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November 4, 2006

Wolverines win on Senior Day, 40-33

GROVE CITY, Pa. -- Freshman quarterback Andrew DiDonato (Bridgeville, Pa./South Fayette) threw three touchdown passes, caught a touchdown pass and ran for a fifth score to help Grove City pull out a 40-33 victory over visiting Case Western Reserve (4-5) at Robert E. Thorn Field on Senior Day Saturday afternoon. It is Grove City's seventh Senior Day victory in the last eight years.

Grove City (2-7) accumulated a season-high 386 total yards on 81 plays while the Wolverine defense forced four turnovers. Senior cornerback Chris Schwamberger (Mansfield, Ohio/Madison), junior linebacker Bill Waugh (Bellefone, Pa./Bellefonte) and sophomore cornerback Mike Baker (Harrison City, Pa./Greensburg Central Catholic) all had interceptions.

Junior fullback Wes Basham (Nokesville, Va./Brentsville) recovered a fumbled punt in the second quarter, setting up a Grove City touchdown drive.

DiDonato completed 20 of 35 passes for 236 yards. During the win, he set new Grove City single-season records for completions (141) and attempts (254).

Senior split end Scott Fichter (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Hills) caught a career-high 10 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Fichter also threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to DiDonato early in the second quarter, giving Grove City a 7-0 lead. Basham's fumble recovery set up the 24-yard scoring drive.

DiDonato gave Grove City a 13-0 lead with 7:53 left in the first half with a six-yard touchdown run. The extra point was blocked. Grove City extended the lead to 19-0 with 33 seconds left in the half as Fichter hauled in a 10-yard touchdown pass from DiDonato. That capped a nine-play, 78-yard drive. The two-point conversion failed.

Case broke through in the third quarter on Corey Checkan's one-yard touchdown run with 12:25 left. The two-point conversion failed. The Wolverines extended the lead to 26-6 later in the third quarter, though, as Fichter caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from DiDonato on third-and-goal with 3:34 left. Waugh's interception and return to the Case 33 set up the touchdown drive.

Case quarterback Dan Whalen fired touchdown passes to Tim Cowdrick and Matt Skolnicki, closing Grove City's lead to 26-19 with 12 minutes left in the game. However, Grove City pushed the lead back to 33-19 as junior wingback Ian Tobin (Titusville, Pa./Titusville) caught a 31-yard touchdown pass off a deflection.

The Spartans slashed Grove City's lead to 33-26 with 2:44 left as Whalen pitched a six-yard touchdown to Skolnicki. Case's subsequent on-side kick went out of bounds, though, and three plays later, Grove City junior tailback Matt Weil (Fombell, Pa./Riverside) sealed the win with a 22-yard touchdown run. Weil led Grove City with 80 yards rushing on 18 carries.

Whalen scored on a six-yard run with five seconds left. He completed 24 of 45 attempts for 339 yards. Joe Brenner caught seven passes for 116 yards. Case out-gained Grove City, 418-386.

Sophomore strong safety Shane Coughlin (Medford Lakes, N.J./Medford Lakes) led Grove City with 10 total tackles, including 1.5 sacks. Waugh added nine stops. Junior defensive tackle Justin Fowler (Newton Falls, Ohio/Newton Falls) blocked an extra point. It is his College-record seventh blocked kick of the season.

Sophomore Stephen Mercer (East Liverpool, Ohio/Beaver Local) caught five passes for 57 yards while Tobin had four catches for 41 yards.

Grove City will conclude the 2006 regular season next Saturday, November 11, at Kings Point at 1 p.m.

Box Score

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