CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. - Trailing by only seven points late in the third quarter, the Westminster College football team provided a mild scare for No. 9-ranked Thomas More Saturday. However, Thomas More's field goal and 96-yard punt return for a touchdown helped clinched a 37-13 win over the visiting Titans in Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) action.
The Titans fall to 2-6 on the year and 1-5 in the PAC. Thomas More, ranked No. 9 in the coaches' poll and No. 10 in the d3football.com poll, remains unbeaten at 8-0 and 6-0 in the league. Thomas More clinches at least a share of its third-straight PAC championship.
Westminster joined Washington & Jefferson as the only other team this season to be at least within a touchdown of the undefeated Saints that late in the game, after the Titans trailed 20-13 with 5:13 remaining in the third quarter.
Junior quarterback Shawn Lehocky scored one touchdown and threw for another as he led the Titans with 180 yards on 20-of-38 passing with two interceptions, along with 38 rushing yards on 11 attempts.
Lehocky put the Titans on the board with a 1-yard touchdown run with 12:34 remaining in the first half that cut Thomas More's deficit to 14-6.
The Titans missed the extra point and Saints kicker Dustin Zink hit the first of three field goals in the game later in the second quarter with a 31-yarder to put Thomas More up 17-6 at halftime. Zink also converted from 27 and 35 yards in the third quarter, the latter giving the Saints a 23-13 lead.
Westminster close the gap to 20-13 when Lehocky connected with sophomore wide receiver Geno Pasquinelli for a 6-yard touchdown pass with 5:13 left in the third quarter.
Pasquinelli's score ties the school record for consecutive games with a touchdown reception as he joins Chad Rosatelli (2008) and Roger Price (1971) as the only other Titans to catch touchdown passes in five straight games.
Pasquinelli finished the game with six catches for 51 yards. He also joins Rosatelli (2008) as the only Titans to ever catch at least six passes in five straight games.
Sophomore wide receiver Connor Kobis also hauled in six passes for 62 yards for the Titans.
The key play in the game occurred on the last play of the third quarter. With the Titans trailing 23-13 and punting from the 50-yard line, Thomas More's Kendall Owens returned Westminster's punt 96 yards for a touchdown.
Owens finished the day with 253 all-purpose yards as he had eight rushes for 20 yards, five catches for 67 yards, three kick returns for 64 yards and two punt returns for 102 yards and a touchdown.
Thomas More held a 348-309 advantage in total yards, led by quarterback Robert Kues completing 12 of 23 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown and running back Domonique Hayden rushing 16 times for 82 yards and a touchdown.
Hayden scored on a 1-yard run to put the Saints up 14-0 in the first quarter after Kues connected with Austin Studer on a 56-yard touchdown pass on the game's second play from scrimmage.
Kues added a 1-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.
Thomas More outrushed the Titans, 167-111, with the Titans using a balanced running attack. Sophomore John Proano led the Titans with nine carries for 43 yards, followed by Lehocky with his 38 yards, and freshman Tyler Banks with eight totes for 32 yards.
Defensively, three Titans posted at least 10 tackles, led by senior linebacker Jake Brown with 13 (2.5 for loss), senior linebacker Tom Geraghty with 12 and sophomore defensive lineman Aaron Nauerwith a career-high 10 stops.
Nick Gramke led the Saints with nine tackles.
Westminster returns home to host Saint Vincent, Saturday, Nov. 6, at 1 p.m. for the Titans' final home game of the season.