October 4, 2003
THE CUP HAS COME BACK TO GROVE CITY
GREENVILLE, Pa. -- Visiting Grove City (3-2, 2-0 PAC) rallied from a 15-7 second-half deficit to claim a 16-15 victory over Presidents' Athletic Conference rival Thiel in the 20th annual battle for the Mercer County Cup at Alumni Stadium Saturday.
It is the first time since 2000 that Grove City has captured the Mercer County Cup. It is also Grove City's first-ever win at Alumni Stadium.
Junior cornerback Gene Iannuzzi (Port Jervis, N.Y./Minisink Valley) blocked a Thiel punt and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown with 1:53 left in the game to put Grove City on top, 16-15.
Grove City trailed 15-10 when Iannuzzi came off the left side of Grove City's punt unit and swatted Ryan Swartzfager's punt. The ball bounced around on the turf before Iannuzzi picked it up and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown. It was Grove City's first punt block since 1999.
Thiel then moved the ball downfield to the Grove City 23 but a 40-yard field goal by Paul Stibich fell well short with seven seconds left, sealing the win for the Wolverines.
Grove City jumped out to a 7-0 lead with 8:43 left in the first quarter as quarterback Sam Mowrey (Titusville, Pa./Titusville) fired an 8-yard touchdown strike to Tim Flenner (Perry, Ohio/Perry) in the corner of the end zone, capping a six-play drive.
The Wolverines were able to assemble the scoring drive after Thiel All-American Kennard Davis fumbled a punt at the Thiel 45 and Grove City fullback Brandon McGlothlin (Freedom, Pa./Freedom) recovered it.
Thiel (1-3, 0-2 PAC) pulled ahead on the ensuing possession as fullback Justin Kuban plowed in from the 1. Grove City blocked the extra point but Stibich picked up the ball and pitched back it to Daryl Moore, the holder. Moore lobbed a pass to Dane Haskins for a two-point conversion, giving the Tomcats an 8-7 lead.
With 2:43 left in the first half, reserve quarterback Mike Lindenfelser fired a 50-yard touchdown pass to Haskins down the middle of the field. Stibich's extra point gave Thiel a 15-7 halftime lead.
Grove City slashed the lead to 15-10 in the third period with a 12-play, 74-yard drive that culminated in a 23-yard field goal from Michael Titzel (Greenville, Pa./Greenville). McGlothlin opened the drive with a seven-yard run while sophomore halfback Adam Wargo (Champion, Ohio/Champion) added consecutive runs of 10 and 16 yards.
McGlothlin gained eight more yards off tackle before Wargo added a nine-yard run. Wargo ran for a career-high 86 yards on 18 carries while McGlothlin added 65 yards on 13 attempts.
Thiel tried to extend its lead back to eight but cornerback Dan Roseum (Chesterland, Ohio/West Geauga) partially deflected Stibich's 25-yard field goal attempt with 12:49 left in the game.
In the fourth quarter, senior strong safety Dan Solomon (Huron, Ohio/Huron) recorded a pair of critical sacks in Grove City territory to help short-circuit two Thiel drives. The sacks are the first two of his career.
Following Solomon's first sack, freshman defensive end Josh Gordon (Morgantown, W. Va./University) sacked Moore to take Thiel out of potential field-goal range. Sophomore nose tackle Adam Gaab (McMurray, Pa./Peters Township) also picked up a sack for the Wolverines.
Junior linebacker Mike Choby (North Huntingdon, Pa./Norwin) recorded a season-high 12 tackles, including 11 solo stops. Iannuzzi also broke up two passes.
Junior split end Dave DiDonato (South Fayette, Pa./South Fayette) caught four passes for 31 yards. Mowrey finished the day 9-for-14 for 48 yards.
Thiel out-gained Grove City 324-211.
The Wolverines look to take sole possession of first place in the PAC next Saturday at home against Washington and Jefferson (4-0, 2-0 PAC).
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