Westminster (Pa.) at Thiel Game Notes
NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - The game notes for the Westminster College football team's Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) game at Thiel on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 1:30 p.m. are now online. The notes are best viewed in .pdf format by clicking here.
WESTMINSTER COLLEGE TITANS
THIEL COLLEGE TOMCATS
Saturday, Oct. 22 - 1:30 p.m.
Alumni Stadium at Stoeber Field - Greenville, Pa.
Radio: WWNW-FM 88.9 (www.titanradio.net)
TV: WCN, Replay on Monday at 7 p.m. (wcnlive.com)
Westminster is 4-2 for the first time since 2002 and 3-1 in the PAC for the first time since 2003 as the Titans are seeking their first three-game win streak since winning four straight in 2003. The Titans return 13 starters (6 on defense) from last year's team that went 2-8 (1-6 PAC). The doubled win total is due in large part to a +9 turnover margin after finishing -16 last year and an improved defense that ranks third in the PAC giving up 312.3 yards per game. The offense is led by senior QB Shawn Lehocky who ranks seventh in team history with 3,367 career passing yards (601 this year) and junior WR Geno Pasquinelli, the PAC's third-leading receiver (5.2 catches per game), who ranks in the top 10 in team history with 13 career touchdown receptions (6 this year).
Thiel (0-6, 0-4 PAC) is riding an 18-game losing streak after returning 15 starters (8 offense) from last year's team that went 0-10. The Tomcats rank either last or eighth in the PAC in every major statistical category including scoring offense and defense, getting outscored an average of 38-11, and total offense and defense, getting outgained by an average of 409.2-233.2 yards. The offense is led by freshman RB De'Von Drish, who ranks 10th in the PAC with a 47-yard rushing average (282 yards, 1 TD). The defense is led by junior DE Tim Taylor who leads the PAC with 12 tackles for loss (53 yards). Taylor broke the school single-game records for tackles for loss (7) and sacks (4.5) in last week's 20-0 loss at Bethany in which he had 10 tackles and a forced fumble.
TITANS' LAST GAME
After erasing a 14-0 second-quarter deficit, Westminster scored 22 straight points and outlasted visiting Waynesburg, 22-20, Saturday. Waynesburg (4-2, 4-1 PAC) scored with 3:34 left, missed a two-point conversation try and got the ball back again before Westminster senior CB Jordon Rooney intercepted a pass to clinch the Titan win. Senior QB Shawn Lehocky led the Titans in rushing (13 for 59 yards, TD) and passing (10-17 for 123 yards, TD), including a 43-yard run that set up a 1-yard touchdown run by sophomore RB Tyler Banks which gave the Titans a 22-14 lead with 11:37 left. Lehocky also threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to junior WR Geno Pasquinelli, who finished with three catches for 56 yards. Westminster outgained Waynesburg, 278-204, while limiting the Yellow Jackets to minus-1 rushing yards. Junior OLB Aaron Nauer posted six tackles including a sack to go with a career-high three pass break-ups.
Westminster seventh-year head coach Jeff Hand is 26-40 (.394) as the Titans' coach and 63-64 (.496) for his 13-year career, which includes two other head-coaching jobs (Benedictine (Ill.), Waynesburg). A 1992 Clarion graduate, Hand's best season was in 2003 when he guided Waynesburg to the PAC championship and an NCAA playoff appearance with a 9-2 record. Former Thiel assistant coach Kurt Reiser was promoted to head coach three years ago. A 1993 Allegheny graduate, Reiser is 3-23 (.115) in his third season with the Tomcats.
Westminster leads the all-time series vs. Thiel 42-19-8 dating back to 1894 with the home team winning each of the last five meetings. The Titans won last year 35-0 last year in the first home night game in Westminster history while the Tomcats prevailed 24-21 in the Titans' last visit to Greenville in 2009.
Series Started: 1894 (WC won 40-0)
Series Record: WC leads 42-19-8
Current Win Streak: Waynesburg 1
Longest WC Win Streak: 18 (1951-2003)
Longest Thiel Win Streak: 5 (1922-26)
Largest Margin WC win: 45-0 in 1982
Largest Margin Thiel win: 34-0 in 2005
Last Five Meetings: Westminster leads 3-2
2010: at Westminster 35, Thiel 0
2009: at Thiel 24, Westminster 21
2008: at Westminster 16, Thiel 10
2007: at Westminster 20, Thiel 16
2006: at Thiel 45, Westminster 27
NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. (Oct. 23, 2010) -- In the first home night game in the history of Westminster football, the Titans blanked Thiel, 35-0, for Westminster's first shutout since the 2003 season. Westminster snapped a five-game losing streak, its longest since 1999. Junior QB Shawn Lehocky threw for 160 yards on 14-of-23 passing and two touchdowns. Sophomore WR Geno Pasquinelli led the Titans with seven receptions for 49 yards and a score, while sophomore WR Connor Kobis snared four balls for a career-high 98 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore RB John Proano carried nine times for 43 yards and a touchdown, while freshman RB Tyler Banks toted 10 times for 38 yards and a career-high two touchdowns. Overall, the Titans outgained Thiel, 271-191, in total yards, including a 111-42 rushing advantage. The Titans posted four sacks. Freshman DB Shane Peterson and junior DB Jordon Rooney each posted interceptions. Peterson's was returned 41 yards to set up a touchdown and Rooney's came in the end zone to terminate Thiel's deepest drive.
Westminster has 13 returning starters, not including senior WR John Baummer who started two years ago. Of those 14 players, one is a fourth-year starter in senior P Andrew Clark and two are third-year starters in junior S Kyle Allen and senior CB Jordon Rooney. The other 11 are second-year starters but there are also five additional players who have started at least one game entering the 2011 season. Rooney, Allen, senior QB Shawn Lehocky and senior RT Adam Fueller are the only returners who started all 10 games last year and Rooney holds the team's longest start streak at 26 games followed by Allen (18) and Fueller (17).
PASSING TO PASQUINELLI
Junior WR Geno Pasquinelli, a second team all-PAC pick last year, ranks third in the PAC with 5.2 receptions per game (31 for 339 yards), he is tied for the lead with six receiving touchdowns, and he's fifth with 56.5 receiving yards per game. Pasquinelli tied a career high with eight receptions (for 65 yards) vs. Lycoming and twice this year he tied a career high with two touchdown receptions (at Grove City and Bethany). Last year, he ranked second in the PAC with 5.3 receptions per game and fifth with 57.1 receiving yards per game despite not starting until the fifth game of the season because of an injury. His career high for receiving yards is 129 (on 6 catches) vs. Bethany last year. Pasquinelli tied a school record in 2010 with a five-game touchdown reception streak and his six total touchdowns led the team. He is tied for 10th all-time at Westminster with 13 career touchdown receptions and he's one of three Titans (Dave Foley, Chad Rosatelli) with at least six touchdown receptions in both their sophomore and junior seasons.
ALL IN WITH ALLEN
Junior S Kyle Allen leads the PAC with four interceptions (for 72 yards) and his 0.67 per game average is tied for the 16th most in NCAA Division III. Allen also ranks seventh in the PAC in kick return average (14.0), sixth on the team with 32 tackles and he's tied for second on the team lead with three pass break-ups. Allen, a second-team all-PAC pick as a return specialist last year, led the PAC and ranked 42nd in the nation with a 24.7 kickoff return average last year. He has nine career interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown last year. He also returned a kickoff for a touchdown last year to become the first Titan since two-time All-American Aldridge Jones in 1991 to return an interception and a kickoff for a touchdown in the same season.
LEHOCKY THE LEADER
Senior QB Shawn Lehocky ranks seventh in team history with 3,367 career passing yards. Lehocky needs 193 yards to tie Smitty Cornell (1963-66) for sixth place with 3,560 yards. In five games this year (he missed one with an injury), Lehocky has thrown for 601 yards on 57-101 passing and his 120.2 passing yards per game ranks seventh in the PAC. Lehocky ranked fifth in the PAC last year with 172.6 passing yards per game (155-293 for 1,726, 14 TDs, 16 Ints.). He's also a rushing threat. As a platoon quarterback in 2009, he rushed for 446 yards and seven TDs including a career-high 112 yards and a career-high two rushing scores vs. Waynesburg to become the team's first-ever quarterback to rush for 100 yards in a game. Lehocky's other career highs are 256 passing yards (Saint Vincent, 2010), 20 completions (Grove City, Thomas More, 2010), 40 pass attempts (Grove City, 2010), 3 passing touchdowns (Bethany, 2010; Waynesburg, 2009), 3 interceptions (Grove City, 2010) and 19 rushing attempts (Waynesburg, 2010). Lehocky also excels in the classroom. He is the PAC SAAC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Month for October 2011 and he is a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation's National Scholar-Athlete Award.
LIKE A PRO
Junior RB John Proano ranks seventh in the PAC with 51.7 rushing yards per game (97 rushes for 310 yards and 3 TDs) including a career-high 144 yards on 24 carries with a touchdown at Bethany. Proano owns four career 100-yard rushing games and he is one of only six Titans since 1992 with at least four 100-yard rushing games. The others are Scott Froelich (24; 2001-04), Andy Blatt (23; 1993-94, '96), Denny Flora (16; 1995-98), Nick McKolosky (12; 2006-09) and John Ciavarra (4; 2000). Proano's 144 rushing yards vs. Bethany were also the most by a Titan since McKolosky rushed for 146 vs. Saint Vincent in 2008. Proano's other career highs are 32 attempts (for 125 yards) at Geneva in 2010 and two rushing touchdowns vs. Hiram this year.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT
Junior ILB Alex Kernicky is tied for fourth in the PAC with a team-high 8.8 tackles per game (53 total). His career-high 15 tackles vs. W&J and 14 at Bethany gave him 29 stops for the most tackles by a Titan in consecutive games since All-American LB Craig Mills posted 32 tackles in consecutive games in 1996, which was before Westminster joined the NCAA with a more restrictive definition of the tackle statistic. Kernicky's 15 tackles vs. W&J were the most by a Titan since Tom Geraghty had 17 against Bethany last year. Kernicky is a first-year starter who was named the PAC Defensive Player of the Week after the W&J game.
Sophomore K Zac Henry leads the PAC and ranks 20th nationally with 1.17 field goals per game. He is a perfect 7-for-7 including two at Grove City and a season-long 38-yarder at Bethany. A first-year starter, Henry is 8-for-12 for his career including a 44-yarder at Geneva last year.
Westminster lost five defensive starters from last year's team including three linebackers that each ranked in the top five in the PAC in tackles per game. Despite this, the Titans have improved. After six games in 2011 compared to the first six games of 2010 played against the same six opponents, Westminster has held opponents to 62 fewer points (197-135) and 472 fewer yards (2346-1874), including 415 fewer rushing yards (1157-742).
TURNING THE TIDE
The biggest difference between the 2010 Titans and the 2011 Titans: turnover margin. Westminster's +9 turnover margin (+1.5 per game) ranks 18th in the nation and it is second only to Thomas More (+10, +1.67) in the PAC. The Titans' eight interceptions are second to Saint Vincent (9) in the PAC and their nine fumble recoveries are second to Thomas More (10). Last year, the Titans absorbed a minus-16 turnover margin which ranked last in the PAC and 226th out of 236 Division III teams. In this year's season opener vs. Hiram, Westminster tied a school record with five fumble recoveries. The other two five-fumble recovery games were Nov. 18, 1989 in a 29-9 home playoff win over Georgetown (Ky.) and Nov. 15, 1986 in a 14-7 loss at Clarion.
WAYNESBURG GAME AWARD-WINNERS
The Westminster coaching staff released its weekly awards for the Waynesburg game week: Scout Team Players of the Week went to freshman TE John Jones (offense) and sophomore DB Kory Gribbin (defense). The "Big Hit" went to junior LB Derrick Orloski. The MVPs of the game went to freshman DB Dave Buzzacco (special teams), senior QB Shawn Lehocky (offense), and sophomore LB Nate Moot (defense).
Westminster has a 71% winning percentage since 1952 (402-159-10), including 47 winning seasons, 11 undefeated regular seasons, and six national championships (NAIA Division II 1970, '76, '77, '88, '89, and '94). Westminster has an all-time record of 576-403-54 (.584) and its 576 wins rank ninth with amongst current NCAA Division III programs. Westminster also has four representatives enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind. They include QB Harold Davis (1953-56) in the Class of 2004, coach Joe Fusco (1972-90) in the Class of 2001, OG/LB Larry Pugh (1961-64) in the Class of 1998, and coach Harold Burry (1952-71) in the inaugural non-NCAA Division I Class of 1996.
- Westminster is 4-2 for the first time since 2002 when it went 5-2 in its first seven games before finishing with a 6-4 record for the team's last season with a winning record.
- The 2002 Titans finished 4-1 for second place in the PAC in Westminster's first year of eligibility for the PAC title and its best finish since joining the conference.
- Westminster is 3-1 after three PAC games for the first time since 2003 when it started 3-1 before losing to a Jeff Hand-coached Waynesburg team that won the PAC title.
- Westminster seeks is first three-game win streak since 2003.
- With its next win, Westminster clinches its 53rd non-losing season in the past 61 years and it would also avoid its only stretch of three straight losing seasons since 1948-50.
- Westminster is 12-8 in its last 20 home games and 5-14 in its last 19 road games.
- Westminster ranks third in the PAC in total defense with 312.3 yards per game, but if you take away the Lycoming game (463 yards) the Titans would have the best defense in the PAC with 282.2 yards per game.
- Senior punter Andrew Clark is ranked second in the PAC with 37.5 yards per punt.
- Sophomore DE Sean Christofferson ranks second in the PAC with 0.33 forced fumbles per game (2).
- Junior OLB Aaron Nauer ranked fifth in the PAC with 1.5 tackles for loss per game (8.5 for 25 yards) and he leads the team with six pass break-ups including a career-high three vs. Waynesburg.
- Senior DE Ryan Brucker's 3.5 sacks are tied for fifth in the PAC.
- Westminster's 296 rushing yards vs. Bethany were the most by the Titans since they had 306 in a 41-22 win over Hiram in 2004 and the Titans' 54 passing yards vs. Bethany were the fewest since the Titans threw for 34 in a 12-7 win at Geneva in 2001.
- Westminster is 12-4 since 2007 when it has a player rush for 100 yards or more in a game.
- Since 2004, the Titans are 11-1 when they rush for 200 yards (only loss was last year's season finale at Geneva).
- Westminster's 20-16 loss to W&J was the first time since 2003 that the Titans lost to W&J by fewer than 25 points and it was the closest Westminster-W&J game since the Titans last beat the Presidents, 19-17, in 2000.
- Westminster's four captains as voted by the players for the 2011 season are senior DL Ryan Budziszewski, senior OL Adam Fueller, senior QB Shawn Lehocky, a second year captain, and senior CB Jordon Rooney.
- Since Westminster beat Geneva, 12-7, in 2001 with 53 total yards, two of the Titans' three lowest offensive games have occurred this season (176 vs. Hiram 9/3/11; 153 vs. Thiel 10/22/05; 89 vs. Lycoming 9/10/11).
- Lycoming (5-1) is second to Mount Union for the top defense in the nation, holding opponents to 183.0 yards per game.
- The Titans held Hiram to just 188 total yards, the fewest against any team since they held Hiram to 107 yards in a 38-7 win in 2005.
- Westminster was picked eighth in the 2011 PAC preseason poll and three-time defending champion Thomas More is once again the favorite.
- Westminster's returning all-PAC players from 2010 are junior WR Geno Pasquinelli, junior S Kyle Allen (as a returner specialist) and junior OLB Aaron Nauer, all of which earned second-team honors.
TITANS ON THE RADIO
All Westminster football games, home and away, are carried live on WWNW 88.9 FM throughout Lawrence County at 4,000 watts and live and archived on the Internet at titanradio.net and westminster.edu/athletics. Calling the action will be Dr. Dave Barner on play-by-play, along with Westminster senior Marshall Cupelli as color analyst. New for the 2011 season, fans can listen to broadcasts on their smart phones or mobile devices by downloading a free application online at tunein.com/mobile. Once linked, listeners can access Titan Radio by typing "WWNW" or "Titan Radio" in the application search box and those who live locally can already see the station under the local radio tab.
TITANS ON TV
The Westminster Cable Network (WCN) will telecast all home games live on television and on an online video stream at wcnlive.com with archived games available online. All games, home and away, will be televised on a tape-delay basis on Mondays at 7 p.m. Games can be seen on Armstrong Cable (Channel 72 (basic) in New Wilmington; Channel 204 in Grove City, Mercer and Slippery Rock -- basic-only users in that area tune to 92-12), and on Comcast Cable (Channel 183 in Lawrence County). Westminster senior Bradford Arick will call the play-by-play with former Titan football coach Scott Renninger for home games. Head coach Jeff Hand also appears on the WCN show "Coaches Corner" that airs Thursday and Friday evenings at 7 p.m.
TITANS ON THE BLOG
Senior QB Shawn Lehocky writes a weekly diary that can be found on the Titan Sports Blog at westminster.edu/athletics/blog.cfm.