Karns City Grad Salerno Helps Grove City to Season-Opening Win at Juniata
(Photo courtesy of Grove City Athletics)
Grove City amassed 605 total offensive yards, producing a 300-yard passer, two 100-yard receivers and a pair of 100-yard rushers. Additionally, the Grove City defense forced three turnovers and recorded a pair of sacks.
Sophomore quarterback Josh Ehst (Douglassville, Pa./Daniel Boone) completed 16 of 24 passes for a career-high 363 yards and four touchdowns. The 363 yards are the fourth-most in Grove City history.
Junior wide receiver Cody Gustafson (Shippensburg, Pa./Shippensburg) hauled in seven passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns while fellow junior Cameron Drake (Monaca, Pa./Central Valley) pulled in four receptions for 163 yards and a pair of scores.
Sophomore quarterback Cameron Roth (New Holland, Pa./Garden Spot) relieved Ehst and ran for 108 yards on eight carries. Senior running back Wesley Schools (Port Jervis, N.Y./Port Jervis) scored three rushing touchdowns and finished with 106 yards on 27 attempts. Schools also went over the 4,000-yard mark for his career as he now has 4,016 rushing yards.
Grove City jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first 12 minutes. Ehst fired a 42-yard touchdown pass to Drake with 11:10 remaining in the first quarter to cap Grove City’s first drive of the game. Sophomore kicker Nick Morrow (Moon Township, Pa./Moon) kicked the first of his seven extra points to give Grove City a 7-0 lead. Schools slammed in from the 5 at the 3:56 mark, doubling the lead.
Juniata rallied to tie the game as Austin Montgomery threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Bembry and then scored on a two-yard run with 5:50 left in the half.
Grove City reclaimed command by scoring twice in the final 3:24 of the first half. Gustafson caught a 29-yard touchdown strike with 3:24 left, giving the Wolverines the lead for good. Following a Juniata punt, the Wolverines pushed the lead to 28-14 on Schools’ two-yard touchdown run with 23 seconds left in the half. Ehst’s 38-yard completion to Drake on 3rd-and-17 ignited the drive.
Grove City opened the second half with a 12-play, 56-yard drive that consumed 7:32. Schools scored on a three-yard run with 8:28 left in the quarter, giving Grove City a 35-14 lead.
Bembry scored on a six-yard run with 1:46 left in the quarter but Grove City quickly answered as Ehst fired a 60-yard touchdown pass to Drake with 42 seconds left, giving Grove City a 42-20 lead after three quarters. Gustafson then caught a 70-yard touchdown 70 seconds into the fourth quarter, closing the Grove City scoring.
Junior safety Patrick Mark (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Wellington) intercepted a pass for the Wolverines while sophomore inside linebacker Parker Kilgore (Glenshaw, Pa./Shaler) recovered two fumbles. Senior defensive end Chris Wolfe (North Haledon, N.J./Passaic County Tech) and freshman linebacker Ryan Fleming (Bridgeville, Pa./South Fayette) both recorded sacks.
Senior linebacker Luke Salerno (Cowansville, Pa./Karns City) posted 14 tackles for Grove City while Kilgore had eight stops. Sophomore linebacker Nik Grabiec (Newport, Pa./Newport) also had eight tackles.
Montgomery completed 17 of 26 passes for 257 yards. He also ran for 100 yards on 23 attempts. Grove City outgained Juniata, 605-396, and held a 25-21 edge in first downs. Grove City went 11 of 16 on third down while Juniata finished 8 for 13 on third down.
Grove City has now won eight straight games. That is the second-longest active streak in NCAA Division III. It is Grove City’s longest win streak since the 1997 team won eight straight games to close the regular season.
Grove City will host Bethany next Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference opener at Robert E. Thorn Field.
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