Worcester State Edges WPI 28-21 to Earn City Bragging Rights
Worcester, MA --- Corey Spencer (Malden, MA) threw for a pair of touchdowns and Kemani Jones (Milton, MA) eclipsed 100 yards rushing and added a score to help visiting Worcester State rally from an early 14-0 deficit to defeat WPI 28-21 in an entertaining non-conference football game on Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Lancers remain undefeated at 2-0 while the Engineers see its mark level at 1-1.
WPI used its special teams to get off to a good start when, after its defense forced a three-and-out, Brian Marsh (Wynantskill, NY) blocked a punt and it was recovered in the end zone by Mike Grasis (East Brookfield, MA) for his first career touchdown at 13:02 of the first quarter.
The Engineers scored again as Zach Grasis (East Brookfield, MA) finished a 15-play, 64-yard drive with a three-yard TD run with 3:44 remaining in the first quarter. The Lancers quickly answered as Graham Asum (Marlboro, MA) took the ensuing kickoff back 90-yards to make it 14-7.
The second quarter was all Worcester State. WSU evened the game at 14-14 when Jones bulled home from four yards out to cap a 14-play 80-yard drive with 10:47 to go before the half. The Lancers then took a 21-14 lead into the locker at intermission when Spencer hit AJ Scerra (Marlboro, MA) in the back right corner of the endzone for a four-yard score with just four seconds remaining.
After a scoreless third stanza, WPI tied the game at 21-21 when Zach Grasis highlighted a 15-play, 80-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown plunge with 12:05 left in the contest. Worcester State fumbled the following kickoff but the Engineers were unable to capitalize on great field position and turned the ball over on downs.
Worcester State embarked upon a 13-play, 75-yard drive that proved to be the game-winner. The Lancers converted a trio of third downs and cashed in when Spencer foundCasey Hippert (Douglas, MA) from 15 yards out to give WSU the 28-21 advantage. From there the Worcester State defense stiffened, not allowing another WPI first down on the day.
Spencer completed 21-of-35 passes for 210 yards and the two scores. Jones finished with 109 on the ground and Scerra hauled in seven catches for 48 yards and Hippert caught four balls for 63 yards. Zach Grasis led all players with 121 yards on the ground on 26 carries for WPI. Quarterbacks John Antonopoulos (Cambridge, MA) and Jacob Grills (Easy Lyme, CT) combined to complete half their pass attempts (18-of-36) for 110 yards. Ehab Hamdan (Revere, MA) led the Crimson and Gray reception parade with six catches for 54 yards.
Worcester State was led defensively by Sean Hanley (Wilmington, MA), who notched a team-high 12 tackles, forced a fumble and added a pair of pass breakups. Asum chipped in nine stops and Justin Pennellatore (Mansfield, MA) clinched the game with an interception in the final three minutes.
Joe Everett (Columbia, CT) had a monster game for WPI, registering a game-best 13 tackles, including an eye-popping seven for loss. The senior also forced a fumble. Classmate Shaine Grogan (Dalton, MA) contributed 10 tackles while Nick Chambers (Braintree, MA) and Christopher O'Connor (Bellerose, NY) both made six stops.
The game was tightly contested throughout, with Worcester State enjoying a 336-288 advantage in total yards and 31:39-28:21 edge in time of possession. The victory marked the second straight for the Lancers over the Engineers after WPI had won eight straight. The Engineers still own a 14-6 lead in the all-time series.
WPI takes to the field next Saturday when they travel to Norwich at 2pm to face the Cadets in the 62nd all-time meeting between the two teams but the first in nearly a decade. Worcester State travels to Western New England to face the defending New England Conference football champions at 1pm.