Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

If Geneva Can Fill Holes, Look out Experienced Tornadoes Could Have a Big Season

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

If Geneva Can Fill Holes, Look out Experienced Tornadoes Could Have a Big Season

Article excerpt

With 29 lettermen returning from a team that went 7-4 and was three plays away from being 9-2, Geneva College football coach Geno DeMarco is optimistic about this season.

"We were really young last year and played four freshmen on the offensive line," he said. "We're by no means a senior-laden team this season, but we've got experience."

DeMarco is also quick to point out this might be the fastest Golden Tornadoes team in his 12 years as head coach.

Plus, he had what he considers an outstanding recruiting year.

Everything is not perfect, however, on College Hill in Beaver Falls.

Matt Nowaczynski, the team's leading returning receiver, will miss at least a couple of games with fractured fingers on his right hand and could be lost for the season. And there is the situation at quarterback.

Beaver Falls High School graduate Justin Sciarro is set to step in for graduated Ben Swallow. Sciarro, a sophomore, played in nine games last year and completed 17 of 25 passes for 419 yards and six touchdowns.

He isn't the problem. Who will back him up is the question mark.

Matt Brown, a sophomore from Freedom, was supposed to be that man. But Brown had surgery on his right shoulder during the off- season and is out for the season.

"Finding a backup is our No. 1 priority," DeMarco said. "Justin is progressing and he's going to be fine. But we need to find that other guy."

There are three other quarterbacks on the roster beside Sciarro and Brown. Bob Bondi, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound freshman from Union High School near New Castle might have the inside track on the backup spot. The other signal callers are freshmen Ken Frederick (Penn-Trafford) and Eric Braithwaite (Chartiers Valley).

"[Bondi] is going to be a good one. He's an outstanding athlete, but there's the experience factor," DeMarco said.

Geneva has other holes to fill. Starting fullback Ethan Gigler graduated as did cornerback Mark Villella, who led the team with seven interceptions. They won't be easy to replace.

"Gigler was the best blocker in the league and Mark Villella just did everything well," DeMarco said. …

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