GREENVILLE, Pa. – In the end the Grove City Wolverines made one more big play than the Thiel Tomcats to win the 30th Mercer County Cup game Saturday at Alumni Stadium in overtime, 50-44.
The Tomcats got off to a fast start Saturday afternoon. On their first possession of the game, they used a 7-play, 48-yard drive that concluded with an Andrew Smith(Williamsfield, Ohio/Pymatuning Valley) touchdown run from one yard out to claim an early 7-0 lead. After a 42-yard kickoff return by Tim Canady (Baltimore, Md./Baltimore City College), the Tomcats kept the ball exclusively on the ground during the game-opening drive, which was keyed by a 21-yard run by Smith and a 24-yard scamper by Josh Potter (Chipley, Fla./Chipley).
The Wolverines came right back with a touchdown drive of their own to tie the score on their first possession of the contest. Steve Maskrey scored the touchdown on a 5-yard run.
After each team punted, Grove City captured its first lead in the game, 14-7, when wide receiver Anthony Ritchie threw a 16-yard TD pass to Pat Donoughe six seconds into the second quarter.
The Tomcats fumbled on their next possession, and the Wolverines took full advantage, taking a 21-7 lead when quarterback Brian Pell threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Ritchie.
Trailing by 14, Thiel's offense got back to work. After a pair of carries by Potter, Smith tossed a 46-yard touchdown pass to Matt Fedzen (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Catholic) to slice Grove City's lead down to 21-14.
The Wolverines scored another TD on their next possession, which was capped off on a 22-yard throw from Pell to Ritchie. The extra point was no good, but Grove City held a 27-14 lead.
The Tomcats picked up two more scores before halftime to go to the locker room trailing by just three points, 27-24. Smith scored his second rushing touchdown of the game on a 15-yard scamper with 4:22 left in the first half. Jon Fennick (New Castle, Pa./Neshannock ) then followed with a 21-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter.
The Wolverines matched Fennick's field goal when Ryan Stewart hit a 24-yard field goal to open the second half. The Tomcats tied up the game, 30-30, later in the third quarter when Rich Kolesar (Waterford, Pa./Fort LeBoeuf) scored on a 1-yard plunge.
The two Mercer County teams each scored 14 points in the fourth quarter. Andrew Smith (Williamsfield, Ohio/Pymatuning Valley) opened scoring in the fourth frame when he scored his third rushing touchdown of the game, this one from 1-yard out with 12:24 remaining in regulation.
Grove City evened the score with 8:04 left in the fourth quarter when Zach Gazdacko threw a 30-yard pass to Khalil Ervin. The Wolverines went on to take the lead with 3:17 left in regulation when Ritchie scored on a 22-yard reverse.
The Tomcats forced overtime for the second time in as many weeks thanks to a tremendous 16-play, 78-yard drive that Smith orchestrated and ended with a 4-yard TD pass to Bill Frizzi (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Catholic) with just 29 seconds left in regulation.
Thiel started on offense in overtime, but threw an interception on a second-and-eight play from the 12-yard line. Pell clinched the win for the Wolverines when he scored on a 13-yard run.
Smith completed 19-of-24 passes for 299 yards. He threw two touchdown passes and one interception. Pell completed 13-of-23 passes for 192 yards and two TD passes.
Potter led Thiel with 107 yards on the ground while Smith ran for 94 yards and scored three rushing touchdowns. Maskrey ran for 117 yards and scored one touchdown on 25 totes for the Wolverines.
Thiel's Fedzen caught four passes, one of which was a touchdown reception, for 91 yards. Grove City's Ritchie caught six passes for 117 yards. Ritchie caught two touchdowns, threw for a touchdown and scored a touchdown on the ground on a reverse.
The Tomcats finished the 2013 season with an overall record of 3-7. They went 3-5 in Presidents' Athletic Conference play.