Coast Guard Clips Westfield State On Late Touchdown Pass, 31-27
WESTFIELD, Mass.—Senior quarterback Jon Resch threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Casey Paris with 2:40 left leading Coast Guard to a 31-27 win over Westfield State University in a New England Football Conference (NEFC) Bogan Division game on Saturday, Oct. 13.
Resch was 24 of 42 for 210 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions while Paris led the Bears with eight receptions for 106 yards and the game-winning touchdown.
Coast Guard evens its record at 3-3 overall and 2-2 in Bogan Division play while Westfield State drops to 2-5 overall and 1-3 in the Bogan Division.
Sophomore Jake Wawrzyniak, who was injured on the opening series last week, was cleared to play on Saturday morning and led the Bears with 32 carries for 108 yards and a pair of touchdown while also adding six receptions for 28 yards in the win.
Resch fumbled on the opening snap of the second half and senior linebacker Dan Dowling recovered at the Coast Guard 13-yard line and Andrew Buanno had a 13-yard touchdown run on the next play as the Owls opened a 21-10 lead just 19 seconds into the third quarter.
The Coast Guard defense got the Bears back in the game as following a punt, junior Evan Rothfield returned an interception 44 yards to the Westfield 30-yard line and, on the first play, Resch threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Nick Fredericksen with 10:08 left in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 21-17. It was Fredericksen's first career touchdown.
The Bears defense got the ball back again as sophomore Aaron Black forced a fumble and senior John Manganiello recovered at the Westfield 45-yard line.
Coast Guard used a trick play, a 28-yard pass from sophomore Collis Brown Fredericksen and a late hit on the play gave the Bears a first-and-goal. Wawrzyniak capped the drive with a 3-yard touchdown as the Bears regained the lead 24-21 with 6:52 left in the third quarter.
Following an exchange of punts, Westfield appeared to take the lead on a touchdown run by freshman Josh Trainque, but a holding call negated the touchdown and three plays later senior Dante Adams intercepted freshman quaterback Erik Washburn in the end zone with 12:30 left as Coast Guard maintained the lead.
The Owl defense got the ball back however as junior Cam Willcox picked off Resch giving Westfield the ball at the Bear 21-yard line after a 10 yard return.
Westfield reserve running back Josh Trainque's five-yard touchdown run with 7:44 left in the game gave the Owls a 27-24 lead as there was a high snap and bad hold on the blocked PAT attempt.
Resch then led the Bears on a game-winning 12-play, 72-yard drive capped on a 24-yard touchdown pass to Paris with 2:40 left. Resch converted three straight third downs including a third-and-nine on the eventual game winner to Paris.
The Bears defense got a stop, but Henning missed a 38-yard field goal giving the Owls one last chance. Westfield had the ball on its own 40 with one second left and a Hail Mary pass was caught by junior Jeff Winchell at the 25-yard line, but he fumbled to end the game.
Coast Guard had a great chance early when freshman Kyle Wood recovered the game's opening kickoff on the Westfield 28-yard line, but Resch was intercepted on the second play of the game.
Freshman Tyler Henning booted a 25-yard field goal with 6:39 left in the first quarter to give Coast Guard a 3-0 lead, the only points of the first quarter. Coast Guard had 100 yards of total offense, 70 passing in the first quarter while Westfield had just 35 total yards in the opening quarter.
Westfield took the lead 7-3 on 2-yard touchdown pass from freshman Erik Washburn to sophomore running back Michael Mercadante with 12:49 left in the first half.
The Owls TD was set up when Justin Ehrhardt intercepted Resch and returned it 12 yards to the Westfield 48-yard line. Washburn's 49-yard completion to senior Kevin Parnell down to the 3-yard line set up the touchdown.
Coast Guard took the lead late in the first half as Wawrzyniak scored on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 1:30 left in the half for a 10-7 lead. He also converted a fourth-and-one from the 7-yard line with a two-yard run earlier in the drive. Resch hit senior tight end Casey Paris with a 22-yard pass moving the ball into Owl territory on the first play of the drive.
Coast Guard then kicked off and were offsides for the game's first penalty, so Westfield had the Bears rekick and sophomore Andrew Buanno returned that kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown to give the Owls a 14-10 lead with 1:09 left in the first half.
The Bears had 214 yards of total offense, 118 passing, in the first half while the Owls had just 90 total yards, 59 passing. Resch was 13 of 22 for 118 yards in the opening half while Wawrzyniak had 18 carries for 60 yard at in the first half.
Westfield played nearly half of the game without its top two running backs. Michael Mercadante (9 carries, 26 yards) was injured on the late series of the first half and Buanno (8 carries, 28 yards) was injured early in the second.
The Owls were held to 91 net yards rushing on 32 carries while Washburn completed 15 of 28 passes for 166 yards. Parnell had seven receptions for 129 yards.
Defensively, Ehrhardt was a standout again for the Owls with a game-high 14 tackles (8 solos, 2 for losses) and an interception. Parker Bateson led Coast Guard with nine tackles.