Worcester, MA --- Senior Tony Tokarz (Holden, MA) amassed 284 yards of total offense with two passing scores and a 48-yard touchdown run to help lead Worcester State to a 27-13 triumph over Framingham State in New England Football Bogan Division action this afternoon at Coughlin Field.
With the win the Lancers finish off their regular season with an 8-2 record (5-2 NEFC Bogan) as they await word on a possible ECAC Bowl bid in two weeks.
The Rams see their six-game win streak come to an end as they fall to 7-3 overall and 6-1 in Bogan Division play. FSU, however, won the division last week and they will take on Boyd Division Champion Western New England in Springfield this Saturday to determine the conference's representative in the NCAA Division III Football Tournament.
In his 29th season at the helm of the Lancers, the squad presented Brien Cullen with his 150th career victory. Today's triumph marks the first time since 2004 that the Blue and Gold have posted a winning regular season.
It took Worcester State three drives in the first quarter to open up the scoring, as Tokarz launched a deep pass to sophomore AJ Scerra (Marlboro, MA) who hauled in the 46-yard toss to put WSU ahead 7-0 with 6:45 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Rams promptly responded on their next drive as they marched down the field on eight plays and capping it off with sophomore Melikke Van Alstyne (Swampscott, MA) rushing for a three-yard score (PAT blocked) less than four minutes later. Framingham State was faced with a second-and-26 during the drive, but was able to convert thanks to a well-executed screen pass to Van Alstyne.
FSU looked to increase their lead early in the second quarter, but WSU senior Cliff Oratokhai (Worcester, MA/South) intercepted sophomore Dino Mancinelli's (Madison, CT) pass ending the scoring chance.
After sophomore Derek Muccini added a 30-yard field goal with 18 seconds left in the first quarter, both teams traded possessions twice before the Rams took over for a long 65-yard, 15-play series. The Lancer defense proved tough, however, as on a fourth-and-goal from the four yard-line they forced a turnover on downs ending the drive that was nearly seven minutes long – including an Oratokhai break-up on third down to prevent the go-ahead score.
The Blue and Gold took over with 2:44 seconds remaining in the half driving all the way down the field before they were faced with a first-and-20 with 10 seconds on the clock, following a holding penalty. After scrambling in the pocket, Tokarz heaved the ball into the end-zone to junior Justin DeAndrade (E. Bridgewater, MA), who snagged the ball and scored on the 27-yard reception with one tick left in the half.
Framingham State started the third quarter going three-and-out, but a fake punt pass on fourth down by sophomore Kyle Shonio (Swampscott, MA) to junior Alex Avery (Milford, MA) kept the drive alive. On the next play, Van Alstyne then broke through the Lancer defense and scored from 31-yards out making the score 17-13 with 12:46 left in the third quarter.
Muccini added a 22-yard field goal with less than 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter putting the Lancers up 20-13. Tokarz then completed passes of 20 and 25 yards, respectively, to DeAndrade on the drive to set up the field goal.
The Lancers made it a two-possession game, with just under seven minutes left in regulation, when Tokarz added his 48-yard touchdown run on the next drive after maneuvering through the Ram defenders and finding space in the open field putting WSU ahead, 27-13. Tokarz's scramble came on a third-and-10 as the Lancers were six-of-seven on third down conversions in the fourth stanza.
On the ensuing kickoff, Framingham State used good field position after a squib kick to set up camp on the Worcester State's 32. The Rams would march down into the 12-yard line before Oratokhai sealed the win with his second interception – his team leading sixth of the season.
Tokarz was 10-for-23 with 212 passing yards while he added 62 yards on the ground despite three sacks. Freshman Kemani Jones (Milton, MA) tacked on 89 yards on 19 carries including a 24-yard burst on a third down deep in their own territory to help the Lancers score just before the end of the half.
DeAndrade and Scerra combined for six receptions and 121 yards and two touchdowns for WSU.
Van Alstyne, the leading rusher in Division III with 1,399 yards, finished with 28 rushes for 158 yards and two touchdowns. Needing just 49 yards to break David Leach's mark of 2,604, he broke FSU's career-mark as he now has 2,713 yards in just two seasons. Avery finished with six receptions for 77 yards for the Rams.
Senior Ray St. Laurent (Shrewsbury, MA) ended the day collecting 10 tackles (8 solo) with two sacks for 22 yards and he added a pass breakup on third-down. Oratokhai was clutch with two interceptions, a pair of deflections and a blocked extra point. Junior Bryan Narcisse (Medway, MA) chipped in seven tackles (five solo) with 1.5 sacks.
The Rams were led by senior Mark Nunes (Taunton, MA) and first-year Dennis Barnwell (Medford, MA) who both ended the day with seven tackles apiece. Third-year James Murihead (Middleboro, MA) and freshman Rob Staub (Dracut, MA) both registered one sack each.
Junior Tyrone Notice (Gardner, MA) moved closer to the single-season interception of eight held by George Claffin's 1986 record with a pick today as Worcester State was driving in the third quarter. Notice is near the top of the NEFC lead with six this season.
Worcester State sophomore punter Alex Blakeslee (Shrewsbury, MA) had a career day with six punts for 297 yards that included two inside the 20 and an 80-yard boot for a touchback that broke the school record by seven yards that was previously held by Tim Bartucca and set against Westfield State in 2007. Blakeslee also reset the school mark for punting average in a single game with 49.5 yards per punt as his longest punt was just four yards shy of the conference record.
While both squads were even in first downs (17-17) and close in time of possession (31:20-28:30, FSU), the Lancers held leads in total yardage (360-283), passing yards (212-153) and rushing yards (148-130). Framingham State also had 12 penalties for 104 yards.
Release By Jim Sarkisian – Sports Information Intern