Fitchburg, MA --- The Bridgewater State College Bears racked up 470 yards on the ground en-route to a 45-31 NEFC Bogan Division victory over host Fitchburg State College Saturday afternoon at Elliot Field.
The rushing duo of quarterback Steven Clark (East Falmouth, MA) and running back Jason Williams (East Falmouth, MA) combined for 270 yards on the ground as the Bears improved to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the Bogan Division of the NEFC. The Falcons, despite getting 156 yards on the ground from running back Marlon Thornton (Bloomfield, CT) and 241 yards in the air from quarterback Jim Miller (East Hampton, NY), fell to 0-4 overall and 0-2 in the NEFC Bogan.
Bridgewater dominated the opening 20 minutes of play, jumping out to a 14-0 cushion behind a 12-yard run by Bruce Burley (Mansfield, MA) and a six-yard pitch and catch from Clark to Chris Joyce (Bridgewater, MA). The first score capped a 16-play that spanned 92 yards and ate up 7:41 of the first quarter and the second score came with 11:39 to play in the first half and was the culmination of a 12-play 87-yard drive that took up nearly five minutes.
Fitchburg responded quickly with a 60-yard drive lasting 1:21 seconds ending with a 35-yard touchdown strike from Miller to wideout Dan Tarantino (Aurora, NY). After BSC tacked on a 25-yard field goal from Brian DiCristoforo (Hope, RI), the hosts were able to go into the locker room trailing by just three points at 17-14. Miller led the Falcons down the field 58 yards in just 41 seconds and into the end zone on a 40- yard connection to tight end Kenny Russell, Jr (Bedford, MA).
The second half featured more offense and more trading of punches, as the Bears opened the second half in the same manner they opened the contest. Clark, who was on the bench for most of the second quarter, was the catalyst in the closing half, rushing for a pair of touchdowns, including an 18-yard scamper on an option keeper to extend the visitors lead to 31-21 with 8:28 remaining in the third quarter.
FSC kicker Evan Georgopoulos (Melrose, MA) drilled a 24-yard field goal with 3:58 to play in third and Bridgewater's ground attack went to work again, grinding out a 10-play 86-yard drive that drained the final three minutes of the third quarter. The exclamation point came with 14:56 to play in the game when Williams raced into the end zone from eight yards out for a 38-24 lead. The Falcons took the ensuing kickoff, which was returned 34 yards to the BSC 42 by Dan Langlois (Oxford, MA), and marched the rest of the way to paydirt. Langlois finished the two-minute drive when he hauled in a bullet pass from Miller from 15 yards out to cut the Bridgewater lead to 38-31.
The Bears responded with another methodical drive that chewed up just over three minutes of clock and covered 54 yards in eight plays. Clark rounded out the scoring with a four-yard TD run with 9:17 to go in the fourth. That would be the final scoring of the afternoon as Bridgewater thwarted the Falcons in the red zone inside of two minutes in the game, putting the finishing touches on the victory. Defensively, the Bears were led by Casey Florence (Bridgewater, MA), who had six tackles. Mohammed Kanu (Randolph, MA/Randolph) added 5.5 tackles and a forced fumble while Ernst Appolon (Malden, MA) contributed five tackles.
The Falcons' defense was anchored by senior linebacker Ryan Miller (Brattleboro, VT) and his 7.5 tackles. Linebacker Rich Russo (Quincy, MA) and safety Dan Underwood (Bellflower, CA) each added seven tackles in the loss.