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September 28, 2013

Comeback falls short

BETHANY, W.Va. -- The Grove City College football team dropped a 34-31 decision at Bethany Saturday afternoon in Presidents' Athletic Conference play at Bison Stadium.

Grove City trailed 21-3 at halftime but pulled to within 27-24 with 5:22 left in the game when junior wingback Sam Ivan (Whitehouse, Ohio/Toledo Christian) caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Brian Pell (Streamwood, Ill./Wheaton Academy).

Sophomore tailback Steve Maskrey (Cranesville, Pa./Northwestern) converted the two-point conversion, capping a five-play, 70-yard drive.

Bethany (1-3, 1-1 PAC) pushed its lead back to 34-24 with 2:43 left. On second-and-goal from the 2, the Wolverines stripped Bethany quarterback Matt Grimard but Bethany center James Norkus fell on the ball in the end zone for the touchdown.

Grove City quickly answered as Pell fired a 14-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Khalil Ervin (Malvern, Pa./Phoenixville) with 1:22 remaining.

The Wolverines then retained possession when sophomore linebacker Tyler Campbell (Pittsburgh, Pa./Keystone Oaks) snagged an onside kick by senior kicker Pat Donoughe (Summerhill, Pa./Forest Hills).

Bethany snuffed out the comeback on the second play of the drive, however, when Chanan Scott intercepted Pell at the Bethany 30.

Pell opened the second-half scoring for Grove City (2-2, 0-2 PAC) with a one-yard touchdown run, cutting the lead to 21-10 with 4:30 remaining in the third quarter. Early in the fourth quarter, Pell threw a six-yard touchdown pass to junior wingback Brian Wells (Aurora, Ohio/Aurora), cutting Bethany's lead to 21-16 with 13:45 left.

Pell completed 23 of 29 passes for a season-high 289 yards. Ervin caught five passes for 52 yards while sophomore tailback Gabriel Moore (Lawrenceburg, Ind./Landmark Christian) had five receptions for 23 yards. Senior wide receiver Anthony Ritchie (Big Rock, Ill./Wheaton Academy) had four receptions for 67 yards.

Maskrey led Grove City on the ground with 65 yards on 18 carries. Ivan added 45 on a pair of runs. Grove City owned a 431-393 edge in total offense.

Senior free safety Joe Diani (West Leechburg, Pa./Leechburg) intercepted a pass in the end zone to end a Bethany drive in the first quarter. He also broke up a pair of passes.

Senior strong safety Chris Gibbs (Akron, Ohio/Revere) led Grove City with a team-high 10 tackles while senior inside linebacker Ben Manwaring (Lisle, N.Y./Whitney Point) recorded 1.5 sacks. Sophomore nose tackle Brent Veerman (Powell, Ohio/Columbus Crusaders) had two tackles for loss and a half sack.

Grimard completed 26 of 32 passes for 323 yards. Eric Blinn caught 10 passes for 163 yards while Chris Collins had eight catches for 65 yards and two first-half touchdowns. Grove City held Bethany to just 70 rushing yards on 31 attempts.

Freshman kicker Ryan Stewart (Indiana, Pa./Indiana) opened the scoring for Grove City with a 27-yard field goal at the 2:26 mark of the first quarter. That capped a 14-play, 49-yard drive that consumed 8:36.

Each team had possession for exactly 30 minutes.

Grove City will host conference rival Westminster next Saturday at 2 p.m. in the annual Homecoming game at Robert E. Thorn Field.

Box Score

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