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October 6, 2007

Wolverines roll past Bethany on Homecoming

GROVE CITY, Pa. -- The Grove City College football team is 2-2 in the Presidents' Athletic Conference after earning a 36-15 home victory over Bethany Saturday afternoon on Homecoming at Robert E. Thorn Field.

Grove City broke the game open midway through the second half, scoring three touchdowns in a span of 5 minutes, 19 seconds. Grove City (2-4 overall) took a 21-15 lead with seven seconds left in the third quarter on a 13-yard touchdown run from sophomore quarterback Andrew DiDonato (Bridgeville, Pa./South Fayette).

Two plays later, junior safety Zach Fulmer (New Holland, Pa./Garden Spot) intercepted a Milton Joyner pass and returned it 39 yards to the Bethany 18. Senior wingback Ian Tobin (Titusville, Pa./Titusville) capped the three-play drive with a one-yard touchdown run. Tobin then caught a two-point pass from DiDonato, pushing the lead to 29-15 with 14:15.

The Wolverines then closed the scoring at the 9:48 mark of the fourth quarter as junior cornerback Mike Baker (Harrison City, Pa./Greensburg Central Catholic) recovered a muffed punt in the end zone. It is Baker's first career touchdown.

Fulmer then intercepted Bethany quarterback Matt Blumer at the 5 on the Bison's final possession, sealing the win. Defensively, Grove City limited Bethany to just one score in six red-zone opportunities. The Wolverines also forced three turnovers.

Grove City took a 6-0 lead with 8:43 left in the first quarter as DiDonato fired a 12-yard touchdown pass to junior split end Stephen Mercer (East Liverpool, Ohio/Beaver Local) in the back of the end zone. The conversion failed. The lead grew to 12-0 at the 7:05 mark of the second quarter as Tobin capped a 15-play, 84-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run.

Bethany (2-3, 0-2) cut the lead to 12-7 with 4:12 left in the first half on Marcus Santini's three-yard touchdown run.

The Wolverines opened the second half with a 10-play, 49-yard drive that culminated in a 33-yard field goal from freshman kicker Chris Haley (Butler, Pa./Butler). However, Bethany tied the game at 15-15 with 1:31 left in the third quarter on Joyner's 49-yard touchdown pass to Matt Cruse. Santini's two-point run tied the game.

DiDonato completed 13 of 21 passes for 190 yards. He also ran for 77 yards on 16 carries. Junior Brian Mercer (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) led Grove City in rushing with a career-high 80 yards on 15 attempts. As a team, Grove City ran for 206 yards.

Stephen Mercer caught four passes for 52 yards while Tobin had four catches for 33 yards. Senior split end Jay Yanak (Upper Saint Clair, Pa./Upper Saint Clair) hauled in catches of 38 and 31 yards, respectively.

Baker also broke up three passes and forced a fumble on defense. Junior inside linebacker Adam Eichler (North Versailles, Pa./East Allegheny) recorded 15 tackles for Grove City while senior inside linebacker Bill Waugh (Bellefonte, Pa./Bellefonte) had 10 stops. Senior nose tackle Justin Fowler (Newton Falls, Ohio/Newton Falls) and sophomore linebacker Jesse Gill (Mahanoy City, Pa./Marian Catholic) both had sacks.

Santini ran for 151 yards on 21 attempts while Joyner threw for 193 yards on 17-of-34 accuracy. Cruse had five catches for 95 yards. Bethany out-gained Grove City, 445-396.

It is Grove City's sixth straight home win over Bethany. Grove City will visit Thiel next Saturday, October 13, in the 24th battle for the coveted Mercer County Cup.

Box Score

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