September 27, 2008
Presidents top Grove City
WASHINGTON, Pa. -- Despite record-breaking performances from senior wide receiver Stephen Mercer (East Liverpool, Ohio/Beaver Local) and junior quarterback Andrew DiDonato (Bridgeville, Pa./South Fayette), the Grove City College football team fell to 1-1 in the Presidents' Athletic Conference Saturday night with a 49-21 setback against host Washington & Jefferson (4-0, 2-0 PAC) at Cameron Stadium.
Mercer set a new Grove City single-game record by catching 15 passes while DiDonato set new program records for pass completions (31) and attempts (56). DiDonato threw for a career-high 273 yards, which is the fifth-highest single-game total in program history. Mercer caught two of DiDonato's three touchdown passes.
Grove City fumbled the ball twice in the first half, helping W&J jump out to a 28-0 lead with 13:45 left in the second quarter. The Wolverines pulled to within 28-7 with 3:43 left in the half as DiDonato fired an 11-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Adam Chakot (Indiana, Pa./Indiana). In the third quarter, Mercer hauled in a 10-yard touchdown pass from DiDonato to cut the W&J lead to 28-14 with 3:14 left.
W&J extended the lead to 35-14 four seconds into the fourth quarter as Bobby Swallow tossed a three-yard touchdown pass to David Ravida. Grove City countered with a 10-play, 89-yard drive that culminated in DiDonato's 14-yard touchdown pass to Mercer.
W&J sealed the win with a pair of touchdowns in the final eight minutes. Curt Jones scored on a 16-yard touchdown run while Bryant Cappelletti caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Steven Shumaker. Jones also scored on runs of six and one yard in the first half. Swallow also threw two first-quarter touchdown passes to Craig Besong to help the Presidents take their 28-0 lead.
Mercer finished the night with 110 receiving yards while junior tight end Chris Rich (Linganore, Md./Mount Airy) caught four passes for 37 yards. Freshman quarterback/receiving Clayton Hall (North Canton, Ohio/Jackson) caught three passes for 49 yards. Hall also ran twice for 13 yards. Senior tailback Brian Mercer (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) led Grove City with 28 yards rushing on 12 carries.
Swallow completed 28 of 37 pass attempts for 201 yards. Jones ran for 80 yards on 14 attempts. Ravida tied a W&J record with 12 catches. W&J out-gained Grove City, 348-285. Each team had 22 first downs. W&J had four touchdown drives of 36 yards or less.
Senior middle linebacker Adam Eichler (North Versailles, Pa./East Allegheny) led Grove City with a career-high 16 tackles. Senior defensive end Ryan Rylands (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny), freshman linebacker Jason Ferguson (Mineral Ridge, Ohio/Mineral Ridge), sophomore end Kevin Twarek (Aurora, Ohio/Aurora) and junior tackle Tony Clark (Stow, Ohio/Stow) all had sacks. Twarek and freshman nose tackle Jarred Frawley (Franklin, Pa./Franklin) both recovered fumbles.
Senior free safety Zach Fulmer (New Holland, Pa./Garden Spot) intercepted his third pass of the season.
Sophomore wide receiver Zach Summy (Manheim, Pa./Manheim Central) kicked three extra points for Grove City.
Stephen Mercer's reception record breaks the mark of 13, set by Tom Flenner in 1995. Ian Tobin caught 13 passes in a game twice in 2007.
Grove City will visit Saint Vincent next Saturday, October 4 at 1:30 p.m.
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