Football set for Saint Francis after Benedictine beatdownBy ANDY RUSSELL Sports Editor
It has been a long season so far, but the GC football team wouldn’t have it anyother way. With a 21-7 victory over Benedictine College, GC put themselves into the second round of the NAIA playoffs. GC came into the game against Benedictine boasting an undefeated record and a number three ranking nationally, neither of which were hurt after the defensive battle.
Early on, it looked as if GC was going to struggle after freshman quarterback Neal Pawsat threw an interception on the first playfrom scrimmage that Benedictine returned for a touchdown.After that, GC was able to settle down and takeover the game. On the ensuing drive, Pawsat was able to hit Chris Gohman at the end of an 80-yard drive to tie the game at 7-7.
This was a big drive for Pawsat as it settled himdown and got GC back onto a positive note after a bad first play from scrimmage.
After a few defensive stands by both teams,Pawsat was able to find a crease in the defense and hit Rob Maden for a 26-yard touchdown late in the second quarter. This would prove to be all the points GC would need to win the game. The GC defense,which came into the game ranked fifth in the country while surrendering only 12.8 points per game, was able to stand strong the rest of the game and didn’t surrender any more points to Benedictine. They were able to,at times, get deep within GC territory but the defense would always hold strong, making multiple stands inside their own 20.The defense has been strong this season and, even though they have given up chunks of yards at times,they haven’t given up the big play yet. The final score ofthe game came on an Adam Schmitz one-yard touchdown dive after a 7:55 second drive early in the fourth quarter. Pawsat was named the offensive player of the game, finishing 23-of-39 with 267 yards and two touchdowns.
Winston Hines, who has been a staple of the defense all season, matching upwith many tough receivers in the Mid-South Conference,
was named the defensive player of the game as he finished with two interceptions, including the one to finish off the Ravens.
This was obviously a big game for GC as it propelled them into the second round of the playoffs where they will face a familiar foe: Saint Francis. The Cougars of Saint Francis have been ranked high all season, as high as number two in the nation and had to start on the road this post season.There is a rich football history at Saint Francis, and even richer is the story between the two head coaches.
Kevin Donley, the current head coach at Saint Francis, coached at GC from 1982-1992 and led the Tigers to their first national title in 1991. Donley is second in line in terms of victories at GC, trailing only current coach Bill Cronin.
Even more ironic is the fact that Cronin was on Donley’s staff that won the ‘91 title. This is a storyline that is sure to play out during the game as Cronin and Donley go at each other with a familiar style of play that is undoubtedly the same. Just to add another interesting aspect to this game is the fact that SaintFrancis has been killer to GC in the playoffs in the past: they knocked them out of the playoffs in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
As GC looks to get backon the field and exact some revenge on this team, there are things to keep in mind and few keys to this game.The first is defense: will the defense of GC continue to play at a high level and limit the big play capability of Saint Francis? Second is youth: GC has 63 underclassmem, including a freshman quarterback. The youth are going to have to respond with positive energy and make the plays they need to in order to succeed.
Finally there is the opposite of youth: veteran leadership.In the playoffs, you have to depend on your veterans for success and GChas done just that. Now isn’t the time for them to foldup. This is a huge game for the Tigers as it is against a former coach, a top-ranked school and has a berth to the semi-finals on the line. The Tigers will take the field at Toyota Stadium on Saturday. Kick-off is set for 1:30.
Basketball gets big road winsBy ANDY RUSSELL Sports Editor
With the football team having a perfect record and going into the second round of the NAIA playoffs, many people here have forgotten about our basketball team that is still perfect at 8-0 and 2-0 in Mid-South Conference play. Many people orgot about them for one, because of the football team. However, they were also on the road all week this week, winning all three of their road games.
The first, a rematch of an earlier game in the season, was at Park University where the Tigers road some hot shooting and were able to pull-out the win 95-85. The most recent game was a match-up against UVA-Wise where the Tigers held the opponent to .071 percent shooting from three-point range en route to a 75-54 win.
You might be asking yourself, “What about the second road game?” Well, the second road game was the big one, a rematch between conference foes and a rivalry that has spawned over the last few years: University of Pikeville. The University of Pikeville, formerly Pikeville College, were last year’s NAIA National Champions after making an immaculate run to the fails after simply receiving an at-large bid to get into the tournament. GC also made it to the Fab Four where they were beat by Mountain State.
So this game was a rematch of two of the final four teams in the tournament last year which meant is was set to be a big, heated and highly contested game.
The game lived up to the billing, despite the five technical fouls. Even better was the fact that GC came out on top 86-84. GC played a great first half and led by eleven at the half, but Pikeville made a stellar comeback in the second half as they did all last season, and ended up cutting the deficit to one with 6.8 seconds left.Russ Middleton was able to step up to the charity stripe and make it a two point lead, which proved to be the final margin.
This was a huge game for GC because it proved the road to the MSC title still runs through Georgetown. Even though Pikeville were and still is the defending national champion, teams aren’t going to lay down for them and GC showed that on the court this past week.
However these games are in the past and GC has to look forward to the next week, where they will certainly be tested in their next two conference games.
Their next game is Dec. 1 against a hungry St. Catharine team. St. Catharine always proves to be a tough opponent in the conference and this year won’t be any different.
After that they play Campbellsville on Dec. 3, a team that gives GC fits every year. Campbellsville is a very good team and GC will have to prepare hard for them as well.
As the season really hits the conference stride the Tigers need more support than ever to win some key games at home. Come out and support them as they defend their undefeated record against several conference foes.