Westminster outlasts Allegheny for 6-2 WinWritten by: William Albright on Sunday, September 14th, 2008
By BILL ALBRIGHT
Western PA Writer
NEW WILMINGTON — It wasn’t exactly pretty, but for the Westminster Titan football team, it was a huge win after its disappointing loss last week to Heidelberg.
Overcoming many mistakes and missed opportunities, the Titans never-give-up attitude paid off in a 6-2 win over the Allegheny Gators Saturday afternoon at Harold Burry Stadium.
“This is only one win in a long season, but it was a win that our program needed at this time,” said Westminster coach Jeff Hand.
During the scoreless period, the Titans had one touchdown called back and threatened on several other occasions, but didn’t score. Not being able to finish drives concerned Hand.
“We have to learn to finish drives,” said Hand. “That is something we have to continue working on. I think as our entire team matures, that (finishing drives) will get better. We have some returners at some of the skilled positions, but we are still young on the offensive line.”
After the two teams battled each other to a scoreless tie during the first 52 minutes of the game, the Gators dented the score column first when a snap from center in punt formation went over the Titan kicker’s head and rolled out of the end zone for a safety and a 2-0 lead with 7:35 on the clock.
Facing the 2-0 deficit, the Titans took over on their own 21.
From there, Westminster quarterback Kevin Franz engineered the biggest drive of the day as the Titans marched the 79 yards on eight plays for the game-winning score. For the game, Franz completed 25 of 40 attempts for 251 yards.
On the first play of the march, Franz hit wideout Chad Rosatelli for 33 yards to the Allegheny 46. For the game, Rosatelli caught a half dozen balls for 58 yards.
“The play opened up real good for me. We ran the play earlier and it wasn’t there,” he said. “We saw the linebacker was moving up (closer to the line of scrimmage) so we had to go further away from him and that is what we did. Franz just threw a perfect ball and put it right on the money spot. There was nobody near me.”
After a 5-yard pickup by tailback Nick McKolosky, Franz came up with his second big completion of the drive to tight end Gary Hutsler covering 25 yards to the Gator 16.
“The play is set up for me to kick slide on my steps and see what the linebackers do,” explained Hutsler. “I saw them (the linebackers) bail out and my eyes just lit up. Once I caught the ball, I just kept running as hard as I could.”
Faced with a second-and-four situation at the Gator 10, the Titans decided to get the ball in the hands of McKolosky, and the 5-7 junior wasn’t to be denied.
Two McKolosky runs put the ball on the Allegheny 1, and from there McKolosky scooted into the end zone for the game’s only touchdown with 1:43 left in the game. For the game, McKolosky finished with 86 tough yards on 29 carries. He also caught another three balls for 32 yards.
“It was tough sledding out there,” said McKolosky. “I have to give a lot of credit to my guys up front as well as the whole team. We never got down on ourselves and just kept pushing forward. There was never a doubt in our minds that we were going to come back and win the game.”
As for the touchdown drive, Hand felt it was huge for the team.
“That was a drive that was absolutely needed,” said Hand. “The best thing about it is that the guys came through for us.”
The Gators didn’t exactly fold up the tent and go quietly as following the Titan touchdown, they used completions of 15 and 27 yards from quarterback J. P. Salopek to wide receiver Jake Vite to give them a first down at the Westminster 16-yard line.
After a spike of the ball by Salopek and a pair of incomplete passes, Salopek again tried to hit Vite in the end zone.
However, Titan cornerback Mario Camerota proved to be “Johnny on the spot” as he knocked the ball away from Vite and the Titans ran out the clock to preserve their first-ever win on the newly surfaced Burry turf.
The win was also the first win in a home opener for Westminster since the 2000 season when the Titans defeated Walsh 27-14.
Defensively the Titans were led by Kiel Wolf, Jake Martinez and Daniel Joyce with seven tackles each. Martinez had a tackle for loss and a pass breakup, while Neil Falco also had a big game on the defensive side for the Titans with five tackles, three for losses, to go along with a pair of quarterback sacks.
Now 1-1, the Titans will host Saint Vincent Saturday afternoon at Burry Stadium. Kickoff for that game is set for 1:30 p.m.
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