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Jason Walent plunged to the one-yard line and scored two plays later, cutting the deficit to two, 16-14.

Dickinson beats GCC in opener

by Ryan Briggs


GROVE CITY, PA, September 1, 2001--In season openers, special teams are often a deciding factor in football games. The Grove City Wolverines will attest to that.

A blocked punt in the fourth quarter resulted in a Dickinson touchdown while a fumbled kickoff at the outset of the second half set up another six points for the Red Devils. Meanwhile, a mishandled punt snap turned into a safety as Dickinson downed Grove City, 23-14, at Robert E. Thorn Field.

“We gave them a short field on that kickoff, a touchdown on a punt and two points on a punt,” 18th-year head coach Chris Smith said. “That’s 16 points right there. We have to figure out how not to do those things next week.”

Dickinson also took advantage of a 17-minute edge in time of possession. The Red Devils ran for 225 yards and gained 311 yards in total offense.

“They’re a good football team,” Smith said. “They deserve credit for winning. But we did more losing today than anything else. One of the things early in the season you have to do is not lose football games. If you don’t lose them and you execute, you’ll have a chance to be there at the end.”

Grove City scored on its first drive of the game. After forcing the Red Devils to go 3-and-out, the Wolverines took over at the Dickinson 44.

Quarterback Mike Kashurba, (Latrobe, Pa./Greater Latrobe) making his first collegiate start, completed a pair of passes to senior split end Dan Stoffer on the drive. Kashurba also gained 15 yards on an option keeper, giving Grove City a first down at the 16.

Mike Orlando (Wickliffe, Ohio/Wickliffe) rambled five yards on 4th-and-2 to the Red Devil 3, picking up a first down. Orlando then bulled into the end zone on the next play, giving Grove City a 7-0 lead.

However, Dickinson knotted the game at 7 with a 16-play, 92-yard drive that ate up over 8 minutes of clock. Tailback Anthony Tiberi burst into the end zone from the 2 with 10:46 left in the half.

“That’s our game plan -- to try and control the ball,” Dickinson head coach Darwin Breaux said. “I think we were able to do that today. That keeps our defense fresh and keeps them off the field.”

A second Dickinson drive ended when Wolverine strong safety Mike Volchko (Akron, OH/Archbishop Hoban) intercepted a George Gonzalez pass at the 2.

Grove City could not pick up a first down, though, and punter Mike Titzel (Greenville, Pa./Greenville) could not handle the snap. Dickinson pushed Titzel out of bounds in the end zone for a safety.

On the second half kickoff, Grove City’s Chris Lomasney returned the ball out to the 27 but was hit from behind, knocking the ball loose. Dickinson quickly converted the opportunity as Mike Smith’s 2-yard scoring run stretched the lead to 16-7.

The Wolverines bounced back on their ensuing possession as Orlando stormed up the middle on a trap play for 27 yards while Steve Roberts gained 20 yards on an option play. Jason Walent (Massillon, Ohio/Tuslaw) scored from the 1 on an off-tackle play. Matt Styer’s second PAT cut the lead to 16-14.

Early in the fourth quarter, a holding penalty sent Grove City back to its 13. Red Devil Andy Kersetter then blocked a Titzel punt in the end zone and Kevin Myers pounced on the loose pigskin for the touchdown and a 23-14 lead.

“It was a big game for our special teams,” Breaux said. “They really came through in the two punt situations and obviously, the turnover was big at the beginning of the second half.”

Orlando led Grove City with 87 yards rushing. Stoffer hauled in a career-high four passes for 30 yards. Adam Corbett (Warren, Ohio/Champion) recorded 14 tackles while John Bialowas notched 11 stops.

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