Western New England
Pa: Bryce Brown - 160
Ru: Bryce Brown - 307
Rec: Matt O'Brien - 70
Pa: Matt Rende - 53
Ru: Jim Bower - 137
Rec: Nate Duford - 35
Western New England
Time of Poss.
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Western New England College football team capped the best season in program history with its best performance ever after posting a decisive 66-41 victory over Maine Maritime in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) North Central Bowl Championship game Saturday (Nov. 20).
Junior quarterback Bryce Brown (Guilford, CT) set a school record with 467 total yards and five touchdowns in earning the Most Outstanding Player Award. He rushed for 307 yards (another new school mark) and two touchdowns and completed 13-of-15 passes for 160 yards and three scores in the best individual performance in the team's 30-year varsity history.
Brown came through with one big play after another starting with a 77-yard touchdown run that gave the Golden Bears a 14-0 lead at the 7:28 mark of the opening period.
Maine Maritime scored on an 11-yard run by senior running back Todd Murphy (Middlesex, VT) to cut the margin to seven with 4:18 left in the period. Sophomore running back Mike Graham (Norwalk, CT) then returned the kickoff 87 yards that set up a two-run run by junior running back JJ Jachym (Milford, CT) (8 carries, 75 yards) just 18 seconds.
Graham (7 carries, 53 yards) later scored on a four-yard run with 51 seconds left as the Golden Bears took a commanding 28-7 lead after the opening 15 minutes.
Brown then fired touchdown passes of 18 yards to senior tight end Dan Crane (Waterbury, CT) and 20 yards to freshman receiver Houston Moore (Idaho Falls, ID) with seven seconds before halftime for a 42-13 advantage.
Senior All-American fullback Jim Bowers (South Paris, ME) led the Mariners with 137 yards and a touchdown (12 yards). He ended his sensational career with 6,054 yards (sixth best in NCAA Division III history).
Western New England College also set team marks for most points in a game and total yards (686).
Maine Maritime totaled 411 yards, including 358 on the ground that fell just eight yards short of the NCAA record (all division) for rushing yards in a season. The Mariners compiled 5,188 this fall, which was eight shy of the 5,196 total accomplished by Oklahoma in 1971.
Murphy gained 90 yards on 13 carries and three touchdowns (11, 4, 1 yards) while junior quarterback Matt Rende (Augusta, ME) added 85 yards and two scores (3, 10 yards). He also completed 4-of-8 passes for 53 yards.
WNEC received a nice effort from senior receiver Matt O'Brien (South Windsor, CT) who had five catches for 70 yards and a TD (26 yards). Senior Jake Field (Long Valley, NJ) had a school record 12 kick points after converting all nine extra points and an18-yard field goal. Senior linebacker Dylan Chandler (Durham, ME) had five tackles to extend his school record to 329 career tackles.
The Golden Bears finished their remarkable campaign with a 9-2 record that set another school mark (three wins better than the former record set last year). The Mariners end another successful season with a fine 8-3 ledger.