Yellow Jackets Football falls short to Grove City on Homecoming weekend (From 10-2-21)

Quarterback Raines leaves game with injury

Colin C. Rhodes

For The Yellow Jacket

Homecoming is a special time for any school. It’s when alumni from previous classes come together to reminisce about their time as students, and when a new king and queen are crowned at halftime of the football game. 

Unfortunately for Waynesburg, that crowning was the brightest spot of the whole game. 

After a 38-3 loss on the road against the Carnegie Mellon Tartans on Sept. 25, the Yellow Jackets looked to bounce back in front of a large crowd of former and current students. Despite injuries to both sides of the ball, the football team was ready to face the 3-1 Grove City Wolverines. 

The first half saw the Yellow Jackets give up 24 points to the Wolverines, and they would have given up more were it not for an interception at the goal line by freshman defensive back Brandon Tyson. Grove City was held to just 14 points in the second half, but the struggles of the offense meant Waynesburg was unable to score any points the entire game, shut out 38-0 at the end of it. 

Injuries were a key factor for the Yellow Jacket offense in this game. Freshman wide receiver Dakota Romantino wore a cast on his left wrist the entire game, but still performed well with six receptions for 63 yards. 

Junior running back Justin Flack had a nagging injury from the loss to Carnegie Mellon, and he’d end up taken off the field in the fourth quarter after having 15 carries for 59 yards. 

Perhaps the biggest hit was to junior quarterback Tyler Raines, who went nine of 17 for 70 yards with an interception in the first half. His throwing arm ended up in a sling by the start of the second half.

Coming in for the injured leaders of the offense were sophomore quarterback Josh Gibbons and senior running back Nick Hall. Gibbons started the second half and went four of eight for 29 yards passing. Hall, who was subbing in and out for Flack all game, had eight rushes for 29 yards. 

“I thought they did a great job,” Head coach Chris Smithley said. “They did what they were asked to do. I thought [Gibbons] played really tough…. It’s the next guy up, and that’s the mentality we have to have.”

The defense for the Yellow Jackets continued to show improvement. Defensive backs such as freshmen James Davis, Brandon Tyson, and JaVionne Smith, and sophomore Monroe Mohler were all in the top-five in tackles and had a combined three pass breakups, one interception, and 32 tackles. This was also the third game in a row for the Waynesburg defense where they allowed fewer than 40 points in a game.

“We take a lot of pride in defense,” Mohler said. “We feel like we’re really close to getting things to click. It hasn’t really worked out the last three weeks. We’ve been right there, giving up penalties and letting them get in the endzone.” 

For Grove City, their  offense, led by senior quarterback Josh Ehst and freshman running back Nico Flati, were constantly making plays, not scoring on only three drives against the Jackets defense. 

The Wolverine defense was led by senior linebacker Parker Kilgore, who led the game with 17 total tackles. 

Waynesburg (1-4) will get time to rest with a bye week in the schedule before traveling to New Wilmington, Pa. to face the Westminster Titans (3-1) on Oct. 16. The game starts at 1 p.m.