SPRINGFIELD, MA-Host Western New England scored three second-half touchdowns and pulled away from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's football team, 38-12, in the New England Football Conference Boyd Division regular season finale for both teams at Golden Bear Stadium Saturday.
The Corsairs had scored to cut the WNE lead to five points, 17-12, with 11:08 to play in the third quarter before the Golden Bears broke loose.
UMD had the first opportunity, as freshman defensive back Abiola Abonshade (Attleboro, MA/Attleboro HS) intercepted a pass and returned it 57 yards to the Western New England two-yard line on the Golden Bears' first possession. But WNE held on three plays, and a field goal attempt by senior kicker Edgar Osols' (Summit, NJ/Summit HS) sailed wide.
Western New England punted, but Abonshade muffed it and the Golden Bears recovered at the UMD 21 on their next drive. Nick Fox-Edele kicked a 31 yard field goal to make it 3-0.
Osols came back with a 42 yard field goal in the second quarter to make it 3-3 after Corsair senior defensive back Nick Brett (Loudon, NH/Merrimack Valley HS) recovered a fumble by Tucker Schumitz on an Osols punt. Schumitz fumbled and sophomore linebacker Art Azatyants (Brookline, MA/Brookline HS) recovered at the Western New England 18, and Osols added a 35-yarder to make it 6-3.
WNE quarterback John Krafick connected with Kareem Hicks from 61 yards on the Bears' next possession to make it 10-6. Western New England held, then drove 70 yards in nine plays, and Michael Graham ran 17 yards to the UMD 2, fumbled and Hicks recovered it in the end zone to make it 17-6 at halftime.
Western New England drove deep into UMD territory on their first possession of the third quarter, but senior defensive back Joune Fraser (Barnstable, MA/Barnstable HS/Erie CC) stepped in front of a Krafick pass and raced 90 yards for a touchdown. The PAT was blocked.
The Golden Bears came back and took a 24-12 lead on Krafick's 19-yard scoring run. Krafick hit Schumitz and Rob Cannata with fourth-quarter touchdown passes to account for the final score.
"Everyone played hard, and our defense kept us in it for a good part of the game," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Mark Robichaud. "Offensively, it was (senior) Brendan's (McNeish, Springfield, MA/Agawam HS/Bridgton Academy) first start at quarterback in several years, and although he did a nice job, it was tough to get the offense moving. Our defense played great. They gave up some big plays, but they created a bunch of big plays. (Freshman linebacker) Derek Tarpey (Tewksbury, MA/Tewksbury HS) did a real nice job at linebacker, Joune Fraser ran back a pick for a touchdown, and (senior wide receiver) Nick Hiou (Peabody, MA/Peabody HS) had his best game of the year on offense."
McNeish completed 14 of 30 passes for 56 yards for UMD, which was outgained, 499 yards to 79. Kevin Cook rushed 29 times for 125 yards for Western New England, while Krafick was 16 of 32 for 232 yards. There were 11 turnovers in the game, six by the Golden Bears.
Tarpey made 21 tackles to lead everyone defense. He had eight solo stops, and three tackles for lost yardage. Junior linebacker Joe Texeira (Seekonk, MA/Seekonk HS) and junior defensive back William Bizcaino (Dorchester, MA/Cathedral HS/New Hampshire) each had 12 stops, while Fraser made 11 stops. Alex Miller had seven stops for the Golden Bears.
UMass Dartmouth dropped to 1-9 and 1-6 in the NEFC Boyd Division with the defeat, while Western New England improved to 6-4 and 4-3 with the victory. The game marked the end of the regular season for both teams.
UMASS DARTMOUTH FOOTBALL