SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (Titan Athletics)– The Westminster College football team lost, 34-21, at No. 14 nationally-ranked Wittenberg University in its 2018 season opener Saturday afternoon.
The Titans were down 20-0 with 13:19 left in the second quarter. Westminster got on the scoreboard late in the frame after Titan junior quarterback Augustus Necastro (Brookfield, OH / Brookfield), a transfer from Slippery Rock University, capped off an 8-play, 72-yard drive with a seven-yard touchdown run. The Tigers went into halftime with a 20-7 lead.
In the second half, Westminster’s next scoring drive was set up by a 45-yard interception return by senior Marvin Liberiste (Naples, FL / Lely) to Wittenberg’s 23-yard line. Two plays later, junior Keano Grice (Delray Beach, FL / West Boca Raton) ran it in from 20 yards out, putting the Titans within a touchdown with 5:59 left in the third quarter. Sophomore John Cybak’s (Massillon, OH / Tuslaw) extra point made the score 20-14.
The Tigers answered to open the fourth quarter with a 22-yard pass from Jake Kennedy to Jeff Tiffner, Kennedy’s third touchdown toss on the afternoon. After a successful two-point conversion, Wittenberg led 28-14. The Titans responded on their ensuing possession with a 13-play, 70-yard drive, capped off by Necastro finding senior Jaevon Hardy (Waldorf, MD / North Point) for a 10-yard touchdown pass. Cybak’s point-after-touchdown made it a one-possession game (28-21) with 8:55 left to play. Wittenberg followed with a 40-yard field goal by Adam Acquista to go up by ten with 6:25 remaining. After an hour-and-a-half weather delay, Acquista scored the last points of the game with a 45 yarder.
For the game, Necastro went 21-for-38 for 158 yards and a touchdown. Grice ran it eight times for 36 yards. Hardy caught four balls for 46 yards. Senior Travis Lauster (Prospect, PA / Slippery Rock) led the Titan defense with nine tackles, followed by freshman Bryce Thomas (Saint Marys, GA / Camden County) and sophomore Nicholas Casadei (Lake Worth, FL / Park Vista) with seven tackles each. Junior Darius Doty (Greensburg, PA / Greensburg-Salem) registered a team-high 2.5 tackles for a loss, which included a sack.
Wittenberg compiled 286 (230 passing, 56 rushing) total yards to Westminster’s 209 (158 passing, 51 rushing).
The Titans will next travel to Waynesburg University on Saturday, September 8 in their Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) opener. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m.