Pierce's 131 Yards, Three Touchdowns Propels Massachusetts Maritime Past UMass Dartmouth, 34-21
MASSACHUSETTS MARITIME FOOTBALL
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Clean Harbors Stadium, Buzzards Bay, Mass.
FINAL: MASSACHUSETTS MARITIME 34, UMASS DARTMOUTH 21
BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. -- Junior Austin Pierce (Peabody, Mass.) rushed for a career-high 131 yards and three touchdowns to lead Massachusetts Maritime to a 34-21 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference football victory over UMass Dartmouth Saturday afternoon at Clean Harbors Stadium.
Pierce capped a seven-play, 70-yard opening drive in the opening 1:38 of action with a four-yard plunge that staked the host Buccaneers (4-3, 2-3 MASCAC) to an early 7-0 advantage, and after an exchange of punts, the visiting Corsairs (3-4, 3-3 MASCAC) evened matters when junior Adam Ledoux (Somerset, Mass.) hauled in a five-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Cullen Hanna (Richmondville, N.Y.) to cap a 13-play, 53-yard drive with 6:42 to play in the first quarter. Massachusetts Maritime took advantage of a short field midway through the second stanza to grab a 13-7 lead when senior quarterback Mike Stanton (Quincy, Mass.) hooked up with fellow senior David Wilson (Weare, N.H.) on a 29-yard strike, and after another UMass Dartmouth short punt, Pierce visited the end zone for a second time from five yards out to give the hosts a 20-7 edge with 3:53 remaining in the half. Senior Michael Sylvia's (Lincoln, Mass.) interception of a Hanna pass on the ensuing possession set up the Buccaneers on the Corsair 26, allowing Pierce to scamper in from one yard out for his third score of the day and a 27-7 Massachusetts Maritime advantage at the break.
The Corsairs crept back to within 27-14 just five minutes after intermission, as Hanna's 30-yard hookup with freshman Brenden LaRosa (Everett, Mass.) set up freshman Trent Barneys' (Avenel, N.J.) five-yard touchdown run, and after the teams traded two punts and a pair of interceptions, UMass Dartmouth closed to within six with 12:46 remaining in the contest after senior Art Azatyants (Brookline, Mass.) picked off a Stanton pass deep in Massachusetts Maritime and returned it for a 19-yard touchdown. After another exchange of punts, the Buccaneers took over on their own 20 with 7:10 remaining and drove to the Corsair 32 before facing a 4th-and-5 that saw Stanton connect with junior Bobby Rosano (North Reading, Mass.) on a crucial 24-yard pass that set up the hosts on the visitors' eight with 2:35 to play, and after a pair of stops and timeouts by UMass Dartmouth, Stanton iced the Massachusetts Maritime triumph by scampering in from eight yards out with 2:13 remaining to account for the final score.
Pierce accounted for nearly two-thirds of the Buccaneers' rushing total of 196 yards on the day, as the hosts amassed 435 yards of total offense and ran 95 plays while controlling the ball for over 28 minutes, including nearly nine minutes in the fourth quarter. Stanton completed 17-of-38 pass attempts for 239 yards to go over the 7,000 yard mark for his career while overcoming three interceptions, as he distributed the ball to 10 different receivers on the day. Hanna finished with 257 yards of total offense in the setback for UMass Dartmouth, including 170 through the air on a 20-of-59 performance that also included three interceptions (two by Sylvia), as LaRosa hauled in eight catches for 80 yards to go with his first quarter score. The Corsairs ran 104 plays of their own in nearly 32 minutes of possession time in amassing 332 yards of total offense on the day.
Junior Victor Andrade (Yarmouth Port, Mass.) paced Massachusetts Maritime defensively with 11 total tackles (eight solo) and a fumble recovery, while Sylvia added seven solo stops and three break-ups to his two interceptions. Junior Kevin Stanton (Abington, Mass.) also recorded three break-ups on the day for the Buccaneers, who also received an interception from junior Reynard Ortiz (Lowell, Mass.) as well as eight tackles (six solo) from junior Zach Ryan (Danvers, Mass.).
Sophomore Derek Tarpey (Tewksbury, Mass.) led UMass Dartmouth defensively with 13 total tackles (five solo), while junior Cody Merritt (Plymouth, Mass.) added 11 stops (six solo) for the Corsairs. Azatyants added seven tackles to go with his pick-six for the visitors, who also received interceptions from sophomore Shaquille Brummitt (Boston, Mass.) and freshman Trevor MacNeil (Holden, Mass.).
Massachusetts Maritime's win came in the first meeting between the two schools since October 29, 2005 and snapped UMass Dartmouth's six-game series win streak that began in 1996 and went through that match-up eight years ago. The Buccaneers also won for the 10th time in their last 13 home outings.
Massachusetts Maritime heads to Framingham, Mass. next Saturday afternoon to take on Framingham State in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference outing for the "Kelley Cup" that kicks off at 1:00 p.m., while UMass Dartmouth hosts Western Connecticut in a MASCAC clash next Saturday afternoon in North Dartmouth, Mass. that also kicks off at 1:00 p.m.