Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Geneva Going Deeper in 2014 College Football

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Geneva Going Deeper in 2014 College Football

Article excerpt

Geneva College football coach Geno DeMarco isn't one to make excuses, but numbers don't lie.

The Golden Tornadoes watched a very promising 2013 season sour after 17 players sustained season-ending injuries.

"We were on our way to having a championship-type season and then it hit," DeMarco said. "We started 3-0 and were about to win the fourth game when something happened. We lost four or five players in that game and it snowballed from there."

Despite the injuries, Geneva went to double-overtime against Carnegie Mellon before dropping a 41-34 decision. It was the first of three losses in four weeks for the Golden Tornadoes, who struggled in the second half of the season and finished with a 5-5 record.

"We didn't deal with [the injuries] very well," DeMarco said. "The last thing coaches, fans, and players want to hear is that 'We had injuries, that's why we lost.'

"Every team has kids get hurt. That's what happens in football. That's what separates football from any other sport. It's a physical sport. That's why I'm not going to use it as an excuse."

It's surprising to hear that DeMarco had a similar season midway through his 22-year career at Geneva.

"I actually had this happen once before," DeMarco said. "It was 10 or 11 years ago. It's never easy to deal with that many injuries. One benefit is that backups pick up playing time they wouldn't have normally received."

DeMarco stressed the importance of having reserves ready to fill in when an injury occurs.

"The key when you have a kid go down with an injury is to have a capable replacement for him," DeMarco said. "If not, you're going to get your butt kicked. That's what happened to us. We've got nobody to blame but the head coach."

With that in mind, DeMarco and his coaching staff put an even bigger emphasis on recruiting this past year.

"My staff worked day and night to bring in the biggest freshman class we've ever had," DeMarco said. "Our hope is to be more prepared to deal with any injuries."

DeMarco's biggest task coming into the 2014 season is to replace quarterback Zack Hayward and wide receiver/quarterback Rocco Colavecchia. Hayward, a Blackhawk High School graduate, threw for 2,739 yards and 14 touchdowns. Colavecchia shared the signal- calling duties with Hayward in 2012, then moved to wide receiver last season and accumulated 801 yards in total offense.

"We have two transfers vying for the quarterback vacancy," DeMarco said. "Aaron Channing (6-2, 220) came from from Kutztown and Jeff Clegg (6-0, 180) from [Youngstown State University]. …

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