The Titans lost three fumbles and were intercepted twice in their opener.
By BILL ALBRIGHT
NEW WILMINGTON -- In their three previous meetings, Allegheny and Westminster had to go to overtime to decide the outcome.
However, in Saturday's game at Harold Burry Stadium, Allegheny made sure that wouldn't be the case, scoring early and often in a 35-10 win over the Titans.
"Absolutely, absolutely I am relieved [that it wasn't overtime]," laughed Allegheny coach Mark Matlack. "This is a good rivalry and it is much relief on our part with this win. I think we are a better football team now than we were last year at this time, and now, I think we are finally starting to show it on Saturdays."
For Westminster, the game featured an example of Murphy's Law -- anything that could go wrong did go wrong. The Titans suffered three lost fumbles, a pair of interceptions and a bad snap in punt formation.
"It was just one of those things that happen," said Westminster coach Jeff Hand. "The defense was flying around and battling, but it was just one thing after another and that really hurt us."
After being stopped on their first possession at the Titan 1-yard line, the Gators had things pretty much their own way for the rest of the opening 30 minutes.
Rolled to 21-0 lead
Taking advantage of the five turnovers and the bad snap, the Gators racked up 21 unanswered points.
Regardless of the weather conditions which turned the surface into a muddy mess, the Gators hoped for a balanced attack and it worked for them. They finished with 195 yards rushing and another 248 passing.
"If you look at our numbers over the past four years, we have been fifty-fifty," said Matlack. "We want to be a balanced football team, and today, you could see that when we hit on all cylinders, it really keeps the defense off balance."
The first two Gator scores came through the air; quarterback Jimmy Savage hit Dallas Robinson with a 7-yard scoring pass, then connected with James Jones connected on a 29-yard play for a 14-0 lead after the first quarter.
Savage finished 16-of-32 for 230 yards and three scores despite having at least a half dozen attempts dropped.
"You have to just go back and play the next play," Savage said about the drops. "It [being able to throw the ball] wasn't really as bad as we thought it would be. All week we heard about the hurricane effects so we practiced with soaking wet balls and prepared for the worst."
Allegheny extended its lead to 21-0 with two minutes remaining in the first half when tailback Mario Tarquinio ran into the end zone from 27 yards out for the score.
The Titans used a no-huddle offense to move down the field where Fred Romeo nailed a 22-yard field goal with nine seconds remaining in the half.
The Gators made it 28-3 on a 1-yard run by Tarquinio and the teams traded TDs the rest of the way.