BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – The Bridgewater State University football team scored on each of its first seven possessions as the host Bears rolled to a 48-21 New England Football Conference (NEFC) Bogan Division victory over Maine Maritime Academy on Saturday afternoon at Swenson Field.
Bridgewater improves to 8-1 on the season and 5-1 in the Bogan Division, while Maine Maritime falls to 0-8 overall and 0-6 in divisional play. The Bears now lead the all-time series, 24-21-1. Prior to the game, the Bears honored 18 seniors who were playing in their final regular season home game.
Senior running back Ben Desmarais (South Hadley, Mass.) rushed for three touchdowns and junior quarterback Mike McCarthy (Edgartown, Mass.) threw for a 42-yard touchdown and added a six-yard scoring run to lead the BSU offense. Senior running back Mike Gentili (Leominster, Mass.) rushed for a team-best 85 yards on 11 carries and found the end zone on a ten-yard run.
McCarthy completed 2 of 2 passes for 55 yards and also added 39 yards on the ground on just four carries. McCarthy hooked up with junior receiver Matt Green (Stoughton, Mass.) on the 42-yard TD pass to open the scoring. McCarthy would give the Bears a 14-0 lead with his six-yard run and Desmarais notched his first touchdown of the day from five yards out to close out the first quarter scoring.
Sophomore running back Blaise Branch (Brockton, Mass.) staked Bridgewater to a 27-0 lead early in the second quarter on a seven-yard TD run. Gentili's touchdown made in 34-0 and Desmarais found the end zone from five yards out with 4:44 remaining in the first half to make it 41-0.
Maine Maritime freshman quarterback Michael Fahey (Union, Mass.) got the Mariners on the board with a two-yard touchdown run with just five seconds left in the half. Fahey played well off the bench for the Mariners as he completed all three of his pass attempts for 57 yards and rushed for 85 yards on 21 attempts.
The Bridgewater defense was outstanding over the first three quarters. The Bears gave up just 140 yards of total offense through three periods, forced three turnovers (two fumbles, one interception) and recorded ten tackles for loss including a pair of sacks.
Desmarais rounded out the scoring for the Bears with a one-yard TD plunge to give the hosts a 48-7 lead.
Maine Maritime would score a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns on a Dylan Webster (Belfast, Maine) one-yard run and a Wade Severance (Hollis Center, Maine) 54-yard fumble return to account for the final tally of 48-21.
Junior defensive end Tate Doehler (Lakeville, Mass.) paced the BSU defense with five solo tackles with a sack and two tackles for loss. He also forced and recovered a fumble and batted down a pass. Senior linebacker Alex Monteiro (Portsmouth, R.I.) added six solo stops, while sophomore linebacker David Silvia (Barrington, R.I.) notched five tackles, including two for loss, and forced a fumble. Senior cornerback Vincent Henry (Middleboro, Mass.) came up with the Bears' interception as he picked off his second pass of the season. Senior defensive tackle Paul Melicharek (Glen Rock, N.J.) added three solo tackles including a sack. Melicharek leads the team with 17 tackles for loss and 6 ½ sacks.
Bridgewater was flagged for 15 penalties in the game for 155 yards, both season highs. The Bears had two long rushing touchdowns called back on holding penalties on the same drive in the third quarter, and also had what would have been a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown called back on an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Bridgewater did not score on either drive.
Next Saturday, Bridgewater will head to Buzzards Bay to take on Massachusetts Maritime Academy in the 34th Annual Ocean Spray Cranberry Bowl. Kickoff is slated for noon. Maine Maritime travels New London, Connecticut for a noontime game at Coast Guard.
Notes: With his rushing touchdown, McCarthy tied Jeff Caputo (1993-93) for 15th place on the Bears' all-time scoring list as he now has 132 points in his career.