Mass Maritime Uses Late Fourth-Quarter Rally to Vault Past Worcester State

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Worcester, MA --- Freshman Mike Stanton (Quincy, MA) amassed 216 yards of total offense which included 196 through the air and a pair of scores as he helped direct Mass Maritime to a late fourth-quarter comeback to defeat Worcester State 21-13 this afternoon in New England Bogan Division Football action.

As the Lancers (3-3, 1-2 NEFC Bogan) clung to a 13-7 advantage with 3:30 left in regulation, the hosts looked to make it a two-possession game with a field goal attempt. The ensuing 30-yard attempt was then blocked by junior Walter Butler (Bourne, MA) as freshman Stefan Gustafson (Plymouth, MA) picked up the loose ball and scampered to the opposing 30 yard-line.

Two plays later the Buccaneers (3-3, 2-1 NEFC Bogan) took the 14-13 lead on a Stanton 30-yard screen pass to Matt White (Westwood, MA).

Worcester State was then held to three and out on their next possession before the Buccaneers went up 21-13 on the second play of their next drive on a Stanton 30-yard flick to sophomore Jonathan Emond (Green Harbor, MA).

With 1:21 remaining in the game, junior Tony Tokarz (Holden, MA) helped lead the Blue and Gold down to the goal line as junior Kenny Russell (Bedford, MA) and senior David Harris (Milford, MA) caught four receptions for 39 yards. The big seven-yard hookup came on fourth down to third-year Cliff Oratakhai (Worcester, MA/South) to get inside the Buccaneer 15.

With 38 seconds left, the Lancers were denied any part of the end zone as they went four and out to end the game. Three of Tokarz's shots were also ruled incomplete which included a key call by an official that was originally ruled a touchdown reception by Russell. 

Mass Maritime originally had the 7-0 lead at the intermission which came in the form of a one-yard plunge by White. The visitors would nearly double-up WSU at the break in yardage (201-101) and they also dominated time of possession by ten minutes (19:57-10:03).

Both teams each had their opportunities to score in the opening half as the Lancers nearly scored in the first quarter, but junior Marcus Price (Worcester, MA/Doherty) was denied on fourth-down at the one-yard line. Worcester State also had a blocked field goal with 22 seconds left in the second quarter that was rejected by junior Charles Sykes (Dartmouth, MA). The Buccaneers would lose the ball three times in the opening quarter inside Worcester State's 30 yard-line on downs.

It would be a defensive gridlock for both squads in the third quarter as they each stalled on their first two possessions. The Lancers finally got on the board with one minute left in the quarter on a 28-yard field goal by freshman Erich Perfetti (Shrewsbury, MA) set up by an interception on the MMA 28 by sophomore Graham Asum (Marlboro, MA).

Worcester State took the 10-7 lead on their next possession on a 10-yard reception from Tokarz to junior Will Franklin (Brattleboro, VT) with 12:44 on the clock in the fourth quarter. WSU added to their lead on a 29-yard field goal by Perfetti at the 7:48 remaining.

The Lancers would hold the Buccaneers to three and out on their own 40 to set up a field goal attempt, which was blocked by the visitors.

White would rush 30 times for 76 yards as he found the end zone twice for Mass Maritime. Tokarz would pass for 175 yards and one score for Worcester State. Price also added 81 yards on the ground for WSU.

Butler propelled MMA defensively as he finished with a team-best 14 tackles (six solo) with the key blocked kick and a sack. Sophomore Sean Carver (Summerfield, FL) chipped in with seven tackles (2.5 for a loss) and one sack.

Senior Tyler Russell (Princeton, MA) went over the century mark in tackles for the season with a career-best 27 tackles (10 solo) as his total now is 103 in six games. Russell had one tackle for a loss and he stopped Gustafson in his tracks on his 52 yard blocked field goal return. Russell was also three off the NCAA Division III record of 30 in one contest.

Junior Cameron Jones (Stow, MA) added 10 tackles (two for a loss) as Asum had three tackles, two pass breakups and an interception. Third-year Ray St. Laurent (Shrewsbury, MA) also had a nine tackles while he blocked punt for WSU at the end of the second quarter.

On the final stat sheet, Mass Maritime finished with slight advantages in rushing yardage (127-122), passing yardage (196-175), total yardage (232-297) and time of possession (32:19-27:41). The Lancers were also held to 2-for-16 on third downs while the Buccaneers were limited to 5 of 16 from third down.

Both squads continue NEFC Bogan Division action when the Lancers look to spoil Bridgewater State's homecoming on the first game on the newly rebuilt Swenson Field at 1 o'clock while MMA entertains Fitchburg State in a noontime game at the Clean Harbors Stadium.


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