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Western Pennsylvania Small College Football Roundup: IUP Takes Down Shepherd, Clinches 19th PSAC Title



IUP Takes Down Shepherd, Clinches 19th PSAC Title

For the first time since 2017, No. 19 Indiana (Pa.) claimed the PSAC title with a 24-21 victory over No. 3 Shepherd.

IUP quarterback Mak Sexton continued his dominant season by throwing 169 yards and three touchdowns on his way to earning PSAC Championship MVP honors. 

Despite not getting into the end zone, the Crimson Hawks’ run game came up big on multiple occasions, but none was bigger than the final drive to drain the clock. Redshirt sophomore Adam Houser broke away for 41 yards to help seal the deal as IUP withstood a fourth-quarter comeback from the Rams. 

While the IUP offense found the end zone three times, the defense limited the top-scoring offense in the conference. Shepherd quarterback Tyson Bagent threw two interceptions including one to Kalen Frazier who returned it 67-yards to set up IUP’s second score of the game.

With the win, IUP totaled nine overall wins and now secures a spot in the 2022 Division II Playoffs.

Limited Slippery Rock Squad Drops Season Finale

No. 9 Slippery Rock entered its season finale against Kutztown with numerous injuries to important offensive pieces which proved costly in a 23-21 defeat.

Slippery Rock’s starting quarterback Noah Grover, starting running back Chris D’Or, backup running back Chris Wells and starting wide receiver Kyle Sheets all missed the matchup against the Golden Bears.

In his first career collegiate start for The Rock, Brayden Long aired the ball out for 227 yards and a 57-yard touchdown strike to Cohen Russell. 

With time ticking down in the fourth quarter, Slippery Rock grabbed its first lead of the game with a blocked punt and a return by Tyler Settle for the score. Moments later, Kutztown quarterback Donny Blaine found wide receiver Jerome Kapp for a 61-yard touchdown connection. With that, Kutztown held off one last attempt by The Rock and dropped them to 9-2 on the season.

Gannon Falls in Overtime, Playoff Hopes Diminish

Gannon was eyeing a program-tying ninth win, along with solidifying a spot in the Division II Playoffs, but that was changed after Shippensburg pulled off a 35-28 overtime victory.

With just under six minutes left in the fourth quarter, senior Kory Curtis threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Ke’John Batiste to tie the game, forcing overtime. Shippensburg took advantage of its first possession as Bill Williams scored on a 22-yard touchdown run to put the Raiders ahead. Then, the Raiders stopped the Golden Knights on the three-yard to hold on for the victory.

Heading into the game, Gannon was looking to secure a playoff spot, but with the loss, the Golden Knights now have to await the list of playoff teams.

Defense Steps Up in Win for Cal U

California (Pa.) closed its season with an impressive defensive performance against East Stroudsburg, winning 31-7.

Along with two interceptions and three sacks, the Vulcans’ defense came up with a big score as the clock wore down in the first quarter. Defensive lineman Gerald Brown (West Mifflin) scooped and scored on a 72-yard return. On top of that, the Cal U defense held East Stroudsburg to under 200 yards of total offense on the day.

Bernard Leads Edinboro Over Lock Haven

Edinboro closed out its 2022 season with a 26-13 victory at home against Lock Haven.

Sophomore quarterback Isaac Bernard completed 20 of 27 passes on his way to two touchdowns and 251 passing yards. Edinboro’s defense also played sound football in the winning effort as the Fighting Scots held Lock Haven to negative yardage on the ground.

Clarion Season Ends on Blocked Field Goal

An opportunity to tie the game turned into a touchdown as West Chester topped Clarion, 36-27.

Clarion saw solid production from its ground game as the Golden Eagles totaled 235 yards and four touchdowns. The rushing attack put the Golden Eagles into position to tie the game with three seconds left in the game. Kicker Jarrett Esposito’s kick was blocked and returned 66-yards by Oscar Uduma to complete the win for West Chester.

Seton Hill Falls in Defensive Battle

To conclude its 2022 season, Seton Hill fell in a 14-10 defensive battle against Millersville. 

After a game-opening drive that saw Seton Hill find the end zone, the Griffins failed to score another touchdown for the rest of the game. The Griffins held Millersville to less than 200 yards of total offense, however,  running back Jaheim Morris scored twice for the Marauders in the tightly contested affair. 

Mercyhurst Drops Season Finale Against Bloomsburg

Looking to snap an eight-game losing streak, Mercyhurst came up just short against Bloomsburg, 16-13.

After being shut out last week, the Lakers followed it up with another disappointing offensive display. Outside of a short David Alize run for a touchdown, the Lakers failed to find the end zone for the rest of the game.

Ground Game Pushes Murray State Over Robert Morris

Robert Morris continued its rough season with a 27-9 loss on the road at Murray State.

The Colonials gained the lead in the third quarter thanks to a 17-yard scamper by starting quarterback Zach Tanner. However, the Racers’ offense came alive in the fourth quarter with Cortezz Jones finding the end zone on two different 24-yard runs. Murray State’s ground game moved the ball for 249 yards, while RMU ran for 74 yards.

W&J Blanks Waynesburg in Rivalry Tilt

Washington and Jefferson shut out Waynesburg for the third consecutive season as the Presidents won 56-0 on Saturday.

While the Presidents’ defense held the Yellow Jackets scoreless, the offense found a balanced approach. Quarterback Jacob Pugh (Thomas Jefferson) tossed four touchdown passes along with 184 yards. As for the ground game, W&J totaled 328 yards with Troy Volpatti (Bethel Park) and Raymond Holmes (Serra Catholic) running for over 100 yards.

Tartans Defense Shines Again in Win Over Case Western

No. 19 Carnegie Mellon completed an undefeated regular season with a 20-7 victory over Case Western Reserve.

The Tartans got on the scoreboard after Logan Young (Moon) recovered a fumble and then two plays later Joey McGinnis IV punched it into the end zone. Carnegie Mellon quarterback Ben Mills finished the day with two passing touchdowns on 210 yards as the defense went to work on the other side of the ball, holding the Spartans to one score.

Balanced Effort Leads Grove City Over Thiel

Grove City retained the Mercer County Cup with a dominating 66-6 win over Thiel.

Wolverines’ quarterback Logan Pfeuffer (Peters) finished the day with 272 passing yards and three touchdowns. Senior running back Clayton Parrish ran for 59 yards and two touchdowns as the run unit totaled 222 yards and five touchdowns.

Westminster Records Shutout in Season Finale

Westminster continued to assert its defensive dominance as the Titans shut out Geneva 49-0.

The Titans’ defense picked off Geneva’s quarterback Brutus Ogilvie twice as they held the Golden Tornadoes to nine total passing yards. Along with the two interceptions, Westminster linebacker Ian Barr returned a fumble for a defensive score. Offensively, Ryan Gomes had a big day with 103 yards and three touchdowns.

Saint Vincent Rolls to Victory Over Bethany

Saint Vincent put together another strong offensive showing as the Bearcats closed their season with a 36-7 win over Bethany.

The Bearcats’ offense totaled 517 yards of offense as they rolled past the Bison. Junior wide receiver Molayo Irefin scored three times on the day with one rushing touchdown and two receiving scores including a 90-yard connection from Brady Walker (Gateway).

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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