WORCESTER, Mass. – The Worcester State University Lancers earned their first victory of the 2016 campaign on Saturday (Oct. 8) as they came back and rallied in the fourth quarter for the 17-14 victory over the visiting Fitchburg State Falcons.
With the win, the Lancers advance to 1-4 and 1-2 in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) play. The Falcons dip to a 2-4 overall record, and are still on the prowl their first conference win.
The Lancers started the scoring late in the first quarter when Mike Holder (Lowell, Mass.) sacked Fitchburg State's quarterback, James Antonelli (Westford, Mass.), causing a fumble which was recovered by the Lancers' Matt Loureiro (W. Boylston, Mass.) at the Fitchburg 20-yard line. On the next play, Worcester's quarterback Ismael Jenkins (Lawrence, Mass.) completed a 20-yard pass to Dan Orlando (Westborough, Mass.) for the first score of the game. Following a good kick from Noah Hwang (Brooklyn, N.Y.) the Lancers were up 7-0.
Fitchburg State responded with a touchdown of their own in the second quarter when second-string quarterback, Connor Fitzsimmons (Flushing, N.Y.) connected with Connor Flynn (Fairhaven, Mass.) on a two-yard pass to the end zone. For the lead, the Falcons successfully completed a two-point conversion as Sterlin Garvin (Canton, Mass.) rushed past the Lancers' defense for the 8-7 gain.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Lancers regained their lead on a good 27-yard field goal from Hwang, marking the score at 10-8.
Just three minutes later, the Falcons came back with a touchdown when Fitzsimmons found the hands of Ben Sattiewhite (Salem, Mass.) on a 17-yard pass. After the Falcons failed the conversion rush attempt, the score advanced to 14-10 Fitchburg State's favor.
Following the Falcons' touchdown, Worcester State's Tyler Golden (Spencer, Mass.) marked a 52-yard kickoff return to put the Lancers in their offensive zone, shifting the momentum of the game into Worcester State's favor.
With two minutes remaining in the game, Worcester's Derek Moore (Mendon, Mass.) received a ball in the end zone on a pass from Jenkins for the Lancers' go-ahead 17-14.
The Falcons had another chance to take the lead, however, Worcester's defense was on point and junior defensive back, Rafael Guzman (Cambridge, Mass.) notched two interceptions in the last two minutes of play to keep the ball in Worcester State's possession for the win.
Worcester State's Jenkins piloted the Lancers offense as he completed 21 of 31 passes for a total of 156 yards. Matt Lezama (Milton, Mass.) and Dexter Andrews (Dorchester, Mass.) led the team in rushing yards as they ran for 68 and 56 yards, respectively. Arron Witkus (Chelmsford, Mass.) grabbed a game-high seven receptions for a total of 69 yards.
For the visiting Falcons, Fitzsimmons guided the team with 11 completions of 20 attempts for a total of 146 yards. Jevon Brown-Simpson (Lynn, Mass.) had a game-best 85 rushing yards, while Flynn and Jesse Brown (Yonkers, N.Y.) marked 42 and 40 receiving yards, respectively.
On the defensive end, Worcester State's trio of Theo Bryant (Lowell, Mass.) Eric Nunez (Milford, Mass.) and Loureiro each tallied nine tackles, while Nunez and Holder each registered one sack for a loss of six yards apiece.
For the Falcons, Javon White (Meriden, Conn.) marked two interceptions for a total of 67 yards, grabbed one tackle for a loss and one breakup. Tre Watson (Worcester, Mass.) and Ousamane Samb (Pawtucket, R.I.) held off the Lancers' offense for a team-best 10 and nine tackles, respectively. Anthony Bednarz (Middletown, Conn.) and Damar Collins (Lynwood, Ill.) each logged a sack apiece.
The Lancers return to Coughlin Field next Saturday (Oct. 15) when they host UMass-Dartmouth as a part of Worcester State's homecoming weekend. On the same day, the Falcons host Western Connecticut in a 1:30 p.m. matchup.