Explosive Offense Leads Devils Past Grove City
|(Grove City, Pa.)- The Dickinson College football team expected an offensive battle with Grove City on Saturday. The Red Devil offense totaled over 500 yards as they won their seventh straight season opener, 52-47.|
Senior quarterback Ian Mitchell (Newtown Square, Pa./Malvern Prep) threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns, and added 149 yards and two touchdowns rushing in the game. Mitchell's 437 yards of total offense marks the second highest total in school history and the fourth best in the Centennial Conference.
Classmate Patrick O'Connor (Exton, Pa./Downingtown East)continued right where he left off in 2008, pulling in nine receptions for 164 yards and one score on the afternoon.
The game was a see-saw battle right from the start. The Devils struck first on a one yard run by Tim Smith (Hanover, Pa./Southwestern) just 2:16 into the contest.
Gordon Craig (Grove City, Pa./Grove City) stretched the lead to 10-0 with a 39 yard field-goal at the 8:04 mark.
Wolverine quarterback Andrew DiDonato answered with a pair of touchdown passes to put Grove City in front, 14-10, early in the second quarter.
Mitchell scored on a four yard run before a Wolverine touchdown and field-goal in the final 1:08 of the half gave the hosts a 24-17 advantage at the break.
DiDonato ran in from seven yards out to stretch the lead to 31-17 with 10:38 remaining in the third quarter. Junior Craig Helfer (W. Caldwell, N.J./Newark Academy) dove on a fumble in the endzone to pull Dickinson back within a touchdown, 31-24, at the 7:51 mark.
Craig Bicehouse converted a 28 yard field-goal to start an action-packed fourth quarter, putting the Wolverines back in front by 10 at 34-24.
Mitchell wasted little time shifting the offense into high gear, hitting O'Connor for a 61 yard scoring strike with 14:17 remaining in the game. Senior fullback Tim Wells (Baltimore, Md./Perry Hall) dove in from a yard out as the Devils regained the lead, 38-34, at the 11:19 mark.
Grove City would later capitalize on a misplayed snap on a punt, scoring from the three yard line to pull ahead by a field-goal (41-38) with 6:24 on the clock.
Mitchell connected with tight-end Austen Steele (Daleville, Va./Culver Academy) for a 39 yard touchdown strike, giving the Devils the lead for good with just over six minutes to play.
Junior Pat McNeal (Glen Mills, Pa./Archmere Academy) closed out a great defensive stand, sacking DiDonato for a 10 yard loss on fourth down. The Devils were looking to run some time off when Mitchell broke free and raced 45 yards to add some well needed insurance.
DiDonato managed to lead the Wolverines into the endzone one more time, but Dickinson held on special teams. The Devils broke up the two-point conversion and covered the on-side kick to close the door with a 52-47 victory.
Mitchell finished the day going 21-of-27 passing. Senior Joe Sandoe (Myerstown, Pa./Elco) made three catches for 44 yards.
Senior safety Michael Maxwell (Coatesville, Pa./Coatesville) led the defense with a game-high 13 tackles. Junior Pete Hamill (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown West) added 10 tackles, including a sack. McNeal finished with nine tackles (2-for-loss) while Kevin Wood (Westford, Mass./Phillips) made nine stops as well.
DiDonato finished the day 32-of-41 for 291 yards passing and ran for 109 yards on 22 carries. Zac Summy made nine catches for 96 yards to lead the receivers.
The Red Devils return to Biddle for their home opener next Saturday. They host Hobart College at 12:00 pm.