Dickinson also had possession of the ball for 38 minutes.
By BILL ALBRIGHT
VINDICATOR SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
GROVE CITY -- Sometimes, special teams are not so special.
A fumbled snap in the end zone for a safety in punt formation, a lost fumble on a kickoff return and a punt attempt blocked in the end zone that was recovered for a touchdown. Combine those three blunders with a neatly executed 92-yard, 16-play drive for a touchdown, and you have the major ingredients for Dickinson's 23-14 victory against the Grove City Wolverines Saturday at Robert E. Thorn Field.
"They are a good football team and they deserve credit for winning," said GC coach Chris Smith. "But really, we did more losing today than anything else. We talked about that and the one thing you have to do early in the season is not lose football games. If you don't do things to lose them and execute, you'll have a chance to be there at the end."
The teams traded touchdowns for a 7-all deadlock that appeared to be the halftime score, but that wasn't to be the case.
Early scoring: Grove City went 56 yards on eight plays for its score on a 3-yard run by Mike Orlando on its initial possession of the game before Dickinson came back later to put together its 92-yard TD march with Antonio Tiberi capping the scoring effort from 2 yards out.
"We did everything we were supposed to do," said Smith of the opening drive. "But on the next two drives, we weren't in there long enough because we made mental mistakes that took us out of it. It wasn't that we got whipped. We just did the wrong thing and you can't do that and win."
The Wolverines were forced into a punting situation deep in their own territory.
A high snap from center was "muffed" for a safety, and the Red Devils took a 9-7 lead to the dressing room.
Follow that with a fumble on the kickoff return to begin the second half that set up a Dickinson TD on a 2-yard run by Mike Smith, and the Grove City problems snowballed.
"We gave them a short field as a result of that mistake," said Smith of the fumbled return.
"That combined with two points on a punt and a touchdown on a punt adds up to 16 points right there. Without that 16 we win easily, but with the 16, they won. They are a good team and today, they took advantage of our mistakes. We just have to figure out a way not to do those things."
Long drive: The Wolverines took the ensuing kickoff and went 55 yards on 10 plays, with Jason Walent going over from 1 yard out with 5:08 remaining in the third.
Things looked bright as GC's defensive unit held the Red Devils on their next two possessions. But that is when the third and final nail was put in the Grove City coffin as Andy Kerstetter blocked a punt and Kevin Myers recovered in the GC end zone for what turned out to be the deciding touchdown.
In addition to the mistakes, Smith also felt that time of possession was also a major factor. Dickinson had possession of the ball for 38 of the 60 minutes.
"When you don't have the football, it is difficult to develop any type of tempo," said Smith. "But what it comes down to is that if the defense doesn't get sabotaged by the special teams, we are OK."
The Wolverines (0-1) visit Kenyon next Saturday at 1 p.m.