Crawford, Bednarek and Woods lead Falcons to key MASCAC win
Buzzards Bay, Mass. – The Fitchburg State University football team defeated the Buccaneers of Massachusetts Maritime Academy, 24-17 in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) action this afternoon at Clean Harbors Stadium.
Score: Fitchburg State 24, Mass. Maritime 17
Records: Fitchburg State (3-2, 2-1 MASCAC) | Mass. Maritime (1-3, 0-2 MASCAC)
How It Happened
The Falcons grabbed a 7-0 lead just 4:35 into the contest on a four-yard run by senior Connor Flynn (Fairhaven, Mass.), following an interception by senior David Dezeme (Fort Myers, Fla.) near midfield, Sophomore quarterback Nelson Valerio (Lawrence, Mass.) extended Fitchburg State's advantage to 14-0 midway through the opening stanza when he connected with junior Herbert Acosta (Los Angeles, Calif.) on a 24-yard scoring strike.
The Buccaneers cut that margin in half on their ensuing possession when senior Derek Stegman (Dover, N.H.) hauled in a six-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Chris Haggerty (Cohasset, Mass.), but the Falcons regained their 14-point edge on a six-yard scamper by senior Jevon Brown-Simpson (Lynn, Mass.) with 4:43 remaining in the half for a 21-7 lead at the break.
That score held up until the early stages of the fourth quarter when Haggerty found the end zone on a five-yard run that cut Massachusetts Maritime's deficit back to seven with 9:33 remaining in the game, and the Buccaneers were thwarted on an interception by sophomore Malik Crawford (Yonkers, N.Y.) with just under five minutes to play after taking over with a chance to tie the contest.
Freshman Geoffrey Reichert's (Northbridge, Mass.) 32-yard field goal with 2:01 remaining extended Fitchburg State's advantage to 24-14, and after an ensuing 33-yard field goal by Buccaneer freshman George Lampros (Bridgewater, Mass.) with 53 seconds to play, the hosts' on-side kick attempt was recovered by the visitors, who ran out the clock to post their triumph.
Inside the Numbers
The Falcons ground game was sparked by Brown-Simpson, who rushed for 99 yards on 25 carries to go one TD, while Valerio completed 15-of-23 passes for 193 yards and one touchdown pass.
For the Buccaneers, senior Richie Phillips (Onset, Mass.) finished with 99 yards rushing on 22 attempts, while Haggerty finished with 264 yards of total offense for the hosts.
Defensively for the Green and Gold, senior Dylan Woods (Townsend, Mass.) and junior Ryan Bednarek (Tewksbury, Mass.) recorded one interception each, while junior defensive back Jovon White (Meriden, Conn.) registered nine total stops (seven solo).
Sophomores Cameron Stewart (Uxbridge, Mass.) and Sean Smialek (South Dartmouth, Mass.) each had nine total tackles to led Mass. Maritime's defense in the setback.
32nd meeting between two schools on the gridiron with the Falcons 13-19 when taking on the Buccaneers.
Fitchburg State sophomore quarterback Nelson Valerio (Lawrence, Mass.) ranks fourth in the MASCAC with ten TD passes.
Falcons will host the Rams of Framingham State on Friday evening for a MASCAC matchup, starting at 7 p.m. Mass. Maritime travels to Westfield State next Saturday for a conference bout starting at 2 p.m.
Portions of release courtesy of MMA SID office