GROVE CITY, Pa. – In a conference showdown between unbeatens, the Westminster football team won, 24-17, at Grove City in a Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) classic Friday night.
Tied at 17 with less than nine minutes remaining in the game, Westminster (3-0, 2-0 PAC) orchestrated a 9-play, 95-yard drive, capped off with the go-ahead and eventual game-winning touchdown when junior Cole Konieczka (Coraopolis, PA / Moon Area) flipped the ball to classmate Vincent Giles (Lexington Park, MD / Great Mills) who ran it in the end zone from seven yards out.
Reigning PAC Defensive Player of the Week Ian Barr (State College, PA / State College Area) had another incredible performance with a fumble recovery that stopped Grove City's momentum to begin the second half, a crucial break up on a Wolverine fourth down with two minutes remaining, and the game-sealing interception.
Big-time play by Westminster's defense halting Grove City's second half opening drive with JR Bryce Thomas popping the ball out and who else but JR Ian Barr with the fumble recovery!#titanpride #d3football pic.twitter.com/5QJOkvPAbX— Westminster Titans (PA) Athletics (@WC_Titans) April 10, 2021
Westminster had an impressive opening drive to start the game, marching down the field going 15 plays and 66 yards (including a perfect 4-for-4 on third downs), capped off with a one-yard touchdown by senior Frank Antuono (New Castle, PA / Neshannock). Antuono now has a team-leading four rushing touchdowns on the season. The Titan defense held Grove City (2-1, 1-1 PAC) to a field goal on its opening drive (32-yarder by Nick Morrow) and Westminster led 7-3 with 5:18 left in the first quarter. Westminster followed with a field goal of its own, with a career-long 40-yard kick by senior Dylan Kidder (East Liverpool, OH / East Liverpool). The boot was the first Titan field goal for 40 yards or longer since John Cybak made a 47-yarder in 2017. Westminster led 10-3 after one (the 12-play scoring drive was extended with a well-executed fake punt nine-yard run by sophomore Jason Hall (Struthers, OH / Struthers) on 4th-and-6). Westminster's defense stopped Grove City on fourth down on the ensuing drive, but was unable to convert on a field goal attempt. On the Wolverines' next possession, the Titans thought they had a 59-yard interception return for a touchdown, but it was negated due to a defensive holding call. The Wolverines, however, did not take advantage with a missed field goal of their own.
The Wolverines were moving down the field on their opening possession of the second half, however, the Titan defense answered once again halting the drive with junior Bryce Thomas (Saint Marys, GA / Camden County) popping the ball out from Grove City's Zach Trusky and Barr recovering at Westminster's 26-yard line. The Titans capitalized on the turnover with a 13-play, 74-yard drive, ending with a 1-yard touchdown run by sophomore Ryan Gomes (Tampa, FL / Walter L. Sickles).
Grove City fought back with two-straight scores, courtesy of the hands of Nick Gustafson who caught both touchdowns (11 and 10 yards, respectively) and the game was tied at 17 with 11:06 minutes remaining in the fourth.
Gomes finished with a game- and career-high 94 rushing yards and a score. Barr and senior Dana Logue (Sligo, PA / Union) registered a team-high 10 tackles each (career-high for Logue). Barr also had a game-high 1.5 tackles for a loss.
The Titans will close out the regular season against Carnegie Mellon at home Friday, April 16 at 7 p.m., a week before the PAC Championship Game.