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NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. (Titan Athletics)– The Westminster College football team defeated Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) opponent Carnegie Mellon University, 23-19, at home for Senior Day Saturday afternoon.
Westminster improved to 6-3 overall and 6-2 in the PAC, while Carnegie Mellon dropped to 4-4 overall and 3-4 in conference play.
The Titans took no time to score their first points of the game, as junior quarterback Augustus Necastro (Brookfield, OH / Brookfield) found senior Bryson Paulinellie (DuBois, PA / Dubois Area) for a 75-yard touchdown reception on the first play from scrimmage. Sophomore John Cybak’s (Massillon, OH / Tuslaw) extra point was blocked, and the Titans led 6-0. The Tartans scored their first points of the game from a Brandon Nguyen 37-yard field goal (6-3) at the 5:34 mark of the first quarter. Cybak answered with a field goal of his own on the next Titan possession (from 33 yards) and Westminster went up, 9-3, with 1:07 left in the first. After a three-and-out by Carnegie Mellon early in the second quarter, Westminster had its possession halted after an interception by Thomas Polutchko and returned it 35 yards for a score, putting the Tartans ahead 10-9 (Nguyen’s PAT was good). Westminster’s defense answered on Carnegie Mellon’s next possession as freshman cornerback Vincent Giles (Lexington Park, MD / Great Mills) intercepted Tartan quarterback Alex Cline’s pass and returned it 92 yards for a touchdown. The interception was Giles’s first of his career. Westminster went up, 16-10 (Cybak’s PAT was no good) and led by the same at half.
The Tartans scored the only points of the third quarter after an 11-play, 48-yard drive that resulted in a Nguyen 21-yard field goal, cutting Westminster’s lead to 16-13. The Titans would lead by the same at the end of three. After defensive stops from both teams, Carnegie Mellon took the lead, 19-16, with just 55 seconds left to play as Cline found Kris Hughes for a 20-yard touchdown. Westminster junior Joey Lane (Frederick, MD / Oakdale) blocked the point after attempt. The Titans started the ensuing drive at their own 41-yard line. After a defensive holding call on the Tartans, senior quarterback Shamon Walker (Pittsburgh, PA / Milton Hershey) found junior Connor Cox (Ridge, MD / Leonardtown) for 14 yards through the air and a first down at the CMU 27-yard line. On the next play, Walker scrambled right and ran the length of the sideline and dove into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown with 13 seconds remaining. Cybak’s kick gave Westminster a four-point, 23-19 advantage. Freshman Bryce Thomas (Saint Marys, GA / Camden County) picked off Cline on the last play of the game (his second of the season) to seal the Titan victory.
On the ground, Walker led all Titans with 61 yards and a touchdown. Paulinellie tied a game-high with six catches for a game- and career-high 122 yards and a touchdown. Cox caught four passes for 60 yards. On the defensive side, senior Travis Lauster (Prospect, PA / Slippery Rock) and junior Paul Gonzalez (Miami, FL / Florida Christian) each tied a game-high with 11 tackles for Westminster. Lauster’s total was a career-high, as he had five solo, six assisted and one tackle for a loss. Gonzalez had three solo, eight assisted, one tackle for loss and a pass breakup. Senior John Fitzgerald (Youngstown, OH / Youngstown East) tallied 10 tackles (four solo), four tackles for loss (20 yards), a game-high 2.5 sacks (17 yards) and two QB hurries. Senior Miguel Luis (Hollywood, FL / Mater Academy) had 10 tackles (three solo). Thomas registered nine tackles (thee solo), two pass breakups and an interception.
Westminster finishes out the regular season as it travels to PAC opponent Geneva College on Saturday, November 10 with a start time of 1 p.m.

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