Westfield, Mass. –- Sophomore running back Drew Lyons (Clinton, MA) rushed for 158 yards on 35 carries and a touchdown, and Westfield State thwarted a last-minute comeback by Bridgewater for a 21-14 Homecoming victory Oct. 20.
Both teams are now 4-3 overall and 3-2 in the New England Conference Bogan Division following the game that provided many thrills in the final six minutes.
Bridgewater tied the score at 14-all with 5:40 remaining when quarterback Steve Clark (Falmouth, MA) capped an eight-play, 67-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge on fourth down.
But the Owls quickly responded to score the game-winning
touchdown with 3:06 remaining. Sparked by five rushes from Lyons,
Westfield marched 62 yards in seven plays, scoring a beautifully
executed inside trap by senior fullback Tim Thomas
(Ashland, MA) from 14 yards.
On Bridgewater’s next possession, Westfield sophomore defensive back Josh Mathieu (Fitchburg, MA) intercepted a pass with 1:56 remaining.
Bridgewater then stopped Westfield on three running plays to force a punt, which was an excellent 56-yard boot by Brad Barnard that rolled dead at the 5-yard line with 1:18 remaining.
The Bears drove down the field on a combination of pass and run
plays to the sidelines that
preserved time on the clock. But they finally ran out of time.
On a first down play from the Westfield 17 with five seconds
remaining, the hard-charging Owl
defense flushed quarterback Greg Borsari (Kingston, MA) out of the pocket. He ran to his right as time expired, then lofted a pass to the middle of the field that was broken up near the goal line by Owl freshman Dave Jolicoeur (Wilbraham, MA).
Both teams had its share of missed opportunities in the red zone. The Bears ran 20 plays on their first possession of the game, but their drive stalled and Westfield senior defensive back Ricky Angus blocked a 20-yard field goal attempt.
Bridgewater took a 7-0 second-quarter lead on its second possession when it marched 72 yards in 15 plays, capped by a five-yard pass from Clark to Chris Joyce (Bridgewater, MA).
But it only took Westfield three plays to score its first touchdown, which was set up on a 61-yard kickoff return to the Bridgewater 17 by sophomore Ryan Leroux (Greenfield, MA). Junior reserve fullback P.J. Malone (Colrain, MA) scored on a 1-yard touchdown.
Westfield took advantage of one of four Bridgewater turnovers to
take a 14-7 with 2:37 remaining in the third quarter. The 10-play,
42-yard drive was capped by a 3-yard TD run by Lyons.
Bridgewater racked up 27 first downs and an even 400 total offensive yards, including 272 rushing yards on 56 carries in its deceptive option attack. Russell rushed for a team-high 123 yards on 17 carries and caught three passes for 33 yards.
Clark completed 8 of 13 passes for 76 yards and a touchdown. He
also rushed for 46 yards and
another score. Joyce caught 7 passes for 68 yards a touchdown.
Junior cornerback Aaron Santos (Providence, RI) paced the Bears defensively with 9 tackles (8 solo) to go along with an interception.
The Owls had 333 yards in total offense. Junior quarterback Dan Cohen (Wilbraham, MA) completed an efficient 13 of 25 passes for 150 yards.
Senior wide receiver Scott McIntyre (Bristol, CT), who ranks fourth nationally in NCAA Division III in receptions per game, has six catches for 96 yards.
Junior linebacker Jay Fielding led the Owls with another
spectacular effort. The Metheun native
recovered a Bridgewater fumble and racked up 20 tackles.
It was the third game this season Fielding has had 20 or more tackles. And entering the game, he was ranked second nationally in tackles per game.