Two trips to Erie resulted in two wins for The Rock over the past few weekends. Those trips proved to be crucial. After the loss to Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) at home, The Rock took care of their own business, while IUP dropped two straight games.
This game served as the introduction to quarterback Noah Grover. Gannon University won’t soon forget him. In Grover’s first career start at The Rock, he threw for a school record eight touchdowns. The first of which came only four and a half minutes into the game.
“[Noah] is a great leader and he was disappointed he wasn’t the starting quarterback [to begin the season], but he showed his teammates what he could do today,” Lutz said. “I’m pretty speechless about it to be honest, to go in and break a school record in his first start, on the road is unbelievable.”
His first drive, he took the team 76-yards on ten plays, and found Jermaine Wynn Jr. for the touchdown. Less than a minute of gameplay passed before The Rock forced a fumble, and Grover completed a seven-yard pass to Cinque Sweeting for another touchdown. In the blink of an eye The Rock was up 14-0 over The Golden Knights.
Before the end of the quarter Grover completed a pass to John Eakin that put The Rock up 21-0. Coach Shawn Lutz talked last week about how the team needed a dominate performance, and with Grover at quarterback and Evyn Holtz in backfield again, that’s exactly what they were able to do.
“It feels great, we’ve been making it tough on ourselves lately, and to win like this is really great,” Lutz said. “It’s a championship week next week now, and to put ourselves in the position to win the PSAC West and go on to the PSAC championship is unreal.”
In the second quarter, Gannon did strike first, when Kory Curtis hit Johnny Freeman for a 49-yard touchdown pass. Grover and the Slippery Rock offense answered quickly, with four plays and 73-yards, with 36 of them coming on the touchdown pass to Max Maciejewski. Two minutes later, Grover connected with Kyle Sheets, who took the ball 62-yards to the endzone.
Gannon was able to get on the board again before the end of the half off of another touchdown pass to Kory Curtis, but it was the last time that the Golden Knights offense reached the endzone. 14 points is the closest Gannon got all game. At the half, The Rock held a commanding 35-14 lead with Grover’s five touchdown passes in the first half. All five were to different receivers.
The only play of the game that left a bad taste in Lutz’s mouth was a blocked punt on the opening drive of the second half that was returned for a touchdown by Luke Sittinger for The Golden Knights. Those were the last seven points they put on the board.
The next three touchdowns came from none other than Henry Litwin. He had his second hat trick of the season, with his first coming against Seton Hill University. Litwin now has 11 receiving touchdowns and 813-yards receiving this season.
His first touchdown was a 58-yard reception, where he immediately handed the ball to the referee and celebrated with Sheets. Litwin was the sixth different receiver to score in the game. He hauled in two more touchdown receptions, before ultimately being taken out of the game, when The Rock posted a 56-21 lead.
The final score of the game came from Tim Smith with only three minutes left to play. It closed out a dominate performance for The Rock and now, they’re set up to host California University of Pennsylvania (Cal-U) for the chance to go to the PSAC championship for a third straight season.