Worcester, MA --- Junior Kenny Russell (Bedford, MA) hauled in five passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns while classmate Marcus Price (Worcester, MA/Doherty) had 181 yards on the ground with a score as Worcester State rolled to a 41-6 homecoming victory over Fitchburg State in New England Football Conference action this afternoon.
With the win the Lancers improve to 5-4 overall and even out to 3-3 in the Bogan Division while the Falcons slip to 1-8 and 1-5 in league play.
Freshman Andrew Scerra (Marlboro, MA) caught four passes for 138 yards and one touchdown while junior Tony Tokarz (Holden, MA) added a career-high 278 yards passing with three touchdowns. Freshman Stephen Payen (Clermont, FL) also rushed four times for 63 yards and a TD as Price averaged 9.1 yards on 20 carries. Price is 22 yards shy of 1,000 for the season.
Fitchburg State was paced by junior Jeremy Kimber's (Fitchburg, MA) 231 passing yards while senior Kyle Callahan (Stoneham, MA) chipped in with six receptions for 80 yards for the Falcons only score on offense. Third-year Joshua Schrum (Johnstown, NY) and freshman Antonio Diaz (Holyoke, MA) also teamed to catch eight receptions for 78 yards.
Senior Tyler Russell (Princeton, MA), who entered the contest second in Division III in tackling, finished with a contest best 19 tackles (eight solo), 3.5 for a loss of 11 yards, with a sack and a forced fumble. Russell now has an eye popping 153 stops in nine games. Junior Joe Sweet (Walpole, MA) was also a force on the defensive line with 11 tackles (seven solo), 2.5 TFL for nine yards and one sack.
Sophomore Graham Asum (Marlboro, MA) forced two turnovers with a 56-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown and his team-leading sixth interception. Freshman Marlon Webb (Templeton, MA) added a fumble recovery as third-year Cameron Jones (Stow, MA) snared his fifth interception of the season. Junior Ray St. Laurent (Shrewsbury, MA) also distinguished himself with seven tackles and a strip-sack.
The Falcons were propelled on defense by sophomore Michael Hoadley (Forestdale, MA) who had six tackles (five solo), two which were for a loss and a sack while senior Anthony Bizzotto (Leominster, MA) finished with another sack and a forced fumble. Second-year James Rupp (Winchendon, MA) and freshman Roman Myrick (Fall River, MA) also picked off passes as Rupp also recovered a fumble.
WSU outgained the Falcons with a 531 total yards (253 rushing – 278 passing) while Fitchburg State rolled out 327 yards, most of which came via the air (231). Amazingly, Fitchburg State had more first downs than Worcester State (18-17) and they almost doubled up the Lancers in time of possession (38:22-21:38).
Tokarz put the Lancers on top early on in the game as Russell scored his first touchdown on a 14-yard reception 2:45 into the contest. Two Worcester State turnovers sandwiched a Falcon miscue before the visitors drove all the way down into Blue and Gold territory. They looked to put points on the board, but junior Lenny Masciangioli (Leominster, MA) missed a 35-yard field goal.
Both squads then traded possessions before the Lancers went up 13-0 (kick attempt failed) on Asum's fumble recovery for a touchdown early on in the second quarter. After the Falcons went three and out, Worcester State used their second play of the drive to go up 20-0 with 10:55 remaining in the half on an 82-yard scoring strike from Tokarz to Scerra.
After four drives stalled between the two teams, Fitchburg State used a 10 play, 59 yard drive to break the shutout just before the end of the half on Callahan's seven-yard score. Senior Paul Lewis (Worcester, MA/South) blocked the PAT for his team-leading third block. Lewis would also reject a punt on the goal line for his sixth career block on special teams.
Worcester State put the game out of reach with a 61-yard touchdown reception by Russell in the third quarter and with six and 17-yard runs by Price and Payen, respectively, in the final period.
In the second half of play the Lancers would hold the Falcons to 100 yards of total offense as they only saw the other side of the field three times in nine possessions and the red zone once. Their only chance of the final stanza of play to score came on a 70 yard drive that started on their own 19. Fitchburg State had second and ten on the WSU 11, but Worcester State used a great goal-line stand to keep the score at 20-6 to begin the fourth quarter of play.
Worcester State looks for their first winning season since 2004 in the finale of their ten-game campaign with a road game against Framingham State next Saturday at 12 PM. Fitchburg State will try to end their year on a positive note as they head to Westfield State in a noontime matchup.