Senior day is an emotional day for a lot of players. Not just for the guys who spent most of their college careers playing football, but also for their teammates.
For the seniors on the Waynesburg Yellow Jackets football team, they got that wish against the Bethany Bison on Saturday, Nov. 6, the last home game of the season.
The game was in a defensive lock for the first quarter, as neither team gained enough momentum to score.
This changed at the start of the second quarter when sophomore wide receiver Sirhan Smith Jr. of the Bison lost a fumble that was recovered by Waynesburg senior defensive lineman Zach Baughman.
The Jackets converted the turnover into points with a 13-yard rushing touchdown by senior running back Nick Hall, his first of the game. The successful extra point kick by sophomore kicker Keegan Raabe gave the Jackets a 7-0 lead.
Bethany gave the ball away on another fumble on the following drive, as junior defensive end Tyler Metzger forced Bethany freshman running back Romello Bush to lose the ball, and senior linebacker Bret Hicks recovered it for Waynesburg.
Just like on their last possession, Hall turned the turnover into points with a rushing touchdown, this one from four yards out, and the Raabe extra point made it 14-0.
The Yellow Jackets got their third straight turnover when senior defensive back Luke Menges picked off senior quarterback Dom Salinetro of Bethany. Unfortunately for the Jackets, time ran out in the first half, keeping the score 14-0 at halftime.
In the second half, Waynesburg’s offense picked up where they left off, as sophomore quarterback Trevor Miller connected with senior wide receiver Trenton Kerns for a touchdown on just the second play of the third quarter, extending the lead to 21-0 with Raabe’s extra point.
Despite Miller throwing an interception to senior defensive back Danny Gilbert Jr, the Yellow Jackets remained unphased as the defense stopped the Bison offense on 4th and 1 at the Waynesburg 13, giving the ball back to the Yellow Jackets.
Waynesburg was able to convert the turnover into points once again, this time from junior running back Justin Flack, who ran it into the endzone from 12-yards away. Raabe’s extra point made the score 28-0 in the third quarter.
The Bison did avoid a shutout against the Yellow Jackets when junior quarterback Marquice Robinson connected with senior wide receiver Chris Williams for a touchdown, and senior kicker Sean Cole’s successful extra point attempt made the score 28-7.
Waynesburg did put up the final points of the game though, as Raabe made a 30-yard field goal to extend the lead back up to 24. As the clock hit double-zeros, the Yellow Jackets won the game 31-7 over the Bison, their first win over Bethany since 2012..
“These guys put a lot of time and a lot of effort into this program,” Waynesburg head coach Chris Smithley said after the game. “To be able to go out this way, for them on their home turf for the last time, is a pretty special thing”
The Hall and Flack running back tandem was the heart of the offense this game, as Hall had 21 carries for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Flack had 14 carries for 91 yards and one touchdown.
“I give all my credit to my o-line,” Hall said. “I wouldn’t have anything that I have right now if it wasn’t for them and the preparation that we put in this week.”
The Yellow Jackets will finish their season on the road at Washington & Jefferson, a team that is looking to regain the top spot in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference and win the football championship. The game starts at 1 p.m.