Waynesburg, Jeannette grad Paulone trying to rebound from rough loss
The loss stung, but the season isn't over.
The Waynesburg University football team, featuring Jeannette High School graduate Thomas Paulone, dropped its second game of the season, falling to Bethany 27-20 Saturday in a game it appeared to have within reach for much of the contest.
The Yellow Jackets led 13-6 at halftime and 20-13 entering the fourth quarter before Bethany stormed back to tie it 20-20 in the fourth. Then one big play decided the game for good.
The Bison scored the game-winning touchdown with just 20 seconds left in the game when wide receiver Eric Blinn caught a short pass that he turned into 68-yard touchdown. Waynesburg attempted a last second rally, which came up short.
“It was definitely a heartbreaker that stung late into Saturday night,” said Paulone, a senior running back. “We believe we played well enough to win the game, especially on defense.”
Waynesburg is now 5-2 overall and 3-2 in the NCAA Division III Presidents Athletic Conference (PAC).
After tying for the PAC championship last season, the Yellow Jackets eyed an outright conference title this season. While that's still possible, two losses with just three games left will make that tough. Paulone said that isn't deterring his team.
“Our goals have not changed,” he said. “We still want to take it one week at a time. From week to week, all we want is one win and one win only. If we win out every week, we'll look up at the end of the season and see how we graded out.”
That starts this Saturday when Waynesburg hosts Geneva (4-2, 3-1) at 1:30 p.m. in the Yellow Jackets' last home game of the season.
Much of the burden of making the most of this season will fall on Paulone, not only because of his role on the field, but especially in his role as a team leader.
“I've definitely already spoken to a number of guys to make sure we stay the course,” he said.
“We need to put this one in the books and get ready for a really good Geneva team. I know a lot of guys just can't wait to get back out this Saturday and to try to make this thing right. I know, for the seniors, it's our last game in Wiley Stadium, and everyone wants to play well.”
The game will be broadcast at Waynesburgsports.com.
IUP, Batts fall
Another team that entered the year with championship aspirations and is now looking to regroup after two losses is IUP. The Crimson Hawks, led by Jeannette grad Jordan Batts at defensive end, fell to 5-2 overall, 2-2 in the Division II Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), after their second consecutive defeat, a 36-30 loss to Edinboro on Saturday.
A 22 point second quarter for Edinboro was too much for IUP to overcome.
IUP will now try to get its season back on track this Saturday with a visit to PSAC rival Mercyhurst (4-3, 2-2). Kickoff is set for noon and the game will be broadcast at 92.5 FM and iupathletics.com.
Hall returns for OSU
After missing Ohio State's last game against Northwestern on Oct. 5 with a knee injury, Jordan Hall returned to the lineup when the Buckeyes took on Iowa Saturday night.
The Jeannette graduate saw modest playing time, as he had two carries for 11 yards, caught two passes for three yards and returned a kickoff for 24 yards in Ohio State's 34-24 win.
Hall, a senior running back, is second on the team with 438 rushing yards, the majority of which came early in the season when teammate Carlos Hyde was suspended.
With the win, the Buckeyes improved to 7-0 overall and 3-0 in the Big Ten Conference and extended the longest winning streak in Division I to 19 games.
They're ranked No. 4 in the nation according to the Associated Press and fourth in the season's first BCS rankings.
Ohio State hosts Penn State (4-2, 1-1) this Saturday at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ABC.
Mahoney, Mount Union win again
While Ohio State has the longest winning streak in Division I, Mount Union, featuring another local product in Pat Mahoney, has the longest winning streak in the entire NCAA at 21 straight wins after a 58-3 win over Capital.
It was the Purple Raiders' 79th consecutive regular season victory.
This season, they're 6-0 overall, 5-0 in the Division III Ohio Athletic Conference and ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Mahoney, a Greensburg Central Catholic graduate, is the team's starting center. Mount Union takes on fellow OAC member Otterbein (3-3, 3-2) at home this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast at athletics.mountunion.edu.
Brian Knavish is a contributing writer.