Worcester, MA --- Senior Tony Tokarz (Holden, MA) amassed 249 yards of total offense with five touchdowns – three through the air and another two on the ground – as Worcester State defeated Maine Maritime 39-22 this afternoon in New England Football Conference Bogan Division action.
The Lancers (5-0, 2-0) snap a two-game skid to the Mariners (3-1, 1-1) as WSU also now 12-10 in the all-time series. Since 2004 Maine Maritime had won seven of their last eight against the Blue and Gold.
Senior Marcus Price (Worcester, MA/Doherty) posted his fifth straight 100-yard rushing game as he finished with 148 yards on 33 carries with one touchdown. Tokarz was 13-of-25 with two interceptions and 209 passing yards. Fourth-year Kenny Russell (Bedford, MA) and freshman Casey Hippert (Douglas, MA) both hauled in five passes and 92 yards apiece and all three of Tokarz's scores through the air.
Fourth-year Matt Rende (Augusta, ME) rushed 22 times for 135 yards and two scores while sophomore Ian Champeon (Dover-Foxcroft, ME) added 75 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively senior Cameron Jones (Stow, MA) led the charge for the Lancers with a game-best 13 tackles (eight solo) with a forced fumble as junior PJ Robinson (Winthrop, MA) registered 12 tackles (seven solo), 2.5 for a loss and one pass break-up. Freshman Justin Sundara (Webster, MA) finished his afternoon with six tackles, three for a loss and one fumble recovery.
For the Mariners senior Chris Brawn (Winslow, ME) had a team-high eight tackles (seven solo) as he put up totals of 1.5 tackles for a loss and the contest's only sack. Sophomore John Regis (Old Orchard Beach, ME) ended the game with four solo tackles and two tackles for a loss while third-year Joel Chadbourne (Westbrook, ME) notched six tackles (five solo), picked off one pass and recovered one fumble.
Maine Maritime opened the game's scoring with a six play, 69-yard drive capped off by a Rende 28-yard touchdown burst at the 11:57 mark in the first quarter before the Lancers responded with a 10-yard scamper by Price with six minutes later on their third series of the contest (kick blocked).
After the Mariners went three and out, they would force Tokarz to throw an interception to close out the opening quarter.
On the first play of the second, senior Andrew Tokarz (Holden, MA) would force a Maine Maritime fumble to set-up a three-yard score by Tony Tokarz for the 12-7 advantage at the 11:10 mark (kick failed).
The two squads traded possessions before the Mariners would march 73-yards into Lancer territory and threaten on the seven yard-line, but the hosts had an impressive goal-line stand and forced an incompletion on fourth and long.
After Tokarz would get picked off on third-down in his own territory, Maine Maritime would find itself in prime position on the WSU seven. Worcester State defense, however, would use the dwindling time with seconds remaining to end the opening period with another impressive stop – including a pair of incomplete passes.
Worcester State would build on its lead to begin off the third as they ran their streak to 25 unanswered points on a 12-yard flick from Tokarz to Hippert and a 33-yard reception by Russell for the 25-7 advantage with 8:42 remaining in the quarter.
To start off the second half, the Lancers would hold the Mariners to just 14 yards of total offense in a trio of unproductive drives and they would force a fumble, which was recovered by Sundara to set the table for an 11-yard Tokarz score off of an option at the 3:16 mark.
The Mariners offense then woke up and scored on a quick five play, 70-yard drive that culminated in a 10-yard plunge by Rende to trail 32-14 by the end of the quarter.
After Worcester State score again on a 35-yard bomb from Tokarz to Russell for his fourth touchdown reception of the season, Maine Maritime embarked on another successful series taking advantage of a fumble by the Lancers.
The Mariners would make the score 39-22 when Champeon rumbled into the end-zone on a four-yard carry.
Following a Lancer three and out, Maine Maritime would use one last ditch effort to score again with 4:43 remaining in regulation. Starting on their own 48 they would only get to the Worcester State 18 as they were stopped just short of moving the chains on fourth and 14 by senior Cliff Oratokhai (Worcester, MA/South) on a 13-yard pass completion to end the game.
The Lancers had a balanced rushing attack with 192 yards on the ground and 192 yards passing while the Mariners were 42 yards below their rushing average entering the game with a total of 337. Possession time was even with the Blue and Gold holding the slight edge (30:04-29:56).
Maine Maritime was held to 5-of-15 on third downs and 1-of-3 on fourth downs while the Lancers were on third down 8-for-16 for the game.
On special teams WSU sophomore Derek Muccini (Upton, MA) averaged 55.3 yards on seven kickoffs as senior Nick Bourassa (Jay, ME) tacked on 120 all purpose yards – 73 on kickoffs – for the visitors.
Price is now 187 yards away from passing current running backs coach John Smith on the All-Time rushing list as Price now has 2,433 yards in 25 career games. Tokarz is just 28 rushing yards away from 1,000 for his career while he now has 12 rushing touchdowns to his credit.
Both team return to their respective Bogan Division schedules next Saturday on the road. Worcester State heads to Mass Maritime for a 12 PM game while the Mariners will play Westfield State at 1 o'clock.