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November 1, 2008

Wolverines clip Waynesburg, 23-19, for 5th win

WAYNESBURG, Pa. -- Senior tailback Brian Mercer (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) ran for three touchdowns while the Grove City defense limited host Waynesburg to just 68 yards of offense and five first downs in the second half Saturday afternoon as Grove City earned a 23-19 win over Waynesburg in Presidents' Athletic Conference football action at John F. Wiley Stadium. Grove City is now 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the PAC.

Grove City trailed 19-10 at halftime but rallied with 13 third-quarter points. Mercer helped Grove City close to within 19-17 with 8:04 left in the third quarter as he punched in a two-yard touchdown run. The score capped a seven-play, 72-yard drive for the Wolverines.

Following a Waynesburg punt, the Wolverines surged ahead by assembling a 10-play, 65-yard touchdown drive. Mercer ran for 13 yards on the first play of the possession, then caught a 32-yard pass out of the backfield from junior quarterback Andrew DiDonato (Bridgeville, Pa./South Fayette). After freshman Clayton Hall (North Canton, Ohio/Massillon Jackson) raced 13 yards to the Waynesburg 4, Mercer put Grove City ahead with a four-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion failed.

Grove City snuffed out Waynesburg's first drive of the fourth quarter as senior safety Zach Fulmer (New Holland, Pa./Garden Spot) intercepted a pass at the Grove City 33. Waynesburg's second possession of the quarter ended on a punt after the Wolverines stopped Waynesburg on 3rd-and-1 at the Yellow Jacket 42.

Grove City took possession with 6:17 left and executed 10 plays on the drive before punting the ball away with 38 seconds left. The Wolverine defense then forced four incomplete passes to seal the victory.

Waynesburg (4-4, 1-3) took a 3-0 lead with 12:43 left in the first quarter on Bryan Arbes' 47-yard field goal. Grove City countered on its first possession as sophomore kicker Craig Bicehouse (Prospect, Pa./Slippery Rock) drilled a 33-yard field goal.

Waynesburg quarterback Brad Dawson tossed a three-yard touchdown pass to Josh Fisher with 4:22 remaining in the first quarter to give the Yellow Jackets a 9-3 lead. However, Grove City sophomore end Kevin Twarek (Aurora, Ohio/Aurora) blocked Arbes' extra point.

Mercer scored on a one-yard touchdown run with 2:10 left in the quarter gave Grove City a 10-9 lead. Arbes kicked a 45-yard field goal with 13:10 left in the second quarter. Four minutes later, holder Chris Smithley ran into the end zone from 13 yards out on a fake field goal.

Waynesburg ran for just 17 yards in the second half after accumulating 70 rushing yards in the first half. Senior strongside linebacker Ian Minster led the Wolverines with 12 tackles while freshman weakside linebacker Jason Ferguson (Mineral Ridge, Ohio/Mineral Ridge) added nine stops, including two for loss.

Junior defensive tackle Tony Clark (Stow, Ohio/Stow) and freshman linebacker Marc Shamley (Orlando, Fla./Pine Castle Christian) each recorded sacks for Grove City. 

DiDonato finished the day 8 for 21 for 120 yards. Sophomore wingback A.J. Tapper (Cambridge Springs, Pa./Cambridge Springs) caught three passes for 26 yards while senior wide receiver Stephen Mercer (East Liverpool, Ohio/Beaver Local) had two catches for 49 yards. Grove City out-gained Waynesburg, 322-248.

Grove City held the ball for 17 minutes, 39 seconds in the second half and owned a two-minute edge in time of possession for the game. The Wolverines converted eight of 15 third-down opportunities. Defensively, Grove City limited Waynesburg to 3-for-14 efficiency on third down.

It is the Wolverines' first victory at Waynesburg since a 32-29, quadruple-overtime win in 2000.

Grove City will visit Westminster next Saturday in PAC action at 1:30 p.m.

Box Score

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