Jackson's Late Pick Six Propels Westfield State Past Massachusetts Maritime, 37-27
MASSACHUSETTS MARITIME FOOTBALL
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Alumni Field, Westfield, Mass.
FINAL: WESTFIELD STATE 37, MASSACHUSETTS MARITIME 27
WESTFIELD, Mass. -- Senior Gregg Jackson's (Wolcott, Conn.) 20-yard interception return with seven minutes remaining snapped a 27-27 tie and lifted Westfield State to a 37-27 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference football victory over Massachusetts Maritime Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field.
Jackson's heroics came after the host Owls (4-2, 3-1 MASCAC) saw a 20-point third quarter lead slip away in the early moments of the final frame, as a 68-yard scoring strike from senior Mike Stanton (Quincy, Mass.) to junior E.J. Bennett (East Wareham, Mass.) just 2:52 into the stanza enabled the visiting Buccaneers (3-3, 1-3 MASCAC) to draw even. After an exchange of two punts each gave Massachusetts Maritime the ball back, Jackson stepped in front of Stanton pass and deep in the visitors' territory and returned it for the deciding score, as freshman Michael Orellana's (Springfield, Mass.) 42-yard field goal with 2:32 remaining iced the hosts' triumph.
After a scoreless first quarter, Westfield State grabbed a 7-0 lead midway through the frame on senior Tim Rich's (Chelmsford, Mass.) one-yard plunge that capped a 17-play, 90-yard drive, but the Buccaneers evened matters on their next possession when Bennett hauled in a 24-yard touchdown pass from junior John Trudel (Niantic, Conn.). The Owls responded with a nine-play, 63-yard drive that was capped when Rich found senior Kane Terilli (Cranston, R.I.) on a 13-yard scoring connection with 15 seconds to play in the half and a 13-7 lead at the break, and a pair of touchdown runs of 26 and 15 yards from senior Brian Beauchemin (Athol, Mass.) in the opening 6:42 after intermission extended the hosts' advantage to 27-7 with 8:18 remaining in the third stanza. Massachusetts Maritime began its comeback when Trudel found sophomore David Yerxa (Milford, Conn.) for a 12-yard touchdown pass on the ensuing possession, and Bennett closed that gap back to seven with 53 seconds remaining in the quarter on a 2-yard pass from Trudel, setting up the frantic fourth quarter finish that saw the Buccaneers tie the game and Jackson's heroics give Westfield State its triumph.
Beauchemin rushed for 131 yards on 18 carries to go with his two scores in the win for the Owls, as Rich completed 24-of-39 attempts for 268 yards, with Terilli hauling in 13 receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown for Westfield State, which amassed 436 yards of total offense in running 90 plays. Bennett shattered Massachusetts Maritime's single-game receiving yards mark with 274 yards on 15 catches (two shy of his own single-game mark of 17 set on September 28th at Worcester State), as Stanton completed 24-of-47 attempts for 315 yards on the day. Trudel has now accounted for 15 touchdowns in running just 79 plays from scrimmage on the season, nine of which have come through the air. The Buccaneers, who entered the game ranked second nationally in Division III in total offense at 582.6 yards per game, collected 440 yards in running 86 plays in just 21:20 of possession time.
Sophomore Breno Pessanha (Worcester, Mass.) paced Westfield State defensively with eight solo tackles, while Jackson added six stops to go with his pick six for the Owls. Sophomore Matthew King (Scituate, Mass.) registered a career-high total tackles (eight solo) in the setback for Massachusetts Maritime, which also received a career-best 12 tackles (seven solo) from sophomore Mike Williams (Marshfield, Mass.).
Massachusetts Maritime hosts UMass Dartmouth in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference match-up next Saturday afternoon at Clean Harbors Stadium that kicks off at Noon, while Westfield State travels to Bridgewater, Mass. to take on Bridgewater State in a MASCAC contest that begins at 1:00 p.m.