By Ethan Spozarski
From September 17, 2022
The Waynesburg University Yellow Jackets football team defeated the Geneva College Golden Tornadoes 37-30 on Saturday in the first Presidents’ Athletic Conference game of 2022.
A major takeaway from the game was freshman Thomas Burke III starting in his first collegiate game in place of Tyler Raines and helping Waynesburg (2-1, 1-0 PAC) bring home a win. His own personal stats do not tell the story as the Yellow Jackets exhibited a strong team effort.
“This feels awesome,” Burke said. “I knew I was going to have some big shoes to fill with Tyler being out and we prepared really well. Our defense put us in some great positions and we played great football.”
Burke completed 7-of-14 passes for 130 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Burke connected with Ke’Andre Hollis on a 66-yard touchdown to put the Jackets on the board.
He mentioned the team had been struggling to start out on the right foot.
“We came out and scored on the third play of the game,” Burke said. “We need to be like this in every game we play.”
Out of all 60 minutes of football played between the two teams, Burke said his favorite play wasn’t even when Waynesburg had the ball.
“When their final pass went incomplete and we won that game, that was the best feeling,” Burke said. “As long as we have more points than our opponent that is all that’s important.”
The Yellow Jacket’s run game played well against the Geneva (0-3, 0-1) defense.
Sophomore Hunter Cameron rushed four times for 77 yards. Burke also ran the ball five times for 33 yards. Senior Justin Flack ran the ball 10 times for 171 yards and two long touchdowns spanning 49 and 75 yards, respectively.
Flack now has seven touchdowns in the first three games of the young season.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling, not because of the seven touchdowns but because we are playing 11 (players) as one,” Flack said. “We’re all doing our jobs and we have confidence going into each game.”
Flack discussed how his senior year is proving to be a memorable one.
“This year has a different feeling than the previous three years,” Flack said. “I’m enjoying this start to the season but we all know we have a lot of work to do to be where we want to be at the end of the season.”
Flack mentioned that the new coaching staff is bringing a culture the team hasn’t had in a while.
“The new coaching staff has brought a new hope for us,” Flack said. “Coach Coleman has instilled hope for us and a new vision of Waynesburg football since day one and I feel that everyday we know we’re going to get our coaches’ best. In return we expect all of us players to give our all day in and day out.”
Flack said the team has to work on the fundamentals heading into next week.
“We’re going to look at film against Allegheny and diagnose what they do as a unit,” Flack said. “In practice it is all about getting back to the basics and having a laser focus all week.”
Geneva, despite the loss, kept the action close with the Yellow Jackets for the entire game, and held the lead at points throughout the game.
Sophomore Josh Syster rushed 21 times for 114 yards. No one who ran the ball for the Golden Tornados had fewer than 38 yards rushing on the day, running the triple option for most of the afternoon.
In fact, they only ran with one different formation until the last drive of the game.
The Yellow Jackets play against the newest members to the PAC, the Allegheny College Gators, on the road at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24.