Courtesy of Westminster Athletics
HIRAM, Ohio - The Westminster College football team opened the season with a 23-6 win at Hiram Saturday in non-conference action. The Titans (1-0) scored 23 unanswered points and out-rushed the Terriers, 198-55, thanks to sophomore John Proano (Titusville, Pa./Titusville) who rushed for 123 yards and one touchdown on 13 carries in his debut as the Titans' starting running back.
Junior quarterback Shawn Lehocky (Conway, Pa./Freedom) also had a productive day for Westminster as he rushed 14 times for 64 yards and a 2-yard touchdown in the second quarter that gave the Titans a 10-6 lead. Lehocky also threw for 76 yards on 8-of-17 passing with an interception.
Freshman wide receiver Austin Cope (East Palestine, Ohio/East Palestine) was Lehocky's favorite receiver, as Cope snared three passes for 43 yards.
Hiram (0-1) took a 6-0 lead on a pair of Luke Russo field goals from 30 yards in the first quarter and 38 yards in the second quarter. Westminster junior kicker Trevor Young (Ellwood City, Pa./Riverside) knocked down a 33-yard field goal to cut the Hiram lead to 6-3 before Lehocky's touchdown run culminated a seven-play, 44-yard drive and gave the Titans the lead for good.
With his team leading 10-6, Lehocky threw an interception on Westminster's first drive of the second half as he was picked off by Chase Laudato. The Terriers then marched 79 yards on 16 plays to the Westminster 1-yard line before the Titans stuffed the Terriers twice on third down-and-goal from the 1 and fourth-and-goal from the 1.
Hiram then gambled again in the third quarter, faking a punt on fourth-and-25 from its own 22-yard line. The play gained only 18 yards and when Westminster took over possession, the Titans scored on three plays including Proano's 7-yard touchdown run that put the Titans up 16-6.
On Hiram's ensuing possession, Westminster sophomore safety Kyle Allen (New Wilmington, Pa./West Middlesex) intercepted a pass from Hiram quarterback Brendan Rehor and returned it 33 yards for the touchdown. The interception was Allen's fifth of his career and his first returned for a touchdown.
Rehor finished the game with 300 passing yards on 31-of-46 passing. Chris Austin led the Terriers with 33 rushing yards on 12 carries.
Westminster senior linebackers Cory Meeker (Glen Dale, W.Va./John Marshall) and Jake Brown (Medina, Ohio/Medina) each posted career highs for tackles with 15 stops apiece. Their previous highs were both 11 tackles. Senior linebacker Tom Geraghty (Austinburg, Ohio/Jefferson) also posted a personal-best 12 tackles for the Titans.
Westminster remains out of conference when it travels to Lycoming on Saturday, Sept. 11 for a 1 p.m. kickoff.