Winston Delk/The Observer
In the past two weekends, the Spartans prevailed over both Geneva College and Bethany College, all while celebrating Senior Day during the latter game.
The 21st-ranked Spartans held on against Geneva College with a win of 30-23 on Saturday, Oct. 26. As the season draws to a close, Case Western Reserve University only has two more matches left, and with the win over Bethany College the following weekend, the Spartans can claim at least a share of the PAC title.
During the Geneva College game, second-year quarterback Drew Saxton completed 18 of his 30 passes for 237 yards to lead the offensive attack. Third-year wide receiver Colt Morgan was Saxton’s primary pass-catcher, catching 10 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. Geneva only scored one touchdown the entire first half, while CWRU picked up three touchdowns and a field goal, leading 24-7. Defensive linebacker Joshua Smith forced two Geneva fumbles and three interceptions.
As the second half commenced in rainy conditions, the Spartan defense forced another turnover on its first drive of the second half. Senior defensive back Kevin Chrissis cut in front of a receiver and intercepted a pass, his third pick of the season. The offense capitalized and scored a fourth touchdown, extending the lead. Geneva rebounded after their precious mistake, with Geneva’s first-year running back scoring a touchdown. Just over five minutes later, Geneva executed a 10 play 72 yard scoring drive.
Although Geneva inched closer to defeating the Spartans, CWRU stopped them from scoring anymore touchdowns. Rather, they punted away with less than two minutes left to play. With that, CWRU secured a win, retaining their undefeated title with a 7-0 streak in the PAC.
The Spartans headed back to DiSanto Field the following weekend, hosting Bethany College on their Senior Day. Before the game, the Spartans celebrated their 17 graduating members as part of the celebration. The fourth-years are Luke Bedell, Cameron Brown, Chrissis, offensive lineman Derek Clontz, quarterback/wide receiver Ryan Coolidge, Patrick Crossey, defensive lineman Reed Gershenson, running back Sam Jenkins, defensive lineman Andrew Lease, defensive back Munyaradzi Mangwende, tight end Austin Navarrette, defensive lineman Adam Poltrack, Mario Robaina, offensive lineman Josh Schlichting, offensive lineman Thomas Strayer, linebacker Isaac Withrow and tight end Adam Zybko.
With the team in high spirits, the Spartans need just one win more to clinch the outright title and the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs. Third-year linebacker Travis Johnston was a huge factor during the game—he rushed for two touchdowns, recovered a fumble and blocked a punt. With this impressive feat, two other Spartans set records on the field as well.
Defensive end Brown now has 33.5 sacks in his career, breaking the program record for career sacks in the third quarter. With two receiving touchdowns, Morgan tied the program record for career touchdown receptions with 31.
As the game progressed in the first quarter, it seemed unlikely that the Spartans would gain a lead. The Spartans turned the ball over during the first couple of possessions and fumbled the ball. Bethany College took the fumble and ran with it, scoring a touchdown and gaining a lead. However, during the second quarter, the Spartans turned it around, and Saxton and Morgan connected once again, scoring the Spartans’ first touchdown of the game.
With the second half commencing, the Spartans started off strong, Saxton once again scored, to extend the lead to 21-14. The Spartans then finished out the game in the last quarter, not allowing Bethany to score at all, securing a solid 35-14 win.
The Spartans will conclude their season and take on Waynesburg University this weekend, and they will then play in the 34th annual Academic Bowl against Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.