Mariners Rally Falls Short; Lancers Spoil Homecoming Saturday
CASTINE, Maine – Worcester State quarterback Corey Spencer (Malden, Mass.) was responsible for five touchdowns in the Lancers 47-34 win over Maine Maritime Academy in New England Football Conference Bogan Division action on Saturday. Spencer completed 23-of-30 passes for 298 yards and four touchdowns, and rushed for 11 yards and another score to move Worcester State to 4-1 (2-0 Bogan) on the season. Maine Maritime fell to 0-4 (0-2 Bogan).
Spencer factored in the first pair of scores as the Lancers raced out to a 20-0 lead. His first score, a one-yard plunge on Worcester State's second possession, capped a seven-play, 55-yard drive. Kemani Jones (Milton, Mass.) accounted for 38 yards on the series, gashing the Mariners for runs of 12 and 25 yards to set up the score. Jones rushed for 67 yards and a score on 19 carries in the contest. The Lancers started their next possession on the Mariners' side of the field following a penalty for interfering with a fair catch. Spencer completed pair of passes for a combined yards, before polishing off the drive with a 29-yard toss to Casey Hippert (Douglass, Mass.) who got beyond the Maine Maritime secondary down the middle of the field.
Hippert finished the game with 123 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns on six receptions. He was one of two Lancers to post a 100-yard receiving performance. A.J. Scerra (Marlboro, Mass.) caught a game-high nine passes for 106 yards.
Mike Dance (Rocky Hill, Conn.) made it 20-0 on the next Worcester State possession, scoring on a draw from 16 yards out with five seconds left in the first quarter. The early hole was too deep for Maine Maritime to escape.
The Mariners got on the board 52 seconds later when Bradley Reed (Belfast, Maine) hit Shane Sullivan (Bucksport, Maine) 15 yards beyond the secondary on a play-fake. The Mariners' 73-yard touchdown was quickly answered, however, by Hippert's second score of the day. This one came on a 46-yard pass from Spencer.
Maine Maritime got it to 27-14 on the next possession. Back-to-back runs by Ryan O'Neal (Higganum, Conn.) and Joseph DiBiase (Portland, Maine) yielded 22 and 25 yards, respectively. Fullback Billy Wetherbee (Veazie, Maine) gashed the Lancers through the middle of the defense two plays later, scoring from 16 yards out. Reed's plunge on the two-point try made it a 27-14 game. The Mariners' defense held for the bulk of the third quarter, but a late interception set up Spencer and company on the Maine Maritime 40 in the waning minutes of the second quarter. Spencer hit Jack Sprague (Maynard, Mass.) to make it a three-score game, 33-14, heading into the locker rooms.
The Mariners got back within two touchdowns when a DiBiase score from three-yards out capped a nine-play, 73-yard drive to start the third quarter, but Jones scored his touchdown a two-yard run to take advantage of another short field on a drive that started at the Mariners' 37. Spencer fired off another touchdown pass early in the fourth to make it 47-21, but the Mariners refused to go away quietly. Michael Cummings (Bucksport, Maine) led a 10-play, 69-yard drive that ended when he called his own number on the goalline. A fumble on the ensuing kickoff set the Mariners up in Lancers' territory. Wetherbee covered the final three feet on a 41-yard dive to make it the 47-34 final.
Wetherbee led all Mariners' rushers with 72 yards on 17 carries, while O'Neal picked up 69 yards on eight touches. DiBiase rushed for 41 yards on 10 carries. The Mariners three quarterbacks combined for a 6-of-11 afternoon, resulting in 149 yards.
The game saw 779 combined yards of total offense, with Worcester State accounting for 407 yards to the Mariners' 372. Despite the gaudy offensive totals, both defenses saw several outstanding individual performances. Michael Denis recorded nine tackles including seven solo stops for WSU, while Adam Straughn (Rockland, Mass.) recorded nine tackles and blocked two PATs. Matt Begley (E. Bridgewater, Mass.) counted a pair of sacks and six solo tackles among his eight stops for the Lancers, while Maine Maritime's John Regis (Old Orchard Beach, Maine) matched his production in the sack category, setting the Lancers back 15 yards. Alex Hermes (Fallsington,Pa.) recorded 10 tackles, six of which were solo stops, and forced a fumble. Brock Lawrence (Benton, Maine) posted nine stops.
Maine Maritime returns to action next weekend when the Mariners host Westfield State University. Worcester State returns home to host Massachusetts Maritime.