Stunner in Selinsgrove: Wolverines advance in playoffs

Grove City College Sports Information

The Grove City College football team earned its first-ever NCAA Division III playoff victory Saturday afternoon by pulling out a last-second 21-20 win at No. 9 Susquehanna in the first round of the national tournament at Amos Alonzo Stagg. 

Junior quarterback Logan Pfeuffer (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) fired a 13-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Ryan Lenhart (New Castle, Pa./Shenango) on fourth-and-10 with seven seconds left in the game while sophomore kicker Caleb Kuechly (West Chester, Ohio/Mars Hill) added the extra point to give Grove City its only lead of the afternoon.

Lenhart's catch in the back of the end zone capped an 11-play, 68-yard touchdown drive that used 1:42. That reception marked the second fourth-down conversion of the drive for the 16th-ranked Wolverines (11-0). Four plays before the touchdown, Pfeuffer completed an eight-yard pass to senior wide receiver Scott Fraser (Butler, Pa./Knoch) on fourth-and-4.

Earlier in the drive, Pfeuffer fired a 23-yard strike to senior wide receiver Ryan Heckathorn (Beaver Falls, Pa./Blackhawk) that moved the ball to the Susquehanna 27. 

Pfeuffer completed 15 of 30 passes for 177 yards. Fraser had eight receptions for 86 yards while Heckathorn had three catches for 39 yards. Lenhart's touchdown grab marked his only catch of the afternoon.

Senior running back Clayton Parrish (Mercer, Pa./West Middlesex) bulled through the Susquehanna defense for 122 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Parrish became the first player to rush for 100 yards this year against Susquehanna, which allowed only one rushing touchdown during the regular season.

Junior running back Nico Flati (Aliquippa, Pa./West Allegheny) added 53 yards on 11 carries as Grove City finished with 167 total rushing yards. Overall, Grove CIty outgained Susquehanna, 344-193.

Susquehanna took a 7-0 lead with 1:46 left in the first quarter on a one-yard run by Tommy Grabowski. Grove City tied the game on the next drive as Parrish sprinted 28 yards to the end zone with 12:48 left in the first half.

Grove City drove to the Susquehanna 28 in the final two minutes of the first half. The drive stalled and Kuechly attempted a 45-yard field goal. Susquehanna deflected the kick and Keith Green III returned the ball 72 yards for a touchdown.

Susquehanna led 14-7 at halftime, then extended the lead to 17-7 with 12:28 remaining in the third quarter on Christian Colasurdo's 41-yard field goal. 

Parrish capped a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive with 5:36 left in the third quarter as he scored on a 15-yard run. The drive used 6 minutes, 45 seconds. 

Susquehanna used over nine minutes of fourth quarter clock with a 16-play drive inside the Grove City 20. The Wolverines held, however, forcing Colasurdo to kick a 31-yard field goal.

Grove City held a 24-14 edge in first downs. The Wolverines held Susquehanna to 103 rushing yards. The River Hawks averaged 240 rushing yards per game during the regular season.

Sophomore linebacker Jack Jollie (Jeannette, Pa./Penn-Trafford) led Grove City with 12 tackles. Graduate student linebacker Ryan Fleming added eight stops. 

The game featured no turnovers and seven total penalties. Grove City had four penalties for 23 yards while Susquehanna had three infractions for 24 yards. 

Grove City will face Cortland State (N.Y.) next Saturday in the second round of the NCAA playoffs. Cortland State (10-1) pulled out a 23-17 win Saturday at Endicott (Mass.) in the first round of the national playoffs. It will be the first meeting between the programs.

Photo: Lexi Coop/Susquehanna University

Stunner in Selinsgrove: Wolverines advance in playoffs

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