Thomas Pitney – Sports Editor
On Saturday, Sept. 3, the Fighting Scots’ football team took a two-hour bus ride to Geneva
College to take on the Golden Hurricanes in their opening game of the season. Though they fell behind early, the Scots demonstrated their resilience, determination and grit to start their season in the win column with a 33-25 victory.
During the first quarter and half of the second, it was the home team who dominated the game. Though the Golden Hurricanes stalled on the opening offensive drive, they quickly regained momentum by forcing and recovering a fumble from Wooster’s Captain quarterback Mateo Renteria ’23 at the Scots’ 31-yard line. Geneva’s offense barreled into the endzone four rushing plays later, but a missed extra point attempt only gave the Golden Hurricanes a 6-0 advantage. On the Scots’ next drive, Geneva intercepted Renteria, and the Golden Hurricanes’ ensuing 28-yard touchdown drive stretched the lead to 13-0. The beginning of the second quarter went no better for the Scots’ offense, as they were forced to punt at their own 42-yard line. The Golden Hurricanes capitalized on this opportunity, growing their lead to 19-0 after an 85-yard march to paydirt. Facing adversity with 6:43 remaining in the second quarter, Wooster dug deep and began to find its stride.
As tight end and Captain Cole Hissong ’23 put it, “there was definitely a lot of frustration after the first two drives, but I believe our ability to calm down and reset is due to the leadership and experience that we have on the offensive side of the ball.” Hissong helped lead the charge on the Scots’ next possession, catching passes for 23 and 28 yards during the Scots’ first touchdown drive of the season. Hissong’s number was called again, as he muscled his way into the endzone on a successful two-point conversion trick play to cut the Geneva lead to 19-8. When asked about the two-point conversion, Hissong noted that “the two-point play was something we’ve had in our back pocket for a few years and just haven’t had the opportunity to run in a game. We’ve repped it dozens of times in practice, so we were able to execute when the time came.” Wooster continued to build momentum when Kobe Nadu ’24 recovered a fumble in Geneva territory. Renteria then slung a 34-yard pass to Andrew Hammer ’25 on the next play for another Wooster touchdown. Head coach Frank Colaprete went back to his bag of tricks to convert another two-point attempt and cut the Geneva advantage to 19-16 by halftime. This time, wide receiver Troy Baughman ’23 completed a pass in the endzone for the conversion. The Scots’ offense got off to a fast start in the second half, seizing a 23-19 lead on a nine-play, 66-yard touchdown march, capped off with a 13-yard strike from Renteria to Baughman.
Though they were outscored 23-0 since the middle of the second quarter, the Golden Hurricanes rebounded on their first drive of the second half, as six running plays enabled them to find the pylon and retake the lead at 25-23. Unbeknownst to Geneva, this would be their last score of the game, as the Scots’ defense swarmed the Golden Hurricanes’ triple option rushing attack for the rest of the game. After a defensive stop and short Geneva punt gave the Scots excellent field position with 5:12 remaining in the third quarter, the offense continued to produce. On this drive, the Scots turned to running back Andrew Yanssens ’23 on six straight rushing plays for a combined 38 yards and finished the drive with a 5-yard Renteria rushing touchdown.
During the fourth quarter, the Scots’ defense continued to shut down Geneva, allowing
the Scots to tack on a field goal with 8:33 remaining to extend the lead to 33-25. A last gasp Hail Mary pass attempt by Geneva was extinguished when defensive end Brandon Holt ’23 had a game-ending sack. Hissong credited the Scots’ defense for their resiliency, saying that “it took longer than we would have liked, but we settled in and were able to execute down the stretch with the help of some big stops from the defense.”
Looking forward, Hissong is excited about building the on-field trust with his quarterback needed for the Scots to be an elite offense. “Playing with Mateo, who will soon be statistically the best quarterback in school history, has allowed both of us to gain a lot of confidence in each other. I have a lot of faith that he will get his eyes in the right place at the right times, and when the ball comes my way, I know he has the trust that I will make a play.
There’s a lot of room for growth for both of us and it’ll only get better from here on out.” If this senior leadership team continues to exhibit the grit that they showed in their opening match, then the Scots will be well on their way to a memorable season.
Wooster will once again hit the road to take on Hiram College on Saturday, Sept. 10 at
12:00 p.m. and try to improve their record to 2-0 on the season.