releasemast4.gif (18303 bytes)

The Dr. Donald L. "Doc" McMillan Press Box was dedicated moments before Saturday's kickoff.

Wolverines win home opener in overtime, 27-21

Game Stats

GROVE CITY, PA, September 9, 2000--Senior fullback R.J. Bowers (West Middlesex, PA/West Middlesex) ran for 155 yards and the winning touchdown in overtime, but it was Grove City's defense that rallied the Wolverines to a 27-21 victory over visiting Kenyon in Saturday's home opener. 

The Wolverine defense recorded four sacks, forced three turnovers and stopped Kenyon four times on fourth down.

“I think (the defense) did well,” Grove City coach Chris Smith said. “They had to. I give Kenyon a lot of credit. They didn’t quit, they didn’t go away. You have to give our kids credit because we didn’t quit and we didn’t go away.”

Inside linebacker Adam Corbett (Warren, OH/Champion) led the Wolverines with a pair of quarterback sacks and a career-high 19 tackles. Meanwhile, strong safety Michael Volchko (Akron, OH/Archbishop Hoban) returned an interception 30 yards and posted 10 tackles.

Kenyon held a 21-13 lead with under ten minutes remaining in the game and had possession of the ball at midfield. However, freshman cornerback Dan Roseum (Chesterland, OH/West Geauga) intercepted Tony Miga’s pass at the Wolverine 39 and returned 43 yards to put Grove City deep in Lord territory.

The Wolverines quickly took advantage of the opportunity on the first play of the drive. Halfback Michael Orlando (Wickliffe, OH/Wickliffe) took Steve Lacinski’s (New Kensington, PA/Valley) option pitch and raced 18 yards along the sideline for the touchdown.  

“We did a great job, I thought, in the third quarter and went up 21-13,” Kenyon head coach Vince Arduini said. “I really thought we were going in to score again and we throw the interception. They really made the most of it.”

Grove City then drew even as Bowers ran in the two-point conversion with 9:25 left.

“Defense comes up with a huge play, a huge momentum swing,” Lacinski said. “It got the crowd back into it. It revived us, too, and gave us a little extra push. I looked in the guys’ eyes and I just knew we were getting in the end zone.”

In overtime, Kenyon won the toss and elected to take the first possession. On 3rd-and-4, sophomore nose tackle Kevin Wolf (Jefferson, OH/Pymatuning Valley) sacked Miga for a 7-yard loss. Miga’s fourth down pass was broken up by free safety Josh Sachleben (Ringtown, PA/North Schuylkill), ending the Lord threat.

Grove City, meanwhile, needed only four plays to secure the winning score. Bowers ran for a half-dozen yards on the initial play of the drive. Lacinski and Orlando each scratched out five yards, giving Grove City a 2nd-and-5 at the Kenyon 9. Bowers then raced into the end zone to give the Wolverines the win.

The score was Bowers’ second of the afternoon, giving him 75 rushing touchdowns for his career. He picked up his 155 yards on 37 carries, leaving him 155 yards short of the all-time NCAA Division III record.

Last season, Bowers ran for a school-record 305 yards at Kenyon.

“I think we’re still coming together as an offense,” Smith said. “You always give your opponent credit for a good game plan and a good effort when they do that, and (Kenyon) did.”

Still, the Wolverines managed a season-high 304 yards rushing.

“They had some beef up front,” guard Andy Jacks (Bridgeville, PA/South Fayette) said. “When we tried to run up the middle, we had to make some big kicks and push them out. They were fairly quick on the outside.”

The Wolverines quickly grabbed a 7-0 lead on the game’s first possession. From midfield, senior halfback Jack Gillespie (Imperial, PA/Montour) sprinted 35 yards after receiving Lacinski’s pitch, putting Grove City at the Kenyon 15.

Orlando capped the drive on the next play with a 15-yard scoring ramble, breaking several tackles along the way.

  Kenyon rebounded early in the second quarter with a 12-play, 57-yard drive that Miga wrapped up with a 1-yard quarterback sneak. Chris Moriarty’s PAT tied the game 7-7.

  The teams then traded turnovers late in the first half. Grove City drove to the Kenyon 11. However, Lacinski and Bowers had problems with a handoff and Lord linebacker Ben Mellino recovered.

  “They ran a stunt in our hole,” Lacinski explained. “They timed the count and they blitzed a linebacker right where when the hole opened up. It was that quick that the linebacker could’ve taken the handoff from me.”

  However, the Wolverine defense came through with 1:28 left in the half. After Miga’s pass was caught by Milan Perazich, Sachleben stripped the ball and pounced on it at the Lord 45. Sachleben also recorded seven tackles and a sack.

  Grove City then moved the pigskin down the field, with a 21-yard swing pass to Bowers putting the Wolverines at the 11. Bowers then followed Gillespie and Orlando to paydirt from 2 yards out with 33 seconds left, giving Grove City a 13-7 halftime lead.

  Kenyon recovered, though, using a 59-yard drive to take the lead on the first possession of the third quarter. On 4th-and-2, Miga found Perazich wide open in the end zone.

  The lead swelled to 21-13 early in the fourth as Andy Mills scored on a 1-yard run. Mills also recorded 8 tackles for Kenyon, returned an interception 29 yards and blocked two kicks.

  “I was pleased with the way we played,” Arduini said. “I felt we executed real well at times. Grove City’s a very good football team. We just made a few too many mistakes near the end of the game and they capitalized on them.”

  Last week, the Wolverines could not convert several scoring opportunities at Dickinson. Saturday, Grove City made better use of their chances.

  “We knew what we did wrong last week,” Jacks said. “We made adjustments. We felt, in our hearts, that we had to win this game. We weren’t going to let it happen twice.”

Go back to Wolverine Football Home Page