Waynesburg has steep Hill to climb against Geneva
Waynesburg’s Carter Hill is one of four quarterbacks in NCAA Division III with more than 2,000 passing yards.
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Anyone who watched Carter Hill limp out of Wiley Stadium after last week’s loss to Bethany had to wonder whether he would play again this season.
Waynesburg head coach Rick Shepas said there is a chance Hill might play today, when the Yellow Jackets host Geneva in a Presidents’ Athletic Conference game (1:30 p.m. kickoff).
Hill injured his kneecap when he was tackled – it appeared to be a horse-collar tackle – on the final play of the game against Bethany. Hill, the spark plug of the offense, had a giant ice bag on his right knee as he slowly made his way back to campus.
“It’s an issue with his kneecap,” said Shepas. “It moved on him a little. Before he left the locker room (after the Bethany game), the doctors said the knee was stable.”
Shepas said Hill had the same problem following a Week 1 victory over Muskingum and once in his high school career at Crestview in Columbiana, Ohio.
“We’ll work to get everyone ready to play around him,” Shepas said.
The top backup has been Dave O’Brien, a 6-1 junior from Seton-La Salle who has played in seven college games. O’Brien has completed three of six passes for 20 yards this season. The running game won’t be of much help as it ranks above only Saint Vincent in the conference.
“We feel good about Dave O’Brien,” said Shepas. “We think he can lead this offense.”
Hill has made 276 pass attempts, completing 66 percent for 2,045 yards and 19 touchdowns. Hill has been intercepted just once this season.
“He’s a tough kid,” Shepas said. “I would say he is day-to-day. There have been no drains and no needles for the knee.”
Waynesburg (3-2, 5-2) needs win out to have a chance to capture the PAC title. Geneva (3-1, 4-2) is coming off a 40-30 victory over Saint Vincent and is second behind Thomas More in the conference in scoring average and first in total offense (468). The combination of quarterback Zach Hayward and wide receiver Lemuel Fuller has produced 642 yards and five touchdowns.
“Geneva is a good team,” Shepas said. “They have a unique style of offense.”
Washington & Jefferson takes a two-game winning streak into today’s game against Saint Vincent, which has not won a game this season. The Presidents (4-1, 5-2) can win the conference if they win out and Thomas More (4-1, 5-2) defeats Bethany Nov. 9.
“All we can do is what we can do,” said W&J head coach Mike Sirianni.
W&J finishes the season with two homes games, Geneva and Waynesburg. And the Presidents get a bye week to rest and heal before making that run. That’s a good thing for quarterback Matt Bliss, who is still getting back to full strength from a sprained knee suffered at midseason.
“The week off will help him,” Sirianni said. “We need Matt, and we need him to play well. It’s good to have our last two games at home. We are playing better.”
Include in that is the defense, which allowed 299 yards in a 38-6 victory over Westminster last week. It was the lowest amount of total yards allowed by W&J this season. Still, it did not move the Presidents up in the conference standings. They are still eighth, above only Saint Vincent, for total defense.
Kickoff is 1 p.m.
California University has a chance to surge to the top of the PSAC standings with victories over Gannon today and Slippery Rock two weeks from now. All three teams are 3-1 in the conference.
Cal has been doing it with defense while the quarterback situation and running game have suffered. The Vulcans are tied with Indiana for first in scoring defense and have given up a conference-best 13 touchdowns while compiling a 5-2 record.
James Harris will make his fourth start after replacing Cody Schroeder in Week 4. Harris is 2-1 and Schroeder 3-1. Their stats are similar, Harris with 835 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions and Schroeder with 855 yards, eight TDs and six interceptions.
The running game is a disappointment with Jeff Knox’s 364 yards leading the way.
End B.J. Stevens has 5 1/2 sacks, 5 of which came in the first three games. He does have a conference-best three fumble recoveries.
Kickoff is noon.
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