Curry 27, Coast Guard 24

MILTON, MA – After losing three straight games to open the season, the Curry College Colonels are now riding a modest two-game winning streak.

On a rainy Saturday afternoon, they used a 275-yard effort in the running game to hold off Coast Guard Academy, 27-24.

“I think we’re doing some good things there. We’ve got a bunch of young guys. They’re working their tails off. They’re starting to believe themselves in the team,” said Colonels’ head coach Skip Bandini, whose team improved to 2-1 in the New England Football Conference (NEFC.)

Curry took the lead on its opening possession with a 13-play, 76-yard drive that took more than seven minutes off the clock. It ended with Kevin Fruwirth finding Tyran Harrigan in the end zone from nine yards out. The Colonels led 6-0 after the extra point hit the right upright.

In the second quarter, the Bears took advantage of a muffed punt by Curry, and turned it into a 26-yard field goal from Tyler Henning. It stayed 6-3 until the closing seconds of the half, when Fruwirth found a wide open Jordan Shairs on the right side, and Shairs went untouched into the end zone to give the Colonels a 13-3 lead at the intermission.

In the second half, the rain picked up, and so did both offenses. The third quarter began with a surprise onside kick attempt by Curry that did not fool the Bears. They marched down the field, and scored their first TD of the game on an 8-yard pass from Derek Victory to Nick Fredericksen.

But Curry came right back, with the running game really asserting itself. Shairs broke through the middle of the line, and was off to the races – 59 yards for the touchdown to make put the home team back up by 10. Shairs finished with 17 carries for 161 yards and two scores (one rushing, one receiving.)

But the Bears wouldn’t go away. Victory led a 70-yard drive, and capped it off with an 8-yard pass to Blake Thompson to make it 20-17. Victory finished 28-50 for 235 yards, but was also intercepted twice, and had two other picks nullified by Curry penalties.

Midway thru the fourth quarter, Phil Bigelow’s 2-yard TD run on 4th and goal turned out to be the deciding score. With 2:37 to play, Coast Guard scored its own TD on a 4th and goal, with Jake Wawrzyniak taking the pitch on the option and finding the end zone from two yards out. Curry recovered the ensuing onside kick, picked up a first down, and was able to run out the clock.

Fruwirth finished 15-24 for 120 yards, but did not make any mistakes to cost his team. While Curry had 275 yards rushing, Coast Guard had just 38.

“We’re a young team, we got a long way to go,” said Bandini. “We’re making some mistakes, but that’s part of the game….so if they don’t do the right thing, it’s my fault.”

Curry hosts Salve Regina on Friday night – a team Bandini called one of the better teams in New England, not just the NEFC. Coast Guard returns home to face Maine Maritime on Saturday.

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Stonehill 30, Bentley 3

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EASTON, MA – Stonehill College is sending a message that it is a force to be reckoned with in the Northeast-10.

Thanks to a stellar defensive effort, the Skyhawks dominated Bentley University on Saturday night, 30-3.  They forced four turnovers (two fumble recoveries and two interceptions) and sacked the Falcons’ quarterbacks six times.  They also stopped Bentley four times on 4th down.

“They moved the ball a little bit, they got in the red zone and we didn’t budge,” said Stonehill head coach Rob Talley, whose team improved to 3-0 in the conference.  “Our kids just did a really good job.”

Stonehill struck first in this one, and would never trail.  The Skyhawks went 70 yards in 11 plays, with QB Logan Meyer hitting Corey White over the middle for a 20-yard touchdown pass.  The missed PAT made the score 6-0.  The Falcons had their best chance to score later in the quarter.  After recovering a fumble on a punt return, Bentley QB Danny Guadagnoli found Chris Walsh, who appeared to be going into the end zone.  But Walsh fumbled at the 1-yard line, and the Skyhawks recovered in the end zone for a touchback.

The home team broke the game open in the second quarter.  Jamal Johnson’s 19-yard run made it 13-0.  The Skyhawks made it 20-0 when Meyer found Nate Robitaille open down the left sideline for a 35-yard scoring pass.  Robitaille had 8 catches for 116 yards.  They made it 23-0 just before halftime on Stephen Grzywacz’s 25-yard field goal.

In the fourth quarter, Johnson found the end zone for the second time, this time from three yards out.  He finished with 31 carries for 151 yards.

“I really feel like this is a special team,” said Johnson.  “We’re playing with so much momentum (and) so much more confidence.”

Meyer completed just over half of his passes (17 of 32) for 256 yards.  Guadagnoli was 20 of 31 for 217 yards, and was the recipient of five of Stonehill’s six sacks.

Bentley came into this game having won 21 of the previous 27 meetings with Stonehill.  But Saturday night was a different story.

“To me, it doesn’t matter what the score is…or what you’re doing…you’re playing Bentley….our kids are hungry,” said Talley.

Both teams are home next Saturday.  Stonehill hosts American International, while Bentley takes on Saint Anselm.

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Record-Setting Night for Stonehill QB

EASTON – There is a new, all-time passing leader at Stonehill College. His name is Logan Meyer.

Meyer shattered his way into the record books by accounting for six touchdowns Saturday night against St. Anselm College. The Skyhawks beat the Hawks, 52-24.

Stonehill got on the board first on its opening possession, as Meyer hit Corey White for an 8-yard TD pass. St. Anselm would tie the score after taking advantage of a botched punt deep in Skyhawks’ territory. Hawks’ QB Andrew Murphy scored from one yard out. Meyer’s record-breaking throw came in the second quarter, when he hit White again over the middle, and White took it the rest of the way for a 67-yard catch-and-run to make it 14-7.

“He was really hard on himself after last week’s game,” said Stonehill head coach Rob Talley. “So this week, we put together a game plan that he felt a little more comfortable with.”

The key play of the game was the final play of the half. Stonehill’s Zaire Reiph got open down the right sideline, and Meyer found him for a 44-yard touchdown. The Skyhawks went into the locker room with a 14-point lead.

In the third quarter, after St. Anselm cut the lead to seven, Meyer connected with White for their third touchdown of the game, this time for 15 yards. Stonehill would lead by double-digits the rest of the way. Meyer also threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Nate Robitaille, and also found the end zone himself on a 2-yard run. Meyer finished 18-33 for 332 yards.

His record-breaking performance overshadowed an impressive effort on the ground by Jamal Johnson. He rushed for 170 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. On the night, the Skyhawks had 593 yards of total offense.

“(He) doesn’t say a word. He just comes to practice every day, and knows this is going to be his opportunity. And he’s taken advantage of it,” said Talley of Johnson’s performance.

For the Knights, Murphy was 27-45 for 280 yards, one TD and two interceptions. Keith Charles led the way on the ground with 97 yards and a score.

Stonehill is now 8-0 against St. Anselm in the “Battle For the ol’ Bronze Hawk.”

“It’s great to bounce back, especially after last week….kind of getting our butts kicked a little bit on both sides of the ball,” said Talley. “Being able to come back and put together to a game where you score 50 points. I don’t care who you score 50 points against, it still feels good.”

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Bentley 17, Mercyhurst 16

WALTHAM, MA – This was a terrific season opener between two good teams, in which special played a major role in the outcome.

Bentley University defeated Mercyhurst University on Saturday afternoon, 17-16. The game featured a blocked field goal, a perfectly-executed fake field goal attempt, and a difference-making missed extra point.

“We knew coming in that we were going to be in a very tough dogfight,” said Bentley Head Coach Thom Boerman. “We said special teams were probably going to be a huge factor, and they were.”

The Lakers, out of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) drew first blood on their opening possession. They marched it 52 yards in seven plays, and Anthony Vendemia capped it off with a six-yard TD pass to Jeff Groene. After Bentley kicker Michael Baron had a 39-yard FG attempt partially blocked, he redeemed himself with a 27-yarder in the second quarter to make it 7-3.

The Falcons took a 10-7 lead when Danny Guadagnoli threw an 18-yard TD pass to Jet Kollie on 4th and 5. But Mercyhurst would re-take the lead just before the intermission. After the Lakers executed a fake field goal to set up a first-and-goal, Brandon Brown-Dukes ran it in from three yards out. But Jordan Spangler’s extra point attempt was no good, so the margin at halftime was just three. That missed PAT would turn out to be huge.

In the third quarter, Spangler nailed one from 31 yards out to give his team a six-point lead. But Bentley answered later in the quarter with an eight-play, 72-yard drive. Kollie’s second TD of the game – this time on the ground – gave the Falcons a one-point lead.

The Bentley defense took over from there. After allowing the field goal at the start of the third quarter, the Falcons did not allow any more points the rest of the way. The Lakers got one final possession with 1:22 remaining, but were unable to cross midfield and were stopped on 4th and 2.

“We were banged up, so I wasn’t certain what was going to happen,” said Boerman. “You don’t know who’s going to step up, but they did, the entire unit. Coach McKinney did a great job. (They) dominated the second half.”

Guadagnoli finished 20-28 for 162 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Vendemia threw for 207 yards. Mercyhurst also held the advantage in rushing yards (163-137.) But at the end of the day, it was the special teams that made the difference.

“We’ve been playing out of conference opponents for a number of years now,” said Boerman. “But you’ve got to start….beating those teams We’re getting a win against a quality opponent that I think, again, can just validate the Northeast-10 as much as Bentley University.”

Bentley will host Assumption on Friday night.

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Season Preview: Bentley University

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The 2013 season is just days away, and Bentley University is hoping it will end with a Northeast-10 Championship. On Tuesday morning, Noontime Sports caught up with Head Coach Thom Boerman to get his thoughts on the upcoming season.

Boerman says most of his offensive skill players return from last year’s 8-2 team, whose only two losses came by a combined eight points. Once again this year, QB Danny Guadagnoli will be under center. Boerman says he’s looked very strong in practice. The senior captain from Framingham is coming off an outstanding year in which he completed almost 62 percent of his passes, 16 of them for touchdowns. His pass efficiency rating of 150.26 was second in the conference and 25th nationally. The Falcons’ offense averaged over 26 points per game.

Defensively, Boerman will be looking for guys to step up, now that Steve and Don Hopkins have graduated. The coach says two players to keep an eye on 2013 are both captains: LB Blaine Hopwood, who led the team in tackles in each of the last two seasons, and DE Matt Campo, who was named the team’s Co-Defensive Most Improved Player in 2012.

Boerman expects the NE-10 to be extremely competitive again this year, saying there’s a lot of parity in the league. The Falcons are picked to finish third in the preseason coaches’ poll, behind New Haven and American International, the two teams Bentley lost to in 2012. They’ll kick off the regular season on Saturday against Mercyhurst, a team that went 9-2 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) last year.

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Season Preview: Bridgewater State University

BRIDGEWATER, MA – The Bridgewater State Bears are coming off a 9-2 season, and their first postseason berth since 2000. On Monday, Noontime Sports’ Brian Willwerth talked to head Coach Chuck Denune, who’s entering his 9th season, to get his take on the 2013 campaign.

THE BIGGEST CHANGE BETWEEN THIS YEAR AND LAST YEAR: “I think the big thing is we lost 18 seniors to graduation last year. Anytime that happens, you’re obviously going to have big holes to fill. So that was our biggest concern. We know that we’ve got a really good core of guys coming back…but at the same time, we’ve got some pretty deep holes we’ve got to get filled in prior to playing a game….Right now, we’re pretty comfortable. We’re going to be competitive.”

ON SENIOR QB: Mike McCarthy: “There are quarterbacks, and then there are guys that are just football players. He was just a football player; he’d go out and just he could just play football well. He’s also a very good quarterback. If he were to go out and throw for a ton and run for a ton, I’m not going to be surprised. He’s put a lot of work into his offensive training. He understands the offense better than he ever has. He looks really good in camp thus far.”

ON THE RUNNING GAME: “We have a stable, right now, of guys that can go in the game, and I wouldn’t nervous about them being in the game. I know coach Moyen and coach Callahan are really happy about where the offense is at this point in camp.”

ON DEFENSE: “There were probably bigger holes to fill over there, and right now I’d say we’ve got ‘em half full. But we’ve got guys in the right position right now, and they’re doing well. I don’t know if they’re going to play at that level, but combined I think they’re going to be a pretty darn good unit….We’ve got some freshman who are stepping up right away, and I think there’s a good chance we’re going to have some young guys playing on defense. Usually you’re pretty nervous about that. Right now I feel pretty comfortable with them.”

The Bears open the season on Saturday, September 7th at Salve Regina.

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Season Preview: Curry College

In 2013, the Curry College football team will be looking to improve on last year’s record of 6-4, 5-2 in the Boyd Division of the New England Football Conference (NEFC). The Colonels ended last season by winning three straight, and four of their last five.

Curry’s four captains include senior QB Kevin Fruwirth, DT Sam Calley and FB Jordan Shairs. All three are returning 1st Team All-Division. The fourth captain is OT Gil Parson, who was hurt for part of last year, but head coach Skip Bandini says Parson should be as good as any other in the league.

Fruwirth started all ten games for Curry last season, throwing 27 touchdown passes and eight interceptions. With Rob Bambini having graduated, expect Skubie Mageza to see even more passes thrown in his direction. Last year, he caught 54 passes and 3 TD’s. Phil Bigelow returns in the backfield for his senior year, having rushed for over 700 yards as a junior.

Joining Calley on the defensive line are Tim O’Brien, Nic Calvano and Parish Rogers-Reed. The Curry defense as a team picked off 13 passes in 2012.

Bandini, entering his eighth season at Curry, says he also has some outstanding freshman on the roster who he hopes will make their mark in 2013.

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