BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Westfield State took advantage of four Bridgewater State miscues as the visiting Owls downed the Bears, 10-7, in New England Football Conference Bogan Division action on Friday evening in Bridgewater.
Westfield State improves its overall record to 2-3 (1-1 Bogan) while Bridgewater State slips to 2-2 and 0-2 in the divisional standings. The contest marked the first night game at Swenson Field.
The Bears would outgain the Owls 161-130 in the opening half, but would turn the ball over three times in their first four possessions. Westfield State got on the board early in the second quarter on a 34-yard field goal by junior Kennan Startzell (Rockland, MA).
On Bridgewater State's ensuing possession, senior Ryan O'Connell (Athol, MA) intercepted a Mike McCarthy (Edgartown, MA) pass at midfield and returned it 13 yards down to the BSU 37-yardline. Seven plays later, sophomore Jeff Winchell (Scituate, MA) connected with classmate Tommy Leung (Milford, MA) on an 11-yard scoring strike to give the Owls the 10-0 advantage near the intermission.
The score remained 10-0 until the fourth quarter when Bridgewater State – pinned on their own eight yard-line – would march 92-yards on 11 plays capped by an 11-yard touchdown run by senior Justin Fuller (Berkley, MA). The Bears would rush for 72 yards and McCarthy would complete a 20-yard flick to Chris Constantine (Hingham, MA) in the series.
Two stalled Westfield State drives sandwiched a Bridgewater State possession before the Bears would find themselves on their own 14 with 4:28 remaining in the game. But the Owls would force the hosts to turn the ball over on downs as McCarthy was stopped short of the first down marker by sophomore Kevin Duffy (Natick, MA) on a fourth and seven play from the 17-yard line.
After the visitors went three and out on their next possession, Bridgewater State had one more chance. With the ball on the BSU 26, junior reserve quarterback Caleb Gelsomino (N. Scituate, RI) would move the chains twice on a pair of receptions by Constantine to get the ball to the Westfield State 33. But Gelsomino's desperation pass on the final play of the game would get snatched in the end zone by junior Erik Wellhoff (Natick, MA).
Fuller rushed 18 times for 81 yards and a score to move into ninth place on both the Bears all-time rushing and scoring lists. Fuller now has 1,958 rushing yards and 163 total points in 17 career games at BSU. He passed Al Colarusso (1,891 yards) on the BSU rushing record book and Steve Washkevich (160 points) on the scoring banner.
McCarthy rushed for 91 yards on 17 carries and also completed 10-of-19 passes for 102 yards, but he was picked off twice. Constantine was his top target with five catches for 85 yards.
Sophomore Brian Beauchemin (Orange, MA) carried the ball 20 times for a team-best 83 yards as Leung was 9-for-17 with 100 yards passing.
Second-year Dillon Huber-Parker (Longmont, CO) was the defensive standout for the Bears as he would finish with eight tackles (seven solo) with three for a loss and a sack, one forced fumble and a pass break-up.
Junior Alex Montiero (Portsmouth, RI) collected a team-high eight solo tackles for the Bridgewater State while third-year Paul Melicharek (Glen Rock, NJ) added six solo stops with two tackles for a loss.
Junior Justin Ehrhardt (Stoneham, MA) and Duffy shared contest-high honors with 10 tackles each as Erhardt ended the evening with 1.5 tackles for a loss and one fumble recovery. Third-year Mike Szydlowski (Wilbraham, MA) also had Westfield State's third interception.
Owl junior Dan Dowling (Stoneham, MA) averaged 33.4 yards on seven punts as three of them landed inside the 20-yardline.
The Bears outgained the visitors on both the ground (217-116) and in the air (152-100) as time of possession was nearly even (30:09-29:51), in favor of the hosts.
Both squads entertain Bogan Division opponents next Saturday. Bridgewater State hosts Coast Guard at noon while the Owls play Maine Maritime at 1 o'clock.