At halftime the Golden Bears will honor the 1981 squad on its 30th Anniversary as the program's first NCAA Division III football team. WNE posted a 5-4 record that season under the direction of coach Mark Federici.
Western New England (6-1) ran its winning streak to five games and stayed unbeaten in the Boyd Division at 4-0 with a 31-0 victory at MIT on October 15. It was WNE's first shutout since the 2006 season.
Freshman running back Kevin Cook (Hamburg, NJ) and sophomore defensive tackle Kevin Soule (Medfield, MA) each made the weekly NEFC honor roll for their performances against the Engineers. He had the first 100-yard outing of his career, finishing with a game-high 135 yards on 21 carries (6.4 avg.). He also scored two touchdowns (49 and 1 yards) for the second straight week. Soule compiled 10 tackles with a sack and helped anchor the defensive unit that held MIT to only 149 yards.
Also in the game, senior quarterback Bryce Brown (Guilford, CT) contributed 206 yards in total offense with a pair of rushing TDs (1 and 4 yards). Freshman Nick Fox-Adele (Springfield, MA) added a season-best 42-yard field goal. Senior defensive tackle Rob Kampson (West Islip, NY) chipped-in with six tackles and a fumble recovery.
"The long touchdown run by Cook on fourth down, and our scoring drive to start the second half and expand our lead were among the highlights," said Western New England coach Keith Emery. "The goal-line stand at the end of the game to preserve the shutout was also nice to watch."
Through seven contests, Brown remains second in the NEFC in total offense (198.8 avg.) and third in scoring (54 points). Fox-Edele is second in kick scoring (42 points). Sophomore backup quarterback John Krafick (New Milford, CT) is fourth with a 36.7 punting average and junior free safety Nicholas Silvester (Weatogue, CT) is tied for fourth in interceptions (4). Senior linebacker Todd Krolikowski (Bristol, CT) and junior defensive end James Georges (Stamford, CT) are third (13.5) and fifth (11.5), respectively, in tackles for losses.
Western New England is first in the conference interceptions (16), second in rushing defense (117.4), and third in both total defense (244.1) and pass defense (126.7). The Golden Bears also rank tied for second in turnover margin (1.71), sixth in scoring offense (25.7) and eighth in total offense (315.1).
Plymouth (4-3, 2-2 Boyd) saw its two-game win streak come to an end with a 49-0 loss against division leader Endicott. The Panthers have one of the better defensive teams in the conference ranking fifth in total defense (289.7), seventh in scoring defense (21.3), and eighth in pass defense (146.9).
"Everything Plymouth does is unique, offense, defense, and special teams," stated Emery. "They are very difficult to prepare for. It's a complete turnaround from last week's spread offense used by MIT and we need to be ready for their style of attack."
The Panthers have perhaps the most versatile player in the region in senior defensive back Christian Mulcahy (Norwich, CT). He leads the conference in kick return average (34.6) that inches a 90-yard score against Nichols, and is tied for first in interceptions (5). Mulcahy also is tenth in the league in punting (35.76) and has 21 kick points, including a 42-yard field goal (also against MIT).
Junior tailback Andrew Foglia (Montauk, NY) is 10th in the NEFC with 577 yards rushing with four touchdowns. Freshman quarterback Joey Avila (Gloucester, MA) has 134 yards passing and three scores. Senior defensive tackle Nicholas Keene (Auburn, ME) has a team-best 48 tackles.
This will be the 14th meeting between the schools with the panthers leading the series by a 12-1 margin. The Golden Bears finally earned their first win 14-6 last year in Plymouth, New Hampshire.