Football Falls to Bridgewater State, 42-6

Football Falls to Bridgewater State, 42-6

Sept. 13, 2009

by John Cabral

NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's football team found itself in a familiar position Saturday night, facing another non-conference opponent with a potent offense and a wealth of veteran leadership. This time, they also had to contend with slippery footballs and rainy skies. The combination proved lethal, as visiting Bridgewater State grabbed an early lead and never looked back, coasting to a 42-6 victory at Cressy Field Saturday evening.

The Corsairs committed seven turnovers out of twelve total possessions, thwarting several promising drives and preventing others from coming to fruition. On the game's first play from scrimmage, Corsair running back Hymlai Lamisere (Newton, MA/Newton North HS/Iona) lost a fumble which was promptly recovered by Bridgewater linebacker John Ferbert (East Bridgewater, MA/East Bridgewater HS) at the UMass Dartmouth 42 yard line. Two plays later, Bridgewater immediately took advantage. Quarterback Steven Clark (Falmouth , MA/Falmouth HS) broke off a 44 yard touchdown run on an option keeper just 1:23 into the game, giving the Bears the quick lead they would never relinquish.

The fumble was the first of six for the Corsair offense, all of which were lost on turnovers. Exactly half of Bridgewater's points came off turnovers, with two touchdowns scored on ensuing drives after fumbles. The third score off a turnover was redeemed instantly by defensive end Steve Tripp (North Dighton, MA/Dighton-Rehoboth HS), who scooped a fumble forced by Ferbert and ran untouched for a 45 yard touchdown to give the Bears a 35-6 lead with 3:57 remaining in the third quarter.

For the second consecutive week, the Corsairs allowed 21 first quarter points and trailed throughout the contest. But once again, UMD also turned in a strong second half defensive effort, allowing only fourteen second half points after taking a 28-6 deficit to the locker room at halftime.

After the game, UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Mark Robichaud cited the fumbles as a primary factor in the lopsided final score. "You can't put the ball on the ground six times, especially losing all six," Robichaud said. "[Bridgewater] did exactly what we thought they would do, and we just didn't stop them."

The turnovers and the lack of a touchdown overshadowed a consistent Corsair rushing attack, which gained a total of 191 yards on 49 carries. Lamisere and running back James Moore split the workload, gaining 60 and 63 yards respectively.

In a game where only six total passes were completed, quarterback Chris Pinheiro was used primarily in a running capacity, grossing 70 yards but also losing 30 for a net of 40 yards. "Pinheiro showed some good signs, but also made some poor decisions," said Robichaud. Pinheiro put the ball up only six times, completing two passes for 26 yards with one interception. With the outcome no longer in doubt, Pinheiro was replaced by backup Brendan McNeish (Springfield, MA/Bridgton Academy) late in the third quarter.

Pinheiro made several athletic plays on broken pass plays to gain first downs and sustain drives. The most exciting Corsair play of the night was on one such first quarter play, with Pinheiro scrambling for eleven yards on a pivotal third-and-six and flattening Bridgewater linebacker Casey Florence (Bridgewater, MA/Bridgewater-Raynham HS) at the end to the delight of Pinheiro's teammates along the sideline.

The drive stalled shortly thereafter, with the Corsairs settling for a 35-yard Edgar Olsos (Summit, NJ/Summit HS) field goal after a solid 12 play, 46 yard drive spanning 7:15. The Corsair scoring drive came immediately following the Clark touchdown to cut the deficit to 7-3, the closest the game would be at any point after both teams had scored.

Each team had three red zone opportunities. The Bears converted all three for touchdowns, while the Corsairs failed to cross the goal line, settling for three field goal attempts and making two. "We've got to get in," Robichaud said. "We've got to finish drives...we're giving up too many points and not scoring any. It's not rocket science."

Olsos provided all of UMass Dartmouth's scoring, adding a 27 yard field goal which made the score 28-6 with 5:40 remaining in the third quarter. Although converted, the kick was a disappointing end to the best Corsair drive of the night, covering 70 yards on 11 plays. The drive featured a 20 yard run by Lamisere to begin the drive and subsequent runs of 11 and 26 yards by Pinheiro.

The Bears offense relied on a dominant ground game to gain 317 of its 340 total yards. The rushing attack was sparked by Justin Fuller (Berkley, MA/Somerset HS), who ran for 186 yards and a touchdown on just 14 carries, for an average of 13.1 yards per carry. Fuller turned in the play of the night, darting down the sideline for a 53-yard score which raised the Bear lead to 14-3 with 4:19 remaining in the first quarter to provide Bridgewater with what proved to be an insurmountable advantage. "We knew that Fuller was a big, fast, strong kid," Robichaud said. "We were out of position, and our youth on defense showed."

The Corsairs fell to 0-2 with the defeat, while the Bears improved to 2-0 with the victory. UMD will travel to Fitchburg State next Saturday, while BSC will host Salve Regina.