SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – For the first time
in its 30-year history as a varsity program, the Western New
England College football team has a 4-1 record after a 10-5
Homecoming victory over Salve Regina University before 1,655 fans
Saturday (Oct. 2).
This was the fourth straight victory for the Golden Bears who remained perfect in the New England Football Conference (NEFC) Boyd Division with a 2-0 mark.
Junior running back JJ Jachym (Milford, CT) ran six yards for the game's only touchdown and senior Jake Field (Long Valley, NJ) drilled a career best 43-yard field goal to account for the Western New England College points.
The Seahawks took a 3-0 lead when sophomore Brendan Deasey (Quincy, MA) booted a 20-yard field goal with 21 seconds left in the first period. The points came after sophomore strong safety Matthew Markese (West Hartford, CT) blocked a WNEC punt and freshman defensive back Joe Michanczyk (Tolland, CT) returned it 10 yards to the Golden Bears' 35.
Western New England College's defense stopped SRU three times from the two-yard line to set-up Deasey's kick.
Jachym put the hosts ahead with his fourth touchdown of the season on a fourth-and-one at the 9:10 mark of the second quarter to cap a 10-play, 67-yard drive. Field then gave the hosts a seven-point advantage with his third field goal in as many attempts this season.
Salve Regina (1-4, 0-2 Boyd) couldn't take advantage of a WNEC turnover late in the third period having a run attempt stopped on fourth-and-goal at the two by senior linebacker Justin Bailey (Northborough, MA). The Seahawks did gain two points on a safety two plays later when Jachym was tackled in the end zone by junior linebacker A.J. Albert (Franklin Park, NJ) five seconds into the final quarter.
SRU used a 22-yard punt return by junior Michel Dargan (Meriden, CT) to start a drive at the WNEC 30 with 10:48 left, but the Golden Bears' defense again took over on downs at its own 29 with 7:31 left in the contest.
With time running down, Field delivered another key kick with a 45-yard punt to the SRU 31 with a minute to play.
The Seahawks quickly drove to the WNEC 28 before the game ended when sophomore James Georges (Stamford, CT) sacked junior defensive end quarterback Jimmy Connelly (Berlin, CT) with an assist from junior nose guard Nate Kuzmeski (Tolland, CT) on the final play of the game.
Western New England College had a slight 208-186 advantage in total yards as the two defenses forced 16 punts (nine by Salve Regina).
Junior quarterback Bryce Brown (Guilford, CT) completed 10-of-15 passes for 125 yards and didn't have any interceptions despite being sacked six times. Junior receiver Kenny Muhlack (Groton, CT) had five receptions for 52 yards.
Connelly struggled in his second career start completing only 13-of-31 passes for 91 yards. He didn't allow an interception as well, but was sacked four times. Senior receiver Nick Piscitelli (North Haven, CT) also had five catches for 35 yards. Sophomore running back Trey Scales (Boston, MA) had a game-high 58 yards on the ground in 12 carries.
Georges (who had three-and-a-half stops for losses) and Bailey each finished with seven tackles while freshman linebacker Brandon Orsmby (Windsor, CT) contributed six stops. Bailey also added a sack.
Albert recorded nine tackles for Salve Regina while sophomore defensive back Maxwell Shubert (West Chester, PA) had eight stops along with a pair of forced fumbles. Junior strong safety Jeff Bartek (North Haven, CT) chipped in with three sacks among his four tackles.
Western New England College has won nine of 10 contests dating back to last season.
This also was the first 10-5 game the Golden Bears' played in 347 NCAA Division III contests dating back to 1981.