Worcester, MA --- Sophomore Arron Witkus (Chelmsford, MA) hauled in a 15-yard touchdown from junior Kevin Bumpus (Bridgewater, MA) with no time remaining as Worcester State bested Mass Maritime, 64-63, in a shootout this afternoon in MASCAC football action at Coughlin Field.
Bumpus, who came in relief of junior Pat Viencek (Bernardston, MA) midway through the second quarter, went 22-for-33 with 333 yards and he tied a school record with five touchdowns off the bench for the Blue and Gold. Bumpus also added two runs for nine yards and one score.
Senior AJ Scerra (Marlboro, MA) was the main target for the Lancers grabbing 11 balls for 118 yards and a score while junior Casey Hippert (Douglas, MA) collected eight catches for 105 yards and one touchdown.
For the Lancers (2-1, 1-1 MASCAC), who shattered their school-record for passing yardage in a single game (526), junior Dana Barry (Marlboro, MA) also collected seven receptions for 158 yards and two scores.
Junior Dana Valentine (Roxbury, MA) racked up 321 yards of all-purpose yardage with 126 on the ground, 65 yards through the air and 130 on kickoff returns.
The Buccaneers (2-1, 0-1 MASCAC) were paced by senior Stefan Gustafson (Plymouth, MA/South) who plowed his way for 223 yards and one score on 39 carries as he caught a pair of passes for 75 yards and one touchdown.
Junior John Trudel (Niantic, CT) also was a large facet of the running game with 10 rushes for 51 yards and three touchdowns as he helped Mass Maritime finish with 324 yards rushing.
Senior Mike Stanton (Quincy, MA) completed 31 of his 49 attempts for 365 yards and a trio of scores while junior EJ Bennett (E. Wareham, MA) collected 17 passes for 188 yards and a trifecta of TDs.
Three NCAA Division III single game records were eclipsed in the contest that saw both squads account for 1,385 yards of total offense, 89 first downs and 230 total plays.
Mass Maritime reset the national record for plays in one game (121), first downs (44) and the two teams shattered the previous mark for combined plays of 214 that had been set by Gustavus Adolphus and Bethel on November 2, 1985.
63 points also for marked a new program standard in the setback for MMA and 64 is the second highest in WSU history. The combination of 127 points in regulation is just 11 off the national record set by Brockport State (70) and Hartwick (68) in 2007.
After Buccaneers senior Kevin Stanton (Abington, MA) equalized the Division III single-game record with a 100-yard interception return for six points that brought the score to 41-14 with just over five minutes remaining in the first half, the Lancers offense came right back and erupted for 44 unanswered points over the next two quarters.
Worcester State responded on their ensuing possession on a 60-yard scoring strike from Bumpus to Barry with 3:01 remaining in the second period and then after a key strip sack by freshman Shane Gleim (N. Grovenordale, CT) that put the ball on the MMA 24, the hosts capitalized on a five-yard hookup between Bumpus and junior Jack Sprague (Maynard, MA) with 43 ticks left and the 41-29 score at the intermission.
Valentine's touchdown was set up by sophomore Brian Gencarelli (Niantic, CT), who snared his first interception of the contest at the WSU 29 and returned to midfield.
Down 43-41, the Lancers continued their barrage with the go-ahead score on a Bumpus 38-yard flick to Barry before ending the stanza with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Bumpus to Valentine with 17 seconds left.
The Lancers capped off the rally on a two-point conversion run by Scerra for the 58-41 score at the end of the third quarter.
But Mass Maritime responded with 16 consecutive points as they took the lead late in the fourth quarter.
Stanton got his team back into the game by airing out a 54-yard screen pass to Gustafson, the Buccaneers took advantage of a quick three-and-out and freshman Ryan Quinn (N. Andover, MA) booted a 27-yard field goal for the 58-51 contest with 11:47 left in regulation.
The two squads traded possessions before Worcester State found itself inside the red zone following the second interception of the afternoon by Gencarelli. But Mass Maritime kept the score right where it was on a blocked field goal.
The Buccaneers then marched down the field and made the score 57-56, still in favor of the Lancers, on a four-yard rumble into the end zone by Trudel, but missed out on an opportunity to knot up the score as the ensuing extra point was wide to the left.
However, Mass Maritime recovered an on-side kick on the ensuing kickoff and marched down the field for the go-ahead score. With the ball on their own 41 yard-line, the Buccaneers rushed for 32 yards and the series culminated in a 13-yard scamper by Trudel with 1:10 on the clock.
Opting for the conversion, the Lancers kept the score at 63-58 when Trudel's pass was deflected away by senior Adam Straughn (Rockland, MA).
With 1:04 remaining in regulation, Valentine came through with a 27-yard return to put the ball at the Worcester State 42-yard-line.
Bumpus was nearly perfect on the drive as he completed four passes for 32 yards to help put his team in great position on the MMA 15 to set the stage for the contests final play.
With six seconds remaining on the clock, he heaved a 15-yard strike in the middle of the end-zone that Witkus tipped in the air and hauled in for the game-winning score.
Mass Maritime originally had the early 20-7 edge at the 14:55 mark of the second quarter as Bennett caught three of his touchdowns to account for the bulk of the Buccaneer scoring.
Scerra, who broke the Worcester State career record for receptions in the contest (170), snatched a 36-yard touchdown from Viencek to make the score 20-14, but the Buccaneers used three quick touchdowns to seemingly run away with the game.
Trudel found pay-dirt on a four-yard score before Gustfason scored on a six-yard run 1:01 later after a blocked Lancer punt.
Viencek helped put Worcester State in the red zone and on the goal line, but Mass Maritime took advantage of Stanton's record-tying pick with 5:25 left in the second quarter.
The Lancers were paced defensively by junior Zack Skerry (Milford, MA) who finished with a game-best 13 tackles (11 solo) while Gencarelli added 11 stops (eight solo) with two interceptions and a pair of break-ups.
Straughn also registered 10 tackles (seven solo) and one tackle for a loss.
Junior Victor Andrade (Yarmouthport, MA) propelled the Buccaneer defense with 10 solo tackles and senior Michael Sylvia (Lincoln, MA) chipped in with 10 (9 solo).
Third-year Zach Ryan (Danvers, MA) recorded six solo tackles, one TFL and a pass deflection at the line of scrimmage.
Several other school records were eclipsed in the contest including first downs (35), team pass competions (40), team passing touchdowns (7) and the Lancers total offense is the second highest in program history - just 65 off from the mark set last year in a win against Anna Maria.
Worcester State takes the week off on a bye before heading up I-190 to Fitchburg State for a 1 o'clock matchup on October 12 while Mass Maritime entertains the Falcons at 1 PM next Saturday.