The Bearcat football team fell behind early and lost to Westminster College by a score of 37-22 on the road in New Wilmington.
The Bearcats got off to a rough start, as the offense was shut down on the opening drive and forced to punt after three plays. On Westminster's first play from scrimmage, Paul Columbo tossed a screen pass to Jametrius Bentley, who took it the rest of the way for a 51-yard score, putting the hosts in front, 7-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, AJ Jean-Baptiste broke tackles for a 27-yard return, but was stripped of the ball at the Bearcat 33. Trevon Mills scooped up the loose ball and returned it to the SVC 8 before Ethan Shipleymade the touchdown-saving tackle.
The SVC defense then bore down and stopped the Titans, with Kim Ornis coming up with a third-down sack that dropped them back to the SVC 16. Justin Dahl was forced to come on and kick a 33-yard field goal, making it 10-0 less than four minutes into the game.
After that, the Bearcat offense went to work. A trio of 10-yard gains – a rush by Damon Black Jr, a Derek Stewart pass to Black, and a run by Shavonta Craft, moved the ball to the Westminster 30. After an 8-yard completion from Stewart to Ryan Crawford, Craft scored on a 22-yard run to get the Bearcats on the board with 6:47 remaining in the first. Sam Elliott's extra point made it a 10-7 game.
Later in the first, Westminster put together an 11-play, 79-yard scoring drive, capped by a Columbo pass to Dylan Goff. Dahl's extra point attempt was blocked, and Cameron Mack returned it to the end zone for a 2-point Bearcat conversion, making it a 16-9 game.
The second quarter belonged to the defense, on both sides of the field. Both teams put together lengthy drives, but ultimately the defenses held and no points were scored.
The second half got off to a better start for the Bearcats, as the defense stopped an 11-play Westminster drive at the Bearcat 17, then Nick Nitowski blocked Dahl's field goal attempt and SVC took over on its own 21. However, once again defense prevailed for both teams, and each team's next drive was ended by a punt.
With 2:02 left in the third, Westminster found the goal line, after starting a drive on the Bearcat 44 following a partially blocked punt. Dominique McKinley's 5-yard run made it 23-9 in favor of the Titans.
The hosts scored again on their next drive, with McKinley taking it in from 14 yards away. Dahl's PAT made it a 30-9 game with 11:46 remaining in the fourth.
Stewart then connected with DJ Oceant-Kelly for a pair of big plays, the first a 34-yard sideline pass, followed by a 13-yard pass into the end zone to make the score 30-16. However, the Titans came right back, driving 74 yards on 15 plays, including several third-down conversions, on a drive that took up more than half the fourth quarter. Columbo's 3-yard pass to Chase Collison with 1:21 remaining made it 37-16.
In the closing minute, Black made a one-handed grab in the end zone from 6 yards out to end the scoring.
Westminster held a key edge on the day in time of possession, 41:00 compared to just 19:00 for the Bearcats. The Titans converted 10 of 16 third down plays. Westminster also held a 460-225 advantage in total yards.
For the Bearcats, Craft had 70 yards on 13 carries, while Stewart was 15-24 through the air for 165 yards and 2 touchdowns. Oceant-Kelly caught 5 passes for 86 yards. Black had 5 receptions for 54 yards. Defensively, Kim Ornis had 14 tackles while Cameron Mack recorded 10.
The Bearcats are now 4-2 on the season overall, 2-2 in the Presidents' Athletic Conference. The team has a bye week on October 15 before returning home to face Thomas More College on October 22.