Thiel's upset bid falls short against Waynesburg
GREENVILLE, Pa. – The Tomcats were on the verge of a major upset over undefeated and PAC-leading Waynesburg University Saturday during homecoming at Thiel College. In the end, however, Waynesburg scored a late touchdown and held on to defeat the scrappy Tomcats, 20-19.
Bernie Thompson's 15-yard touchdown reception from Carter Hill with 6:58 remaining in regulation gave the Yellow Jackets the game-clinching score, roughly three minutes after the Tomcats took a 19-14 lead when Andrew Smith (Williamsfield, Ohio/Pymatuning Valley) scored on a designed quarterback draw from 12 yards out.
The Tomcats had two more offensive possessions down the stretch, but the Yellow Jacket defense rose to the occasion to seal the win with a fumble recovery and a turnover on downs.
Waynesburg jumped out to a 7-0 lead with 3:01 remaining in the first quarter on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Fatigante to Adam Moses. Thiel climbed back to within a point in the second quarter when tight end Berend Grube (Venetia, Pa./Peters Twp.) caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Smith on a deflection. Unfortunately, Thiel's extra point try failed.
The Yellow Jackets went into halftime with a 14-6 lead when Fatigante scored a touchdown on a 5-yard run.
Smith and freshman running back Josh Potter (Huntsville, Ala./Chipley) had career-best days for the Tomcats. Smith completed 23-of-36 passes for 243 yards, one touchdown pass and no interceptions. He also put the Tomcats ahead briefly in the fourth quarter on a 12-yard touchdown run. Potter carried 17 times for 57 yards and scored on a 9-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Grube has become a major part of the Thiel's offense and Smith's favorite target. He caught eight passes Saturday for 92 yards. His touchdown catch in the second quarter Saturday was his second of the season.
Fatigante led Waynesburg with 51 yards on the ground on nine carries. He and Hill combined to complete nine passes on 19 attempts with two touchdown passes and one interception.
Senior linebacker Ethan Ludwig (East Liverpool, Ohio/East Liverpool) led Thiel's defense with 12 total tackles, two of which were for a loss. Sophomore linebacker Jack Sindlinger (Linesville, Pa./Linesville) was second on the team with nine total tackles. He also recorded the Tomcats' first interception of the season in the third quarter.
Thiel senior defensive end Tim Taylor (Girard, Pa./Erie Cathedral Prep) recorded one sack and two tackles for loss Saturday. On his second tackle for loss, which occurred in the fourth quarter, Taylor became Thiel's all-time career leader in the category (54). Jon Howson (2002-05) held the previous career record (53.5).
Thiel (1-4, 1-2 PAC) will travel to Latrobe, Pa., Saturday to take on Saint Vincent. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.