DARTMOUTH, Mass. -- Junior quarterback Jacob Francis (Middletown, R.I.) amassed 226 yards and accounted for a pair of touchdowns, as UMass Dartmouth held off a second half charge to post a 19-13 victory over Westfield State in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference football season finale for both teams Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field.
The visiting Corsairs, who conclude the year with their highest victory total since 2004 at 7-3 overall (5-3 MASCAC), used a 55-yard touchdown run by freshman Luis Gonzalez (Greenacres, Fla.) and a 13-yard connection from Francis to senior Abbi Bamgbose (Worcester, Mass.) in the second quarter to grab a 13-0 advantage at the break. The host Owls (2-8, 2-6 MASCAC) received a 24-yard scoop and score on a fumble recovery by junior Alijah Ellis (Derby, Conn.) that was followed by a two-point conversion rush by sophomore quarterback Peyton Capizzi (Bellport, N.Y.) 3:27 after intermission, and Westfield State crept to within two (13-11) midway through the third quarter on senior Corey Pooler’s (Middleboro, Mass.) 35-yard field goal.
That score held up until the final 99 seconds of the contest, as a 15-yard touchdown run by Francis extended UMass Dartmouth’s edge to eight, but Ellis returned the blocked extra point attempt 98 yards for an Owl defensive extra point. The hosts drove down to the visitors’ 33-yard line in the final minute of play, as Capizzi’s fourth down pass was knocked down in the end zone by Corsair junior Jacob Burkhead (Plymouth, Mass.) as time expired.
Francis rushed for 118 yards on 30 carries and added 108 yards through the air in the triumph for UMass Dartmouth, as Bamgbose hauled in seven receptions to break Ryan Bland’s career catches mark with 168 and extend his own school career touchdown receptions mark to 35. Junior Pedro DelToro (Chelsea, Mass.) added five catches for 57 yards for the Corsairs, who amassed 285 yards of total offense on the afternoon.
Capizzi and senior Andrew Peltier (Holyoke, Mass.) combined for 99 passing yards in the setback for Westfield State, which was limited to 160 yards of total offense. Sophomore Shane Clark (Bellows Falls, Vt.) added 38 rushing yards for the Owls, who received five receptions and 37 yards from senior Evan Garvey (Dalton, Mass.).
Senior Tony Slaughter (Springfield, Mass.) closed out his collegiate career with 11 total tackles (seven solo) to lead the way defensively for UMass Dartmouth, while fellow senior Connor Russ (Middletown, R.I.) collected 10 tackles (six solo) and an interception. Junior Chris Gomes (Taunton, Mass.) added a pick as well for the Corsairs, who registered three sacks and 12 tackles for losses of 40 yards on the day.
Senior Joseph Mazzotta (Norwood, Mass.) recorded a game-high 15 tackles (four solo) in the setback for Westfield State, which received 12 stops (four solo) from fellow senior George Cole (Chelmsford, Mass.). Mazzotta joined Ellis with a forced fumble and recovery for the Owls, who matched the visitors’ mark with three sacks for the contest.