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November 11, 2013

LOCAL COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Thiel tops Titans in 4 OTs in first-ever home night game

MERCER COUNTY AREA — It took 109 years for Thiel College to play its first-ever home game under the lights. So it was worth the wait to see it end, even though the contest took 4 overtime periods to complete.

Thiel defeated Westminster, 45-37, in a thrilling contest in the first college game under the newly installed lights for the Tomcats.

Thiel (3-6, 3-4 PAC), down 21-14 with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, had the ball fourth-and-10 from its own 23-yard line. The Tomcats' desperation pass went 77 yards for a touchdown as quarterback Andrew Smith found Tim Walker wide open, the longest play from scrimmage that the Titan defense has allowed all season. Thiel knotted the game at 21-21 after an extra point from Jon Fennick with 1:18 on the clock.

Both teams scored on their first possession in the first overtime. Britt scored off a 1-yard run and Thiel's Andrew Smith matched it with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Berend Grube.

In the second overtime, Westminster's defense forced Thiel to kick a field goal. A 39-yard field goal off the foot of Fennick gave the Tomcats a 31-28 lead. On its next possession, Westminster had the ball third-and-goal at Thiel's 7-yard line, but the Tomcat's Rob Edwards broke up Britt's pass as he was trying to find Collin Wallace in the back of the end zone. The Titans tied the game, 31-31, after a 24-yard field goal from freshman Justin Dahl.

The game was tied 37-37 after the third overtime as both teams scored, but were unable to convert on the mandatory two-point conversion. Britt scored the Titan touchdown off a 9-yard scramble and Thiel's Andrew Smith found Matt Fedzen for a 20-yard touchdown on fourth-and-five.

The Tomcats got the ball first in the fourth overtime and took a 45-37 lead after a 7-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Josh Potter and a two-point conversion pass from Smith to Fedzen.

Westminster had its turn and was set back third-and-long after a fumble and a loss of 7 yards on second down. Two Titan incompletions ended the game.

In the beginning of the game, Thiel scored first in its opening play from scrimmage with a 51-yard run from Ryan Radke. A successful extra point from Fennick gave the Tomcats an early 7-0 lead with 14:40 on the clock.

Westminster answered later in the first quarter after Britt scored on a run from three yards out. The play was set up from a 27-yard reception from Wallace. After Dahl kicked the extra point, the score was tied, 7-7, with 3:58 remaining in the first quarter.

Westminster took the lead midway through the second quarter after Britt scored his second touchdown of the game off a 20-yard run. The Titans led, 14-7, after an extra point from Dahl with 6:43 on the clock.

The Tomcats responded on their ensuing possession with a 15-play, 77-yard drive which was capped off with a two-yard touchdown run from Rich Kolsar. Fennick's extra point tied the game at 14-14 with 14:56 remaining in regulation.

The Titans countered on their next possession and regained the lead, 21-14, after a 10-yard touchdown catch from Wallace and an extra point from Dahl with 8:17 on the clock.

Titan senior Wallace broke three school records, while classmate quarterback   Britt etched his name in the school and in the PAC record books after a career-day rushing.

Wallace's game-highs of eight receptions and 93 yards moved him to first for most career receiving yards (2146), most career receptions (145), and most yards in a single season (984) in school history.

Britt set a school and a PAC record with a game- and career-high 245 yards rushing, for the most yards on the ground by a quarterback in a game. He also tied a school record for most rushing touchdowns in a game with four. Britt was only nine yards away from tying a school record for most rushing yards in a single game for any position.

For Thiel, Wes Schmidt led the defense with 14 tackles, while Tom Thorpe had 13. For Westminster, Junior Rich Ellebie (Kennedy Catholic High) and sophomore Joe Glennon had 10 tackles each, a career-high for both Titans.

ä Slippery Rock 55, Seton Hill 21 — Slippery Rock University locked up sole possession of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference-Western Division football championship Saturday afternoon with a 55-21 win over hosting Seton Hill University at Offutt Field.

The win gave SRU, which shared the crown in 2011, its first undisputed division title since 1999. The Rock shared the division title in both 2000 and 2011.

Equally importantly, The Rock's seventh consecutive win, ninth victory in 10 games this fall and sixth triumph in seven division games earned the Green and White a berth in next Saturday's PSAC Championship Game.

The Rock will travel to Bloomsburg for the title game after the Huskies knocked off previously-unbeaten West Chester, 31-28, Saturday to win a share of the PSAC-Eastern Division title.

Bloomsburg (9-1) finished their division schedule tied with Shippensburg and West Chester for first place but earned the title-game berth on tiebreaker criteria.

The Rock outgained Seton Hill by a 562-301 margin in total offense behind a 468-yard passing attack.

On the flip side, The Rock defense had another stellar effort in stopping the run as Seton Hill managed only 50 yards on 50 rushing attempts.

Senior wide receivers John Schademan and Ken Amos paced the winning offensive attack. Schademan caught nine passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns, while Amos caught eight passes for 133 yards and one TD. Redshirt freshman Leroy McClain had three catches for 74 yards.

Senior quarterback Nigel Barksdale completed 15 of 30 passes for 262 yards and three TDs with two interceptions, while his backup, redshirt freshman Zack Newsock threw for 206 yards and two TDs, also with two INTs.

Redshirt freshman running back Dominic Dingle scored his first collegiate TD on a 22-yard run to account for The Rock's final score.

The other Rock TD came on an 82-yard kickoff return by true freshman Drew Scales.

The Rock held a 28-0 lead before Seton Hill ruined the shutout with a touchdown 12 seconds prior to Scales' kick-return TD with 8:21 left to play in the third quarter.

SRU enjoyed a 49-7 lead with five minutes left to play before the hosts scored a pair of TDs in the final minutes to offset Dingle's TD run.

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