BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Senior wide receiver Jack Lavanchy (Walpole, Mass.) earned Lee Harrington Most Valuable Player honors to lead the Bridgewater State University football team to a 21-7 victory over visiting Massachusetts Maritime Academy in the 40th Annual Cranberry Bowl Presented By Ocean Spray on Saturday afternoon at Swenson Field.
The host Bears wrap up regular season play with an overall record of 7-3 including a 6-2 mark in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC). Bridgewater State is now 29-10-1 in the 40-year history of the Cranberry Bowl which began in 1979. The Bears also hold a 32-12-1 advantage in the all-time series with the Buccaneers which dates back to 1974.
Mass. Maritime ends the 2018 campaign with an overall record of 2-8 (1-7 MASCAC).
Lavanchy caught five passes for a game-high 122 yards and two touchdowns. He also was a perfect 3-for-3 in PATs. With his 122 receiving yards, Lavanchy increased his career total to 2,851 as he became the program's all-time receiving yardage leader. He eclipsed Matt Greene's (2011-14) previous mark of 2,765 yards.
Junior running back Nick Santavicca (Yorktown Height, N.Y.) rushed for a game-high 139 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries to lead the Bears' ground attack. Santavicca became the eighth different running back in program history to rush for 1,000 yards as he now has 1,098 on the year.
Senior slot receiver Travis Bassett (Littleton, Mass.) hauled in a game-best nine receptions for 104 yards.
Freshman defensive end Dimitri Dorinvil (Brockton, Mass.) led an outstanding defensive effort by the Bears. Dorinvil recorded a team-best ten tackles with nine solo stops and a pair of sacks. Bridgewater held Mass. Maritime to 185 yards of total offense including just 40 through the air.
On the game's opening possession, the Buccaneers took advantage of a long kickoff return to start the drive at the BSU 20. Five plays later, junior running back Matt Long (Weymouth, Mass.) found the end zone from six yards out to give the visitors a quick 7-0 lead. Mass. Maritime, however, would not score again.
The Bears answered with an eight-play, 67-yard drive capped off by a 21-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Stefano D'Emilia (Bridgewater, Mass.) to Lavanchy. Lavanchy knocked home the extra point to knot the score at 7-7.
Later in the first quarter, freshman quarterback Brad Thiltgen (Cumming, Ga.) connected with Lavanchy on a 52-yard scoring strike to put Bridgewater on top. Lavanchy's PAT made it a 14-7 game with 1:03 remaining in the period.
Santavicca scored on a one-yard touchdown run with 10:45 left to play in the second quarter to cap off a 10-play, 41-yard drive. Lavanchy converted his third extra point to give the Bears a 21-7 lead.
Bridgewater held a decided advantage in total offense in the first half as the Bears racked up 320 yards over the first 30 minutes and held the Buccaneers to just 76. The Bears, however, went just 2-for-4 in the red zone and also turned the ball over on a fumble deep in Bucs' territory.
Remarkably, neither team scored in the second half. The third quarter featured a Bridgewater fumble and both teams turning the ball over on downs in the red zone. Following back-to-back fourth quarter punts, the Buccaneers had a chance to make it a one-score game, but a fourth-and-21 pass in the end zone was just tipped away by BSU senior safety Mark Wilson (Foxborough, Mass.).
All told, the Bears finished with 444 yards of total offense with 297 coming through air and 147 on the ground.
D'Emilia completed 11 of 23 pass attempts for 190 yards and a score, while Thiltgen was 7-for-10 for 107 yards and a touchdown.
Wilson finished with six tackles (four solo) with three pass breakups and a forced fumble. Sophomore linebacker Michael Rosa (Uxbridge, Mass.) checked in with eight tackles (six solo) with a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery, while junior cornerback Chris Easter (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) recorded two solo tackles and his first collegiate interception.
Long rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries to highlight the Mass. Maritime offense. Freshman quarterback Curtis Cann (Easton, Mass.) completed just 4 of 13 pass attempts for 40 yards and an interception.
Freshman safety Kyle Rogers (Abington, Mass.) led all players with 12 tackles (ten solo). Rogers also forced a fumble and broke up two passes. Junior linebacker Sean Smialek (South Dartmouth, Mass.) added ten tackles (nine solo) with 2 ½ tackles for loss and a sack, while sophomore linebacker Jack Fontana (Grafton, Mass.) notched seven tackles (five solo), including a pair of sacks.
Prior to the game, the Bears honored 12 seniors who were playing in their final home contest. Bassett was also honored for being named one of 30 nominees for the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year award.
Notes: In 30 games over three seasons with the Bears, Lavanchy has 216 receptions for 2,851 yards and 27 touchdowns. He is the BSU career leader in both receptions and yards and his 27 TD catches ranks third all-time…Lavanchy also increased his single-season receptions record to 88….Bassett is second all-time in BSU football history with 182 receptions and fourth with 2,566 receiving yards.