Offense sputters as Jackets fall to 0-4

After losing its first three games, the Waynesburg University football team made some personnel changes for its week four matchup with Geneva in Beaver Falls. 

Mason Schrenker replaced Tyler Perone at quarterback, making his first collegiate start.

In the running game, freshman Justin Flack had been splitting carries with Jordan Taylor early on, but Taylor was inactive Saturday, so Flack was the only Jacket running back to get any touches.

Despite the changes, the result was the same for Waynesburg. The Yellow Jackets fell 27-7, and are now 0-4 overall and 0-3 in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference. 

“None of us want to lose,” head coach Chris Smithley said. “We work hours and hours and hours in the offseason and in season not to come out here and lose. Everybody is feeling that same thing.”

Schrenker went 13-27 with 126 yards and a touchdown pass. Flack ran the ball 28 times for 94 yards. For Schrenker, a junior from Montour High School who was 7-7 with a touchdown pass in two apparences, butterflies weren’t an issue coming in. 

“I wasn’t nervous,” Schrenker said. “I played at the end of the game last week and against Westminster, so really [nerves didn’t affect me] that much.”

Smithley was happy with Schrenker’s first start.

“I’m pleased with how he played,” Smithley said. “I’m pleased with how he kept himself poised and composed, and [how] he extended the play and tried to make some plays down the field. He made some good throws and he did some good things.”

After a scoreless first quarter, the Golden Tornadoes [2-2, 2-1] drew first blood 49 seconds into the second quarter on a 36-yard field goal by Daniel Nordaas. Geneva’s first touchdown of the day came almost nine minutes later on 1-yard run by running back Nick Monteleone. Nordass’ extra point was good, and Geneva had a 10-point lead. 

Waynesburg had a chance to get something going late in the first half. Cole Peters hit Geneva quarterback Amos Luptak, forcing a fumble that Tyler Smith jumped on at the Geneva 23. With 41 seconds left, the Jackets had a golden chance to at least cut the deficit to within a touchdown. Two plays later, however, Schrenker took a sack for a 13-yard loss that knocked Waynesburg out of field goal range, and the Yellow Jackets ended the drive with no points.

“If we go into the half down 10-3, the game is completely different,” Smithley said. “The whole landscape is different.”

“It was a good opportunity for us to put the ball in [and] get some points on the board,” Schrenker said. “I should have thrown the ball away, just a mental mistake that I need to correct.”

It was all Geneva from there. The Golden Tornadoes started the second half with a 16-play drive that ended with a 37-yard field goal from Nordaas. On Geneva’s next possession, running back Justin Loughire scored on a 31-yard run that put it in command with a 20-0 lead. The Yellow Jackets scored a late touchdown, but by then the outcome had been determined.

Loughire and Luptak paced Geneva’s offense out of the triple option. Loughire gained 122 yards on 18 carries, and Luptak ran for 115 on 16 rushes. Collectively, Geneva out gained Waynesburg 318-67 on the ground, and 375-193 in total yardage. 

Waynesburg’s quest for a win continues next week at home against the Thiel Tomcats, who are tied with the Yellow Jackets for last in the PAC. 

“Next week’s homecoming,” Smithley said. “We’re excited to honor the people that have put these jerseys on before us, and we’re going to work hard and be as ready as we can be next Saturday.”