Playing with a heavy heart just days after the tragic death of a teammate, the Washington & Jefferson football team was defeated, 54-18, by Thomas More on Saturday in Crestview Hills, Ky.
Senior running back Tim McNerney, a Knoch High School graduate, was beaten to death early Thursday morning during an off-campus robbery.
W&J coach Mike Sirianni commended his team for taking the field after making the five-hour bus ride to Thomas More, the four-time defending conference champion. The team placed McNerney's No. 5 jersey over a chair along with a football bearing his number. Captains also carried a framed picture of McNerney onto the field.
“We certainly aren't using this as an excuse, but it was a victory for our football team to take the field today,” Sirianni said. “We didn't tackle well, we dropped kickoffs, dropped passes. I don't know if we had too much emotion built up leading up to the game or what.
“We have to remember that these are 18-to-22-year-olds and they just had the most tragic, shocking thing happen to them, possibly that they ever will have to deal with.”
McNerney was the Presidents' leading rusher. On its first snap, W&J lined up with 10 men on the field, leaving the backfield vacant.
W&J (4-2, 3-1) fell behind, 27-0, to Thomas More (2-3, 2-2) at the half and couldn't recover.
“In the end, it's just a football game,” Sirianni said. “I do think we will bounce back. I am proud of these young men. We learned a lesson in life this week. There are more important things in life than football wins and losses. But they came out and played hard for their friend, teammate and captain.”
— Staff reports
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