NAIA Div. II First Round
MASSILLON, Ohio (AP) _ Scott Bennington’s 27-yard field goal with no time left gave Malone a 24-23 victory Saturday over Geneva at an NAIA Division II first-round game in which the lead changed hands three times in the final 76 seconds.
The Pioneers (10-0-1), who extended their unbeaten streak to 14 games, went ahead 21-17 with 1:16 remaining on a touchdown pass play covering 22 yards from Shane Nalepa to Dan DeGeorge.
But the Golden Tornadoes (9-2) took the lead back as Ron Michel ran 98 yards with the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. Jeremy McCoy blocked Mike Gill’s extra-point kick to keep the score 23-21 and give Malone a chance to win with a field goal.
The Pioneers took over at their 27 following Jerry Bitong’s kickoff return. Nalepa connected with DeGeorge for 25 yards to the Geneva 48, a pass fell incomplete, and Nalepa threw for another 25-yard gain, this time to Eric Miller, moving the ball to the 23 with 11 seconds left and Malone out of time outs.
DeGeorge ran 14 yards to the 9 for a first down, stopping the clock with four seconds left, then Nalepa spiked the ball with two seconds remaining to set up the winning kick.
Bennington also had field goals of 31 and 22 yards, and Nalepa ran 36 yards for a touchdown for Malone. Geneva’s other scores came on a 31-yard Gill field goal and Rich McClellan’s touchdown passes of 10 yards to Willie Murray and 13 yards to Ken Klemencic.
Nalepa was 15 for 38 for 234 yards passing and gained 74 yards in five carries. His leading receiver was Mario Costantini with five catches for 98 yards.
McClellan completed 13 of 23 pass attempts for 170 yards, with Michel catching five for 100 yards. Murray led Geneva’s rushers with 76 yards in 28 attempts.
Geneva has lost three times in its last 18 games, with all the defeats coming against Malone.