GCC Beats Mules in OT, 31-24
GROVE CITY, PA, November 6, 1999--R.J. Bowers (West Middlesex, PA/West Middlesex) capped another record-breaking day with a 13-yard touchdown run in overtime, giving Grove City a 31-24 win over visiting Muhlenberg, who won last year's meeting in OT, 34-31.
The victory marked the Wolverines' fourth in a row and sixth in their last
seven games. Grove City closed the regular season at 6-4 overall, while Muhlenberg
fell to 5-4 with one game to play.
Bowers's 13-yard blast into the end zone came on the first possession of OT. The Mules, who won the toss and elected defense to start the extra period, then moved the ball to Grove Citys eight. On fourth-and-goal, Mule QB Michael McCabe attempted a fade pass to wideout Kenyamo McFarlane. Wolverine cornerback Brock McCullough (Spruce, PA/Purchase Line) knocked the pass away, sealing the non-conference victory. Last year, McCabe and McFarlane connected on a 25-yard game-winning touchdown.
Brocks a great defensive back, 16th-year head
coach Chris Smith said. Weve
known that since last year. Hes been
playing well and the best thing about Brock is that hell be back next year.
Bowers, who set a new school record with 46 carries, finished the day with
169 yards. His junior season ends with 2,098
yards rushing. He is the first player in NCAA
Division III history to rush for 2,000 yards in two different seasons. Bowers rushed for 2,283 yards last year. The
All-American became Division III's second all-time leading rusher with 5,620 career
yards. He moved into 11th-place on the NCAA's all-divisions career rushing list,
ahead of Southern California's Charles White (5,598).
The All-American became Division III's second all-time leading rusher with 5,620 career yards. He moved into 11th-place on the NCAA's all-divisions career rushing list, ahead of Southern California's Charles White (5,598).
When you hit overtime, you got to just ram it down their throat,
Bowers said. When our backs
against the wall like that, I want to take charge and plug it into the end zone.
The Senior-Parents Day crowd saw the Mules move the ball 80 yards in
1:29 on the games first possession. McCabe
completed an 18-yard scoring strike to Anthony Wolfsohn after Wolfsohn rambled 40 yards on
the previous play.
After a Bowers fumble and a subsequent punt from Muhlenberg, Grove City
countered with a 17-play (all runs), 80-yard drive that consumed nearly nine minutes. Quarterback Steve Lacinski (New Kensington,
PA/Valley) bootlegged nine yards on 3rd-and-eight for his first rushing
touchdown of the season, knotting the game at seven.
Muhlenberg had an opportunity to re-take the lead, but cornerback Adam Booth
(North Canton, OH/Uniontown Lake) intercepted McCabe in the end zone, thwarting the drive.
The Wolverines took their first lead of the afternoon with 2:02 left in the
first half. The drive nearly stalled at
midfield, but Jack Gillespies (Imperial, PA/Montour) 22-yard sprint on
third-and-five kept it alive. Bowers capped
the drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge.
(Muhlenberg) played great defense against us, Smith said. Theyre a good football team.
Grove City extended the lead to 17-7 on Ben Shreves (Union City,
PA/Union City) 32-yard field goal seven minutes into the third quarter, thanks to a big
play from the Wolverine defense. Grove
Citys first drive of the second half ended at the Wolverine forty. However, the Mules possession lasted only
one play as strong safety Josh Sachleben (Ringtown, PA/North Schuylkill) intercepted a
McCabe pass, putting the Wolverines in Mule territory.
Muhlenbergs Joshua Carter quickly trimmed the lead, though. Carter took Shreves kickoff and raced 85
yards for a touchdown, slashing the lead to 17-14. Carter
then caught an eight-yard pass from McCabe late in the third quarter to put Muhlenberg
The Wolverines began the fourth quarter by opening up the seldom-used passing
attack. Lacinskis first two attempts
fell incomplete, but he connected with senior Garret Schmidt (Irwin, PA/Penn Trafford) on
his third atttempt of the period. Schmidt ran
an out-and-up, which caused the Mule cornerback to slip.
Schmidt hauled in the 41-yard bomb to put Grove City back ahead by three. It was Schmidts first touchdown of the
Its called a wiggle pattern, Lacinski explained. Its basically an out-and-up. The reason we run it a lot of times is because the
cornerback is biting on the out route. Schmidy
said he was going to be there. He said,
Just give me a shot at it. I gave
him a little pump fake, the defensive back bit on it, fell down and Garret was wide open
down the sidelines.
With the game tied at 24 following Chris Reeds field goal for
Muhlenberg, the Wolverines had an opportunity to win the game on a 48-yard field goal from
Shreve with four seconds left. Shreve had the
distance, but the kick was wide left, forcing overtime.
McCullough led Grove Citys defense with ten tackles. He also broke up four passes. Senior outside linebacker Tony Kunczewski (Irwin,
PA/Penn Trafford) recorded nine tackles, as well as his fifth sack of the season. Sachleben also had nine tackles and his first
career sack. Josh Broerman (Grove
City/PA/Grove City) also recorded a sack.
The Wolverines opened their season 0-3 before embarking on their winning
ways. The six wins in seven games is Grove
Citys best stretch since 1997, when the Wolverines won eight straight.
The kids played real well, Smith said. I thank them for their efforts and I think
the world of them. Theyre the ones that
made it possible. They should be proud of
their accomplishment because its not easy to go 0-3 and win six of seven.
The Wolverine seniors who played their final game are cornerback Jeremy
Bowers (Hartville, OH/Lake), stalwart guards Oscar Fish (Bowerston, OH/Conotton Valley)
and Chris Mullins (Munroe Falls, OH/Stow), nose tackle Jeremy Horton (Canton, OH/GlenOak),
Kunczewski, halfback Jeremy Moore (Leechburg, PA/Kiski), outside linebacker Burt Romanoff
(Washington, PA/Trinity), Schmidt and linebacker Brian Paul Smith (Cherry Creek, NY/Pine
Thats college football, Smith lamented. You dont keep players forever. Youd like to.
They turned into great senior leaders for us.
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