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Football - Sat, Aug. 29, 2009

Dyersburg, Tenn. - Georgetown College started the year off on a high note, as the Tigers won 22-14 over William Penn University in the inaugural Big River Bowl.

Dyersburg, Tenn. - Georgetown College started the year off on a high note, as the Tigers won 22-14 over William Penn University in the inaugural Big River Bowl.

The Tigers struck first during their second drive of the game when junior fullback Bennett Gatto ran it in from two yards out followed by freshman Cole Richards' successful extra point to make it 7-0.  The Statesmen evened things up quickly on the next possession with a 20-yard run by quarterback Ryan VanDalen.

In the second quarter, Georgetown's new starting quarterback, Alex Matthews, connected on an 18-yard pass with Rob Madon to give the Tigers a 13-7 lead after an unsuccessful extra point attempt.  Midway through the third quarter Georgetown settled with a field goal by Richards, a 30-yarder.

"We had a great effort from all of our freshmen that were out there today," said Bill Cronin, in his 13th year as head coach at Georgetown.  "It was great to see our rookie kicker (Richards) and punter, (Cody Parker) who had a long punt of 57 yards, and they did it under pressure."

Big River Bowl MVP, Alex Matthews

Another newcomer Cronin was pleased with was left tackle Robby Logan, who got his first collegiate start and played the entire game. "These rookies matured in front of our eyes out there and we are really pleased with their efforts."

Late in the third quarter, the Tigers found themselves pinned at their own 1-yard line but made two significant first downs, including a pass from Matthews to Kaelin Ammons to get out of the dangerous territory.  Then came the longest play in the season opener when Matthews scrambled and threw a long pass to Ammons, who broke a couple of tackles and scored on a 71-yard play.

"Alex was rushed out of the pocket and that is a drill we have worked on quite a bit. It was just great to see them execute on that play," Cronin said.

William Penn had a chance to tie it up in the third quarter but VanDalen was tripped up at the two-yard line and the loose ball resulted in a touchback. The turnover, combined with two unsportsmanlike conduct calls, gave the Tigers the ball on the 50-yard line and, just as importantly, the momentum.

Defensively, Cronin's team "started slowly but picked up confidence as the game went on" and included two interceptions by Nick Schickel and David Gardner.    "We made some adjustments early on and I thought we played really well defensively."

The Statesmen answered with a long play of their own just minutes later when VanDalen connected with Bernard Luster for a 60-yard touchdown.

Matthews was named the most valuable player of the bowl.

Next up for the Tigers is a road trip to Cumberland University on Sept. 12 after an off week. "This is a great win for us and it would have been a really long two weeks if we didn't have the 'w'.  Now that we have it under our belt we can really focus," said Cronin.  "We have a big part of our development ahead of us in these next two weeks."

Scoring by Periods        1        2        3        4        Final
Georgetown                     7        6        9        0        22
William Penn                   7        0        7        0        14

GC Gatto 2-yard run; Richards PAT
WP VanDalen 20-yard run; Shearon PAT
GC  18-yard pass from Matthews to Madon
GC  30-yard FG by Richards
GC  71-yard pass from Matthews to Ammons
WP  60-yard pass from VanDalen to Luster

 
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