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Written by: John Robbins on Monday, September 6th, 2021
Pregame between Thiel College and Allegheny College at Frank B. Fuhrer Field in Meadville, PA
For the first time since November 16th, 2019, the Thiel College Tomcats and Allegheny College Gators took the football field in a competitive game. Due to COVID-19 postponements and cancelations, these teams were put into an almost two year hiatus. Allegheny won this revival, 42-14 on their home field.
The first two drives of the game ended in punts, but Thiel put together a solid offensive drive. The Tomcats converted a fourth-and-inches to keep the drive alive. As soon as they entered the redzone, the Gators’ sophomore defensive back Azariah Beaugard (Santa Clara, CA./Saugus) intercepted a pass at the goaline and returned it to the Allegheny eight yardline. The first quarter would end scoreless with the Gators on offense.
Allegheny would finish their drive with a twenty yard touchdown. Sophomore quarterback Jack Johnson (Hingham, MA./Hingham/Minford Academy) would pass to senior wide receiver Mark Torsello (New Castle, PA./New Castle) for the touchdown to make the score 7-0. Thiel would be able to force a fumble later in the quarter that was recovered by junior linebacker Andrew Plowden (Pittsburgh, PA./Penn Hills Charter) on the Allegheny thirty-nine yardline. Yet, the Tomcats’ redzone woes continued when they went for a fourth down inside the five and did not convert. Johnson would get his second passing touchdown of the day as senior tight end Jack Parker (Edinboro, PA./General McLane) went twenty-two yards into the endzone. The score was 14-0 going into halftime. Johnson and Allegheny would open up the scoring in the second half as the quarterback would find junior wide receiver Shane Cafardi (Gibsonia, PA./Pine-Richland) for a thirty yard touchdown. That pushed the Gators’ lead to 21-0. Allegheny would get the ball right back when sophomore defensive back Justin Campbell (Buffalo, NY./Bennet) intercepted a pass inside the Allegheny fifteen yardline. Thiel’s defense would manage to get a stop, setting up sophomore quarterback Alex Kovalyak (Dubois, Pa./Dubois) to find fellow sophomore Jake Reddick (Grove City, PA./Grove City) for a twenty-eight yard touchdown. That would be the first collegiate touchdown for both players, and shrunk the Allegheny lead to 21-7 at the end of the third.
Johnson was not done lighting up the scoreboard as he would pass to senior wide receiver Anthony Steinpreis (Tempe, AZ./Marcos De Niza) to extend the lead for Allegheny to 28-7. Kovalyak would respond for Thiel when he found Reddick for a forty-four yard pass. Then Kovalyak would pass to freshman running back Deon Logan (Richmond, VA./ James River) for a twenty-six yard touchdown. That score brought the Tomcats within fourteen. Allegheny tried again to put the game away when junior running back John Ian Duron (Coral Springs, FL./J.P. Taravella) broke free for a fifty-seven yard touchdown run. Which pushed the lead back to twenty-one for the Gators. Allegheny would put a Tomcat comeback out of reach when junior linebacker Austin Ferguson intercepted a pass and returned forty-one yards to the endzone for a Gators touchdown. The final score was Allegheny 42, Thiel 14. Johnson finished the day going 18/27, 228 passing yards, and 4 touchdowns, which is tied for 8th all-time in Gators history. Allegheny opens NCAC play at Denison this Saturday, while Thiel has their home and PAC opener against Washington & Jefferson.
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