Saturday, October 26, 2013BETHANY, W. Va. - A blocked punt and a recovery in the end zone from Titan senior Dylan Heitmeier (Venetia, PA / Peters Township), with 44 seconds left in the game, proved to be the game-winning touchdown as the Westminster College football team defeated Bethany, 7-6.
The Titans improved to 3-4 overall and 2-3 in the Presidents' Athletic Conference, while the Bison dropped to 3-4 overall and 3-2 in the conference.
In Bethany's last drive of the first quarter, the Bison ate up six and half minutes of the clock on a 10-play, 87 yard drive. After a Titan defensive goal line stand, Bethany settled for a 23-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 1:59 remaining on the clock.
The Titan defense stepped up again in Bethany's second drive of the second quarter. The Bison had the ball first-and-goal on Westminster's three-yard line. The Titan defense, led by seniors Taylor Heinrich (Brookville, PA / Brookeville), Nate Moot (Johnstown, PA / Bishop McCort) and Sean Christofferson (New Wilmington, PA / Wilmington) and junior Corey Neill (Aliquippa, PA / Central Valley), allowed only one yard off three Bethany rushing attempts and forced a 22-yard field goal. Bethany led 6-0 with 3:37 remaining in the first half.
Westminster had its best drive in its first possession of the third quarter as the Titans orchestrated a 13-play, 79-yard drive, which took over seven minutes off the clock, down to Bethany's two-yard line. However, a Titan rushing attempt on fourth-and-goal was stopped for no gain and Westminster turned the ball over on downs.
The Titans had another chance deep in Bethany's territory on the second possession of the fourth quarter as Westminster had a 14-play, 78-yard drive that took just under seven minutes. However, an incompletion on fourth-and-goal from the Bison's 12-yard line kept Bethany ahead 6-0 with 3:24 to go in regulation.
On the Bison's ensuing possession, Bethany was called for two crucial penalties (a hold and a personal foul) and was forced to punt from its own 20-yard line. Westminster tied the game, 6-6, after Heitmeier made the play of the day as he blocked Bethany's punt and recovered the ball in the end zone. After a successful extra point field goal from sophomore Jake Schnelbach (Pittsburgh, PA / Bishop Canevin), Westminster took its first lead of the game, 7-6, with 44 seconds left in the game.
The Titan defense sealed the win after forcing Bethany to a four-and-out. Heinrich had a key sack for a loss of 10 yards on the drive forcing 3rd-and-20.
Titan junior Rich Ellebie (Farrell, PA / Farrell) had a career-high nine tackles, including 2.5 tackles for a loss, and a sack. Classmate Dave Buzzacco (Canfield, OH / South Range) tied Ellebie for a team-high nine tackles, while Moot added eight.
Britt led the Titan offense with 196 total yards, including a game-high 108 rushing yards off 16 attempts.
Schnelbach averaged 39.3 yards per punt off six attempts, including a long of 51 yards, two kicks inside the 20-yard line, and a touchback.
Westminster will host Waynesburg next Saturday at 1 p.m.
Highlights courtesy of Corey Benedict ‘14, Scott Hanicak ‘14, and Amanda Sloan ‘16:
Heitmeier's play was one of the finalists for D3football.com's Week 8 Play of the Week:
About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College ranks first in the nation as "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," according to Forbes.com. Westminster is a top-tier liberal arts college and a national leader in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 378 Colleges" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.
Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 41 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit www.westminster.edu/advantage to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.