BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – In front of over 2,100 homecoming fans, the Bridgewater State University football team knocked off NEFC Bogan Division rival Worcester State University, 25-9, on Saturday afternoon at the official opening of the newly renovated Swenson Field.
With the win, the host Bears improve to 4-3 on the season and 2-2 in the Bogan Division. Worcester State falls to 3-4 overall and 1-3 in divisional play. Bridgewater has won six straight versus the Lancers and lead the all-time series, 15-10.
Bridgewater state freshman running back Chris Constantine (Hingham, Mass.) hauled in a 39-yard touchdown pass and returned a kickoff 75 yards for another score to lead the Bears. Constantine tied a school record, originally set by John Comeau in 1990, with his second kickoff return touchdown of the season.
Freshman quarterback Mike McCarthy (Edgartown, Mass.) threw for a pair of touchdowns as he also connected with junior receiver Dave Leombruno (Lakeville, Mass.) on a 24-yard scoring strike as time expired in the second quarter. McCarthy completed 7 of 17 pass attempts for 140 yards and also rushed for a team-high 56 yards on 15 carries.
Bridgewater opened the scoring on a safety with 2:50 remaining in the first quarter. Worcester State lined up to punt the ball away from their own 23. The snap went over freshman punter Alex Blakeslee (Shrewsbury, Mass.) who turned and kicked the ball into the back of the end zone to give BSU the two points.
The Bears were also able to capitalize off of the kickoff resulting from the safety, putting together a six-play, 51-yard drive. McCarthy threw a short pass to Constantine who rumbled through a few Lancers and 39 yards later put the Bears up 8-0.
After missing a 39-yard field goal in the first quarter, Leombruno was true with a 39-yard attempt with 6:26 left in the half to push Bridgewater's advantage to 11-0. Later in the half, senior safety John Farroba (North Attleboro, Mass.) intercepted a pass at the Bears' own 47-yard line. Taking over with just 35 seconds left in the half, McCarthy completed a 31-yard pass to junior running back Josh Paulson (Vineyard Haven, Mass.) who went out of bounds at the Worcester 24 with just five seconds remaining. Instead of attempting a field goal, the Bears decided to take a shot at the end zone. McCarthy threw a beautiful ball to a fading Leombruno, who came down with it in the end zone with no time remaining; increasing Bridgewater's lead to 18 at the half.
Worcester put together an 18-play, 60-yard midway through the third quarter culminating in a 37-yard field goal by freshman kicker Eric Perfetti (Shrewsbury, Mass.) at the 3:36 mark.
On the ensuing kickoff, however, Constantine received the kick at his own 25-yard line. He took it outside to the sideline, broke through a group of Lancers, and continued to run straight into the end zone, making it 25-3 Bears
Worcester was able to put together another nice drive, covering 64 yards over eight plays. The Lancers were able to punch the ball in when junior quarterback Tony Tokarz (Holden, Mass.) threw a slant classmate Kenny Russell (Bedford, Mass.) for a 13-yard scoring strike. The Lancers failed on a 2 point conversion, making the score 25-9 Bears.
Tokarz threw for 127 yards and a touchdown on 15 of 33 passing. He also rushed for a game-high 68 yards on 13 carries. Russell finished with seven catches for 84 yards.
Junior linebacker Chris Chamberlin (South Easton, Mass.) paced the Bears defensively as he registered nine solo tackles, including one for loss, forced a fumble and broke up a pass. Junior cornerback Kevin Laudano (Wallingford, Conn.) also notched nine solo tackles and recorded three pass breakups. Freshman linebacker Kevin Donahue (Norfolk, Mass.) added seven tackles and also forced and recovered a fumble.
Senior linebacker Tyler Russell (Princeton, Mass.) led all players with 15 tackles (all solo), including one for loss. Senior defensive back Paul Lewis (Worcester, Mass.) and sophomore linebacker Cameron Brigham (Worcester, Mass.) added nine tackles apiece with Brigham also forcing a fumble.
Worcester turned the ball over three time on a pair of fumbles and the Farroba interception to go along with the bad snap that resulted in the safety.
Prior to the game, Bridgewater held the Swenson Field Dedication Ceremony and also honored former longtime coaches Ann Coakley (women's lacrosse), Ed Delgado (cross country and track), Peter Mazzaferro (football) and Mary Lou Thimas (field hockey and women's lacrosse).