Hail to the Chiefs, in Washington

More news about: Washington and Jefferson

By Matt Florjancic

The offensive attack of Washington and Jefferson replicates a packaging company like UPS or FedEx. Whether it is 90 degrees in August or nearly zero in December, the Presidents deliver through the air and on the ground. 

In the case of running back Kevin Mathews and signal-caller Bobby Swallow, the destination they currently frequent is the end zone. However, as the season rolls on, the two would like to see a win at rival Waynesburg lead to a postseason berth for the Presidents' Athletic Conference power. 

"The game of the year for the conference I think would be us against Waynesburg," said Mathews, a junior from Pittsburgh. "They're always tough competition for us. It's a big rivalry because we're very close schools. It's usually pretty hostile, but our team thrives on that."

Swallow, a fellow junior, echoed his running back's sentiments about the matchup with the Yellow Jackets in October. 

"I'm sure it's going to be a pretty intense week of practice," Swallow said in reference to the week leading up to the trip to Waynesburg. "We take every week seriously, but if we're both still undefeated in the conference, it's going to be a pretty intense game as far as winning the conference championship and making the playoffs."

Bobby Swallow rolling out
Bobby Swallow is 51-for-70 passing for 967 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Following a 56-26 victory over Oberlin on Saturday night, Washington and Jefferson moved to 3-0. They start PAC play on the road this weekend at St. Vincent. Five of their seven conference games will be away from the friendly confines of Cameron Stadium. 

In the first three games of the 2007 season, the Presidents outscored the opposition 134-60. Washington and Jefferson averages over 540 yards of offense a game. 

On the ground, Mathews has been tough for opponents to bring down. On 35 carries, Mathews has gained 278 yards for an average of 7.9 yards per rush. Despite the impressive numbers, Mathews has made it to the end zone just once on the ground. However, when he is in the backfield, opposing defenses must watch for him running a route and receiving a pass from Swallow. 

The two have hooked up six times, with Mathews going for scores twice. 

"It definitely helps a lot," Swallow said of Mathews' capabilities. "Kevin's only had maybe 30 carries and he's still producing like he's had 25 carries a game. It doesn't take him very long. That helps in the rushing game as well as the passing game. He can catch a screen pass and take it 80 yards. It shortens drives. 

"He has really good field vision," added Swallow, the 2006 PAC first-team quarterback. "He sets up his blocks really well. He stays after practice, runs a little bit if he thinks he's falling behind a little bit and out of shape."

Mathews knows his quarterback has the unique ability to make plays happen despite heavy pressure from a blitzing defender. 

"(Bobby's) a very smart football player," Mathews said. "He reads defenses well. He likes to watch a lot of film. He's a captain for us as a junior. That speaks volumes for him as a person off the field, on the field."

While the junior tandem is getting most of the headlines, they appreciate the men in the trenches that clear the way to the end zone. 

"I get along with the guys well," Mathews said. "Running behind them is good because they trust in me as a runner. They know if they open a hole up, I'll hit the seam. 

"Then, blocking for Bobby, they do a great job," he continued. "They give him all the time in the world to throw the ball. We had a couple guys leave last year, but we had a bunch of linemen who stepped up and did the job very well."

In three games, Swallow has been sacked only a handful of times. 

"We're a lot younger on both sides of the ball," said Swallow. "Coach (Mike) Sirianni is trying to be a little more balanced. We were balanced last year.

"I've only been pressured a (small) number of times," he added. "When I'm not pressured, there is no one around."

Though they play different positions and possess opposite skill sets, Mathews and Swallow have many things in common. One goal they share is to finish business degrees at Washington and Jefferson and then moving on to pursue Master's in Business Administration. 

"Going to a small, private school like Washington and Jefferson, you've got to balance school and football," Mathews said. "That's one thing that's going to help me when I get to get to my career goals."

"The work ethic I've developed here because of the academics and athletics have helped prepare me for the work load in the classroom and on the football field," Swallow added. 

If their leadership and production on the field are glimpses into the future, both Mathews and Swallow will be successful in the business world. 

Gators clamp down on Tartans

Allegheny celebrated a big road victory last Saturday in Pittsburgh. While the home team has had the advantage many times in the Allegheny-Carnegie Mellon series, it was time for the Gators to seize the opportunity. 

Aided largely by five second half turnovers by the Tartans, Allegheny used a ten-point third quarter to seal the victory against Carnegie Mellon. It was the first meeting between the schools since the 1995 season. 

Leading the way in the win was Craig Lawrence. The junior linebacker posted seven tackles and two sacks for the Gators. Lawrence also forced a fumble and recovered the ball twice, en route to being named North Coast Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week. 

The Gators (2-1) will have back-to-back home games the next two weeks, playing host to Denison this weekend, followed by a match-up with the Wabash Little Giants. 

Carnegie Mellon (2-2) looks to break a two-game slide at Randolph-Macon on Oct. 6. 

News and Notes

A fourth-quarter touchdown proved to be the difference for Waynesburg against Grove City on the road. For the second-straight week, the Yellow Jackets were able to pull out a thrilling victory. Robert Heller had a game-breaking performance with three rushing touchdowns. Heller gained 211 yards on 39 carries for Waynesburg. The Yellow Jackets worked hard to control the line of scrimmage. While the offensive line surrendered just one sack, the Waynesburg defense brought down Grove City quarterback Andrew DiDonato eight times. 

Speaking of sacks, Ohio Northern's defense broke a school-record for quarterback takedowns against John Carroll. The Polar Bear defense, led by linebacker Lenny Trusnik, sacked Mark Petruziello ten times. Trusnik, whose older brother Jason, an ONU alum, is on the New York Jets practice squad, had 2.5 sacks in the 23-13 victory over the Blue Streaks. 

The Baird Brothers Trophy, awarded annually to the winner of the Case Western Reserve/Wooster football matchup is back in University Circle for the first time in more than a decade. The Spartans downed the Fighting Scots 30-17 at home, improving to 4-0 on the season. Quarterback Dan Whalen completed 21 of 40 passes for 286 yards and one touchdown against the Scots (0-3). For the third time in four games, Spartan receiver Tim Cowdrick went over the century mark in receiving yards, catching nine passes for 103 yards. 

Wabash earned its first shutout since the 2005 season with a 15-0 victory over Ohio Wesleyan. Adrian Pynenberg, a senior linebacker for the Little Giants, registered a career-high 21 tackles against the Battling Bishops. The game was by no means an offensive display. However, great special teams play on both sides made the contest more about field position than points on the scoreboard. Chris Kras of Ohio Wesleyan and Chad Finley from Wabash punted a combined ten times for 402 yards. Four punts landed inside the opposing 20-yard-line. 

Adrian survived an overtime thriller against Huntingdon to remain undefeated in 2007. The Bulldogs needed a touchdown pass and field goal in the final quarter to make it to the overtime session. Following a Huntingdon touchdown with 9:20 left in the third quarter, Adrian's defense toughened and prevented the Hawks from scoring again. 

Despite converting on nine of 18 third-down attempts, Carnegie Mellon lost its second consecutive game last weekend. The Tartan offensive line allowed four sacks and turned the ball over five times. Four second half fumbles and an interception prevented a come-from-behind victory against Allegheny. 

Great Lakes Region Teams in D3football.com's Top 25

No. 1 Mount Union (OAC): No change
No. 9 Capital (OAC): Up one spot from last week
No. 10 Baldwin-Wallace (OAC): Up one spot from last week
No. 11 Ohio Northern (OAC): Up one spot from last week
No. 15 Washington and Jefferson (PAC): Up one spot from last week
No. 18 Wabash (NCAC): Up one spot from last week

Others Receiving Votes: John Carroll (OAC), lost votes

Games of the Week

Waynesburg Yellow Jackets (3-0) at Thomas More Saints (2-1), Saturday, Sept. 29, 2:30 p.m.: The Yellow Jackets bring a vaunted rushing game into this PAC battle against Thomas More. Waynesburg's offense is anchored by Robert Heller, who has rushed for 718 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. Thomas More is susceptible to the run, having given up 138.7 rushing yards a game and five touchdowns to opponents. 

Adrian Bulldogs (3-0) at Kalamazoo Hornets (1-1), Saturday, Sept. 29, 1 p.m.: Adrian, the only undefeated team in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, will put their perfect mark on the line against Kalamazoo this Saturday afternoon. The two most-potent offenses in the MIAA will do battle for bragging rights in this contest. Kalamazoo averages 30.5 points per game, while Adrian has a scoring average of 30.3 points. Defensively, the Bulldogs are surrendering only 12.7 points per game.

More features

September 11, 2019 That extra jolt of inspiration Jordan McInerney has moments where he’s worn out, where he teeters on the brink of feeling as if he as doesn’t...
September 11, 2019 Finding the medium for the message He's a rising young street artist, who has drawn interest nationally. And he's also a senior offensive lineman for Manchester...

Joe Sager

Joe Sager is a freelance writer based in Pittsburgh. He has written about sports since 1996 for a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites. He first covered D-III football in 2000 with the New Castle (Pa.) News.

2012-14 columnist: Brian Lester
2011 columnist: Dean Jackson
2007-10 columnist: Matt Florjancic

Other Columnists