Aiken, Hoff both top 100 yards on the ground as Golden Bears compile season-high 338 rushing yards
MILTON, Mass. (November 4, 2017) – Western New England University used a potent rushing attack to capture the inaugural Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC Football) title with a 42-28 victory over Curry College on Saturday afternoon at Walter M. Katz Field.
In a battle between CCC Football's last two remaining undefeated teams, Western New England compiled a season-high 338 rushing yards on 61 attempts (5.5 avg.). The Golden Bears scored 28 second quarter points and led by two touchdowns at halftime before going on to win by the same margin with the help of three late interceptions.
With the victory, Western New England (7-2, 4-0 CCC Football) clinches the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament, which gets underway with first round action on Saturday, November 18. Curry drops to 7-2 (3-1 CCC) with the loss.
• Senior Dante Aiken (Brooklyn, N.Y.) spearheaded Western New England's ground attack, rushing for career-highs in both yards (152) and touchdowns (four) on 28 attempts (5.4 avg.).
• Sophomore Peter Hoff (Shelton, Conn.) also topped 100 rushing yards, as he gained 142 yards on 23 carries (6.2 avg.) with one score.
• Senior quarterback Anthony Service (Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) accounted for 240 yards of total offense, as he completed 15-of-22 pass attempts for 196 yards and one touchdown to go with 44 rushing yards on ten carries (4.4 avg.)
• Juniors Mike Chirco (Weedsport, N.Y.) and Kurtis Jolicoeur (Windham, N.H.) led the Golden Bears defensively with nine and eight tackles, respectively.
• Curry senior quarterback Alex Corvese (Cranston, R.I.) led the Colonels, compiling 321 yards of total offense with four touchdowns. Corvese completed 23-of-34 pass attempts for 227 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions, while also rushing for 94 yards and one score on the ground.
• Freshman linebacker Marcus Greenidge (Flushing, N.Y.) led all players with a game-high 12 tackles.
• Curry took a 7-0 lead with 8:05 remaining in the first quarter when Corvese capped a nine-play, 73-yard drive with a seven-yard touchdown run.
• Western New England tied the score eight seconds into the second quarter on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Service to senior wing Justin Townsend (Stratford, Conn.).
• After a defensive stop, the Golden Bears got the ball back at their own 11-yard line at the 12:26 mark. Western New England put together a 12-play, 89-yard drive that featured nine rushes, including a four-yard touchdown run by Aiken that gave the visitors a 14-7 lead midway through the quarter.
• Curry pulled even just 1:25 later when Corvese found sophomore wide receiver Nick Villanueva (Hanson, Mass.) for a 32-yard score.
• Rushing touchdowns by Aiken (4:12) and Hoff (0:30) late in the half gave the Golden Bears a 28-14 lead at the break.
• Curry junior Sean Amaru (Westwood, Mass.) returned the opening kickoff of the second half 41 yards, and five plays later, Corvese threw a 10-yard touchdown to Villanueva, cutting the Colonel's deficit to seven (28-21).
• A 42-yard return by sophomore Byron Jones (West Hartford, Conn.) on the ensuing kickoff gave the Golden Bears a short field to work with. An eight-play, 54-yard drive culminated in a nine-yard touchdown run by Aiken as Western New England restored its two-touchdown lead (35-21) at the 9:51 mark of the third quarter.
• Curry's final scoring drive resulted in a 15-yard touchdown pass from Corvese to junior Phil Lebel (Wolcott, Conn.) with 5:36 left in the third.
• Aiken's fourth touchdown of the day, a four-yard score with 2:39 on the clock, capped the scoring in the contest as the Golden Bears pushed their lead back to 14 (42-28).
• Western New England's defense sealed the victory as Curry's final three possessions ended in interceptions by freshman cornerback Zhaire House (Greenwich, Conn.), senior linebacker Tim Huffam (Medway, Mass.), and junior bear Chris Quarles (Naugatuck, Conn.).
• Western New England's offense compiled a season-high 534 yards as the Golden Bears extended their winning streak to six games.
• The Golden Bears successfully converted 8-of-15 (53%) third down opportunities and 2-of-2 fourth down tries.
• Saturday's contest marked Western New England first with a pair of 100-yard rushers since November 5, 2016, when Nick Connell (170 yards) and Aiken (107) both topped the 100-yard mark.
Both teams wrap up their regular season schedules next Saturday (Nov. 11), as Western New England returns home to host Nichols, and Curry travels to Newport, R.I. to take on Salve Regina.