BEAVER FALLS, Pa. – The Westminster football team won, 52-21, at Geneva College in their Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) opener Friday night.
The Titans led 45-7 at halftime, marking the second-straight game Westminster has led by 35+ points at intermission.
Sophomore Ian Barr (State College, PA / State College Area) led the Titan defense with a school-record three forced fumbles, tying third in the history of NCAA Division III for a single game, all in the first half. Barr capped off his historic first half with a 21-yard fumble return for a touchdown.
Have a day (half) junior Ian Barr! Barr already has a school-record 3 forced fumbles, yes 3, and he caps off his historic first-half performance with a 21-yard fumble return for a TD! @d3football #SCTop10 (Geneva video credit) pic.twitter.com/96D7gmVDOt— Westminster Titans (PA) Athletics (@WC_Titans) March 27, 2021
Westminster junior Vincent Giles (Lexington Park, MD / Great Mills), an All-PAC cornerback turned running back, ran for a career-high three touchdowns (including the first of his career) and a career-best 80 yards on the ground. Junior quarterback Cole Konieczka (Coraopolis, PA / Moon Area) went 17-of-23 for 197 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. First-year wide receiver Marcel Smith-Austin (Sharon, PA / Sharon) had a breakout performance with 63 yards and two touchdowns, while classmate Matthew Randza (Beaver Falls, PA / Blackhawk) had a game-high 71 receiving yards, including an incredible 37-yard grab in between two defenders. Sophomore Jarred Kohl (York, Pa / York Catholic) led the defense with a career-high seven tackles, including two for a loss. Geneva (0-1, 0-1 PAC) scored on the first possession of game with a 1-yard run by Boston Tafelski. Westminster (2-0, 1-0 PAC) answered on its first possession with a 10-play, 72-yard drive, capped off with 1-yard rushing score of its own courtesy of Giles. On Geneva's ensuing possession, Barr knocked out the first forced fumble of his record-setting day and first-year Corte Williams (Sharon, PA / Sharon) returned the ball 19 yards and Westminster took over at the Golden Tornadoes' 29. The Titans capitalized as senior Frank Antuono (New Castle, PA / Neshannock) ran it in from four yards out to put Westminster in front, 14-7, with 5:10 to play in the first quarter.
Junior Bryce Thomas (Saint Marys, GA / Camden County) set up Westminster's next scoring drive with a tackle for a loss on a Geneva fourth down. Sophomore Tanner Dudek (Leechburg, PA / Leechburg Area) made a 27-yard field, his first of the season, extending the Titans' lead to 17-7 with 9:10 to play in the first half. The Titan defense forced a three-and-out and Westminster drove right down the field, capped off with Giles's second rushing touchdown of the night and the Titans led 24-7 with 3:23 on the clock.
Three minutes was plenty of time for the Titans to score three more times before halftime as Barr registered his second forced fumble and two plays later, Konieczka found Smith-Austin for a 14-yard touchdown, Smith-Austin's first of his collegiate career. On Geneva's very next offensive snap, Barr ripped the ball out for the school-record third time, on the second-straight play, and junior Branden Millward (Cranberry Twp, PA / Seneca Valley) jumped on the ball at Geneva's 29. Déjà vu happened as Konieczka found Smith-Austin on the Titans' ensuing snap – this time from 29 yards out. Barr capped off his historic night on Geneva's next possession as he returned the ball 21 yards for a touchdown – his first touchdown of the season and second career. The Titans went in at halftime up 45-7.
Giles scored his third rushing touchdown of the game in the third quarter, while Geneva managed to score twice in the fourth.
Westminster will head into its bye week before playing at Grove City in a PAC showdown on Friday, April 9 at 7 p.m.