Oct. 11, 2009
by John Cabral
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's football team finally got back on the scoreboard, but it was far too late. Visiting Western New England turned early Corsair miscues into fast points and sailed to a 31-9 victory in a New England Football Conference Boyd Division game at Cressy Field Saturday night.
The Golden Bears forcefully wrested immediate control of the contest on UMass Dartmouth's first possession. On a third-and-ten, sophomore outside linebacker Todd Krolikowski (Bristol, Conn./Bristol Eastern HS) strip sacked Corsair freshman quarterback Brendan McNeish (Springfield, Mass./Bridgton Academy), causing a fumble promptly recovered by sophomore defensive end Scott Wojciechowski (Adams, Mass./Hoosac Valley HS) and returned 14 yards for the game's opening score.
McNeish and the Corsair offense nearly answered on their next drive. The Corsairs methodically moved the ball downfield in a time-consuming drive highlighted by a 27-yard connection from McNeish to junior wideout Adam Houghton (East Taunton, Mass./Bristol-Plymouth HS) bringing them across midfield to the WNEC 37 yard line. But the drive stalled at the WNEC 11 after consecutive incomplete passes, forcing a 28 yard field goal attempt by freshman Edgar Osols (Summit, N.J./Summit HS), a low kick which failed to clear the line of scrimmage. The Corsair drive ate up 6:51 and covered 12 plays for 53 yards.
On the second play of the ensuing drive, Golden Bear senior quarterback Justin Walz (Groton, Conn./Fitch HS) hit sophomore running back Frank Scattaretcio (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y./Dobbs Ferry HS) with a quick screen pass which Scattaretcio broke for 57 yards to the Corsair 10 yard line. The play led to a field goal, giving WNEC a 10-0 lead late in the first quarter. UMass Dartmouth would not get another quality opportunity to get back into the game.
The Corsairs lost their sixth consecutive game despite holding the ball for nearly 35 minutes and winning the turnover battle by a 3-2 margin. UMD was decidedly outgained 361-252, and mustered only 72 yards on the ground on 42 attempts.
"We are struggling right now," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Mark Robichaud. "We're undersized and inexperienced up front. We aren't getting any push from our line, and we can't seem to move the line of scrimmage downfield."
Although it was after the game had been decided, the Corsairs put together a strong fourth quarter to finish the game with momentum. Beginning at the end of the third period, the Corsairs traveled 64 yards on 12 plays to get on the board. McNeish completed a pair of lengthy passes on the drive: a 16 yard screen to senior running back James Moore (Wakefield, Mass./Wakefield HS) and an 18 yard downfield pass to senior tight end/punter George Vasiliadis (Worcester, MA/St. Peter-Marian). After a fourth down pass interference penalty set the ball at the WNEC 2 yard line, McNeish ran in for the score on the next play. The conversion attempt failed, trimming the deficit to 24-6.
After a Golden Bear touchdown, the Corsairs again marched down the field for more points. Sophomore running back Josh Marsh (Brockton, Mass./Brockton HS/Iona) was the star of the drive, gaining 29 rushing yards on the first play from scrimmage and later picking up 24 more on an effective screen pass. Marsh would finish the game with 57 yards on just eight carries, for an average of 7.1 yards per carry. Osols atoned for his earlier block by striking an impressive 38 yard field goal, his longest of the season, to complete the scoring at 31-9.
UMass Dartmouth's nine-point fourth quarter represented the first fourth quarter points the team had scored all season. They were also the most the team has scored in any one quarter, and also any one game, this season. It marked only the second individual quarter this season in which the Corsairs outscored the opponent (9-7).
While the team struggled offensively for most of the night, Robichaud saw some promise with the successful screens run late in the game. "We're trying to get our better athletes out in space and our better blockers in the open field," Robichaud said. "That's more of a strength for us."
The Corsairs fell to 0-6 and 0-3 in the NEFC Boyd Division with the victory, while the Golden Bears dropped to 2-4 and 1-2 with the defeat. UMD will visit Salve Regina next Saturday, while WNEC will host MIT.
UMASS DARTMOUTH FOOTBALL