Waynesburg 33, Grove City 26

October 17, 1998--
On a day that saw sophomore R.J. Bowers (West Middlesex, PA/West Middlesex) rewrite six more records, Grove City fell to host Waynesburg, 33-26, putting the Wolverines' Presidents' Athletic Conference championship hopes on hold for another week.

The Wolverines appeared headed for their second straight conference crown when sophomore quarterback Steve Lacinski (New Kensington, PA/Valley) ran a naked bootleg 69 yards for a touchdown, giving Grove City a 26-13 lead with 11:19 left in the fourth quarter.  But Waynesburg, who had trailed the entire game, rallied with three scoring drives, punctuated on touchdown passes of 62, 23 and 39 yards. 

"It may have been the hardest fought contest we have had this year," admitted 15-year head coach Chris Smith.  "It was extremely difficult to accept defeat but our players can be proud of their effort."

Grove City (4-3, 3-1 PAC) can claim a share of  the conference title if Washington & Jefferson (3-3, 1-1 PAC) defeats Waynesburg (3-3, 3-0 PAC) next Saturday in Washington, PA.  A Waynesburg win gives the Yellow Jackets their first ever PAC title outright.   W&J makes it a three-way tie for first with wins over Waynesburg and Thiel on November 14.

Bowers rushed for 228 yards on 33 carries and three touchdowns (41, 1, 81) to eclipse the school's career and single-season rushing records set by Doug Steiner last season.   The 6-1, 230-pound fullback raised his career total to 2,864 yards and his season total to 1,625 yards, breaking Steiner's 2,726 career standard and 1,490 season mark.  He also set new PAC records for single-season rushing yards, rushing yards per game and touchdowns.  His 1,112 yards against four PAC opponents broke the old record of 999 yards set by John Carroll's Tim Barrett in 1974 in seven games.  Bowers averaged 278.0 yards per PAC contest, shattering the old average of 197.0 yards set by W&J's Chris Babirad in 1991.  His three TDs gave him 16 against PAC foes (23 total), which broke the old single-season touchdown record of 13 set by Joe Vasalani of Carnegie Mellon in seven games in 1983.  

With six kickoff returns for 127 yards, Bowers also broke his own school record for all-purpose yards in a game with a 355 aggregate.

Lacinski completed six of 11 passes for 127 yards.  Sophomore split end Jake Dailey (Karns City, PA/Karns City) had two catches for 96 yards.

The Wolverines accumulated 406 yards of total offense, compared to Waynesburg's 386 yards.

Senior linebacker Casey Creehan (Belle Mead, NJ/Vermillion (SD)) registered a team-high 13 tackles, including six solos and two sacks.  Junior strong safety Tony Kunczewski (Irwin, PA/Penn Trafford) had 11 hits, including seven solos.  Freshman free safety Mike Kashurba (Latrobe, PA/Greater Latrobe) recorded his league-leading fifth interception of the season.

Grove City returns to Thorn Field next Saturday, October 24, to host Kenyon at 1:30 p.m.  The Wolverines defeated the Lords, 37-30, in last year's meeting.   "We are looking forward to playing at home this Saturday, " said Smith.   "Kenyon is an opponent we have a great deal of respect for.  In the last two seasons, one touchdown has been the difference.  We expect a great college football game."


Final Score
Waynesburg 33, Grove City 26

CO-OFFENSIVE: QB Steve Lacinski (So., 5-11/175, New Kensington, PA/Valley) ... rushed for a 69-yard touchdown and completed six of 11 passes for 127 yards ... Coach Smith, "Steve made several big plays for the second week in a row.  His long pass and TD run were key pressure plays." ... FB R.J. Bowers (So., 6-1/230, West Middlesex, PA/West Middlesex) ... ran for 228 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries and piled up a school-record 355 all-purpose yards ... Coach Smith, "R.J. stepped up to a level by himself on Saturday.  He set school and conference records that have stood for man years.  I am proud of his effort and happy for his accomplishments."

DEFENSIVE: DE Kris Bubel (So., 6-0/240, Tamaqua, PA/Marian Catholic) ... recorded eight total tackles, including two quarterback sacks ... Coach Smith, "Kris played hard all afternoon.  It was a hot, tough game and Kris responded with a great effort."

SPECIAL TEAMS: Dave Long (Fr., 6-0/200/Pittsburgh, PA/North Catholic) and Mike Orlando (Fr., 5-8/190, Wickliffe, OH/Wickliffe).

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