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Grove City Wolverines Deflate Geneva for 13-7 Win

Written by: on Monday, October 18th, 2010

By BILL ALBRIGHT
WesternPAFootball Writer

GROVE CITY — It was a beautiful night for football Saturday night as Geneva College visited Grove City College for their annual fray on the gridiron.

As the evening wore on, it became an even better night for GCC as the Wolverines held off a late Geneva surge to down the Golden Tornadoes 13-7.

Although the win was a big one for the Wolverines as they evened their season mark at 3-3, the win might not only have been important for this season, but for the next three years as well.

Four years ago, veteran Wolverine head coach Chris Smith began grooming Andrew DiDonato (South Fayette) for the starting quarterback job at GCC. All DiDonato did during his four years was to almost completely rewrite the GCC record books while also etching his name into the President’s Athletic Conference annals many times.

Now with DiDonato having moved on via graduation, Saturday night at Robert E. Thorn Field it was another “puppy” who made his varsity debut as freshman Brian Pell (Streamwood, IL) took over the controls of the Wolverine offense to lead Grove City to a win in his first-ever varsity start at quarterback.

“First of all, I want to thank God for the opportunity,” said Pell following the game. “The coaches kept telling me just to be patient that the opportunity would come around. I prepared like I knew I had to, but the credit for this win has to go to everybody on this team. All the players, both offensively and defensively, did a great job. This win was due to just a great team effort.”

Following the win, Smith related as to what he feels his program possesses in the young student-athlete.

“I think we have a good quarterback there,” said Smith of Pell. “Obviously one game doesn’t make a career, but one game can at times be an indication of what a career might be like. I thought he did a real nice job tonight.”

Although it was Pell’s first varsity start, he showed no signs of being a freshman.

“I like to think of myself as kind of an even keel type of guy,” Pell said. “But when game time came up, yeah, I got a few butterflies, but I knew what I had to do. Every one of my teammates and the coaches just kept telling me to play my game. All the credit at the end of the game has to go to the defense. They just did a fantastic job against a great offense. They (GCC defense) just shut them down and that is how we got the win.”

While Pell and his offense were on the sidelines, the Wolverine defense was swarming all over Geneva quarterback David Girardi and running back Gerard Muschette.

“Our defense was young and talented last year, “ said Smith. “This year they are talented and experienced and that is the big difference. They are making plays by pressuring offenses and it is really fun to watch them play.”

For Grove City, the Secretary of Defense was nose tackle Jarred Frawley. For the game, Frawley was credited with a dozen stops, five for loss. He was also credited with a sack of Girardi in a crucial situation.

“We wanted to blitz the strong side to pretty much limit what their tailback was doing,” said Frawley of the defensive game plan. “He (Muschette) is the best player on their team and we wanted to stop him. Coach Rob (Skaricich) told us that even though we lost to Thomas More (the previous week) we played well. But for the rest of the year, they (coaches) want us to lead the nation in effort.”

On the second play of the final quarter with the game tied at 7-all, the Wolverines were faced with fourth-and-goal on the Geneva 1-yard line. Bypassing a “chip shot” field goal attempt from placekicker Craig Bicehouse to take the lead, Smith rolled the dice to go for the touchdown, and Blaine Miller delivered the mail as he went into the end zone for the score.

A rush for the 2-point conversion fell short of the end zone, but the Wolverines held a 13-7 lead they made stand up for the win.

“They (Geneva) had shut down our power play when we ran it down there once before,” said Smith. “If they shut that play down, they have to be vulnerable to the sweep. I thought if we lined up in that situation, they would do the same thing and come hard. If that happened, I felt we could get outside on them and get into the end zone. We have a great goal line package and that was plan B. As it turned out, plan B was the right one.”

Facing the 6-point deficit, the Golden Tornadoes drove into Grove City territory twice in the final eight minutes, but both times, the GCC defense stepped up and turned them away from a possible score.

“I think it feels a lot better to win a close game than to win a blowout,” Frawley said. “It is always nice to win a game against a team that is on the same level as us.”

The victory didn’t win the conference championship or send the Wolverines to the NCAA playoffs, but nevertheless, it was a huge win for the program.

“This could be a big shot in the arm for us,” said Smith. “We had a real emotional game last weekend against Thomas More who was ranked number nine in the nation. We could have won that game and the big thing I wanted our players to keep in mind was that you hate to waste a good effort. You want to build on a good effort and that is what we were able to do. We were able to build on it and come back beat Geneva tonight.”

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