SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Western New England
College reaches the halfway point in its season by hosting Salve
Regina in a New England Football Conference (NEFC) Boyd Division
contest during Homecoming starting at 1:00 p.m. Saturday (Oct.
The Golden Bears are 3-1 after defeating Nichols 28-10 in their division opener last Saturday (Sept. 25). The Seahawks dropped to 1-3 after suffering a 29-28 loss against Endicott.
Junior quarterback Bryce Brown (Guilford, CT) made his first start a successful one by accounting for 183 yards against the Bison. He completed 12-of-21 passes for 111 yards and ran for 72 yards and two touchdowns (16 and 7 yards) in leading WNEC to its third straight win.
Junior running back JJ Jachym (Milford, CT) added 108 yards on the ground and two scores as the Golden Bears scored 28 unanswered points after trailing by 10 with five minutes left in the second period. He ranks fifth in the conference in rushing (102.8 avg.).
This was the second straight week that the Western New England College defense held an opponent to just 10 points. The Golden Bears also picked-off three passes and compiled four tackles for losses against Nichols.
"We didn't start the game very well," said Western New England College coach Keith Emery. "It took a long time, but we got it going in the right direction in the second half."
Although encouraged with his team's performance, Emery noted there is still a lot of room for improvement.
"We are still trying to figure ourselves out in all three phases," he stated. "We haven't quite figured out what we do best yet. We are looking to be much more consistent."
The Golden Bears have four players with 20 or more tackles led by sophomore free safety Phil Tsopanides (Fairfield, CT) with 35 stops (ninth in the league) and senior linebacker Justin Bailey (Northborough, MA) with 25. The defensive backs have 15 breakups with sophomore Corey Brown (Worcester, MA) (five) and senior Pat Lesko (Seymour, CT) (four) leading the way.
Western New England College is second in the NEFC in both scoring defense (15.2 points per game) and rushing offense (220.0 avg.), and sixth in both total offense (300.2) and scoring offense (tied with Plymouth at 20.5).
Salve Regina looks to break three-game skid
After opening its season with a 6-3 win over a good WPI team, the Seahawks have lost three straight, including two contests by a single point.
"Salve is the best team we've have seen yet. We need to defend their skill players who have had success against us in the past. We also need to find a way to run the ball against their tough zone pressure schemes on defense," commented Emery.
Western Massachusetts native senior running back Rob LaRiviere-Tougas (Easthampton, MA) heads the list of several talented players with 268 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. Sophomore back Trey Scales (Boston, MA) is right behind with 226 yards and a pair of scores.
Senior quarterback Mitch Roshong (Verona, NJ) has passed for 293 yards and a TD. Junior receiver Michael Dargan (Meriden, CT) has a team-best 11 catches for 91 yards while junior wide-out Patrick Keenan (Harrisville, RI) has nine receptions for 136 yards and a TD.
Salve Regina ranks third in the conference in rushing defense (113.2 avg.) and sixth in scoring defense (16.5). Junior linebacker A.J. Albert (Franklin Park, NJ) is 10th in the NEFC with 34 tackles.
Both teams have two of the top place-kickers in the league in case the game is close.
Western New England College senior Jake Field (Long Valley, NJ) is 10-for-11 in extra points and two-of-three in field goal attempts. SRU sophomore Brendan Deasy (Quincy, MA) has been perfect on all four PATs and is three-of-four in three-pointers.
This will be the 17th meeting between the teams with the Seahawks leading the series (which started in 1993) by a 13-3 margin. The Golden Bears took last year's meeting in Newport, Rhode Island 17-14.