before Lehocky scored on a 1-yard touchdown run on a quarterback sneak.
Westminster took its first lead in the third quarter when freshman running back Tyler Banks capped off a seven-play, 60-yard touchdown drive with a 32-yard run. Banks finished with 14 carries for 59 yards and his team-leading fifth rushing touchdown of the season.
Geneva tied the game at 14-14 early in the fourth quarter when Girardi completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Pat Matty to culminate a five-play, 56-yard drive.
Both teams exchanged made field goals in the final three minutes, the first by Westminster freshman Zac Henry from 44 yards with 2:23 left for his first career field goal. Henry, who hadn't attempted a field goal before Saturday's game, made one of five field goal attempts for the game.
Geneva then went 53 yards on 10 plays to tie the game at 17-17 with 14 seconds left, but that came after Westminster stuffed the Golden Tornadoes on a second-and-goal play from the Titan 1-yard line. Senior linebacker Cory Meeker tackled Muschette for a loss of 1 yard. Geneva, with no timeouts, was forced to spike the ball to stop the clock and set up the field goal.
After Geneva kicked off to Westminster in the waning seconds, Henry missed a 53-yard field goal as time expired in regulation and the game went to overtime.
Westminster outgained the Golden Tornadoes, 372-330, for total yardage in the game.
Meeker led the Titans defense with 10 tackles, followed by Nauer with eight to go with his career-high three sacks and one forced fumble.
Chance Kelosky led Geneva with 12 tackles, including one sack.