Waynesburg drops sloppy 17-14 senior day loss to Saint Vincent
The two teams combined for 10 turnovers (three interceptions and two lost fumbles each) and neither team even sniffed 300 total yards of offense as the Yellow Jackets celebrated senior day. However, a 24-yard field goal by Saint Vincent's Morgan Porter as time expired gave the Bearcats a 17-14 victory.
Waynesburg's first loss in 51 years to its rival from Latrobe dropped the Yellow Jackets to 4-3 on the season and 4-2 in PAC play. Saint Vincent improved to 4-4 overall and 3-3 in conference competition.
Both teams struggled to get their respective offenses going in the rain and snow, but Waynesburg finally broke through for a score with 11:30 to play in the second quarter. Senior quarterback Josh Graham found junior All-American tight end Adam Moses for an 11-yard touchdown hookup that capped a 10-play, 80-yard possession and gave the Yellow Jackets a 6-0 lead. Senior Chris Marini tacked on the extra point to make it 7-0 in favor of the home team.
Saint Vincent answered four minutes later to tie the game, but the Jackets retook the lead before halftime. Sophomore running back Bertrand Ngampa pounded in a one-yard run to pay dirt that ended a 10-play, 62-yard march to the Bearcat end zone. After Marini knocked in his second extra point of the day, the Yellow Jackets led 14-7, which was also the score at halftime.
Unfortunately, Ngampa's team-leading sixth touchdown run provided the final points for Waynesburg as Saint Vincent tied the game at 14-14 with a third-quarter touchdown before Porter knocked in the game-winning kick.
Graham, who was one of 17 Jacket seniors honored before the game, completed 17-of-29 passes for 133 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions in his final appearance at John F. Wiley Stadium. Moses and fellow junior Christian Jackson were clearly Graham's favorite targets on the day. Jackson pulled in a game-high eight catches for a contest-best 69 yards. Moses chipped in six grabs for 52 yards.
The Waynesburg running game, which was held under 100 total yards for the second-straight game (98), was paced by Ngampa, who carried the ball 14 times for a team-high 39 yards. The Jacket defense was paced by senior safety Ryan Williams, who tied for the game high in tackles with 10, eight of them solo stops, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble. Fellow senior defensive back Sean Hunt had perhaps his best game of the year with five solo tackles and two interceptions.
Saint Vincent's offense was powered by a balanced rushing attack that featured three ball carriers getting at least five totes each. Senior Mike Kale piled up a team-high 66 of the Bearcats' 142 yards rushing. Senior quarterback Aaron Smetanka completed 16-of-35 passes for 136 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Three different Bearcats pulled in three catches each for between 21 and 33 yards a piece.
The game was really decided by the play of the special teams. Saint Vincent blocked two Waynesburg punts, one of which set up the Bearcats' first touchdown of the game, and the other that was run in from 25 yards out to tie game at 14-14.
The Jackets will try to end their first losing streak of the season, which is currently at two games, on Saturday, Nov. 5, when they face unbeaten and sixth-ranked Thomas More in Crestview Hills, Ky. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.