Football Hangs On For 31-30 Victory Over Coast Guard
New London, CT --- Senior Tony Tokarz (Holden, MA) threw for a career-best 298 yards and four touchdowns to help Worcester State end their two-game losing streak as they defeated Coast Guard Academy, 31-30, in New England Football Conference Bogan Division action this afternoon.
The Lancers improves to 6-2 on the season and is now 4-2 in divisional play, while the Bears slip to 1-6 overall (1-4 NEFC Bogan).
Fourth-year Kenny Russell (Bedford, MA) and sophomore AJ Scerra (Marlboro, MA) each went over the century mark in receiving yards as Russell made eight catches for 119 yards and a touchdown while Scerra made seven grabs for 110 yards and two scores.
Price now holds the record for most rushing yards in a season (1,203) and is 101 yards away from passing Lancer Hall of Famer Greg Wood (2001-03) for first on the all-time rushing list (3,002). Price also leaped from sixth into fourth place on the all-purpose yardage list with 3,158 yards.
Tokarz is now tied for third with Pat Good (2005-08) on Worcester State's all-time passing touchdown list with 41 in his career. He also surpassed the 4,000 yard mark as he has 4,158 yards. He is only three touchdowns away from being second on the all-time list.
Russell went over the 1,000 yard receiving mark for his career as he stands at 1,114, tied for eight all-time.
Down by one point with less than two minutes remaining, junior Drew Russo (Boca Raton, FL) intercepted a Tokarz pass in the end-zone giving the Bears one last chance to win the game.
Senior Jarrod Owens (Monroe, GA) moved Coast Guard into Worcester State territory as he hit classmate Stephen Spotts (Treverton, PA) on a 23-yard reception. Owens then connected with sophomore Tyler Hames (Milford, CT) and Spotts again for 11 and seven-yard catches, respectively, to move the Bears to the WSU 26.
With three seconds remaining in the contest, Senior Jacob Shackelford (Richardson, TX) lined-up a 43-yard field goal for the win, but the kick fell just short of the uprights and was no good.
Coast Guard opened the scoring on a bizarre play. WSU tried a fake punt on their opening drive, but when there was no room to run sophomore Alex Blakeslee (Shrewsbury, MA) attempted an off-balance punt that ended up in the hands of senior Nick Peters (Floyds Knobs, IN), who returned it 55 yards for a touchdown.
The Lancers answered on their next possession when Tokarz hit Russell for a 28-yard pass to cut into the lead, but a missed extra-point left WSU down 7-6.
Even though they trailed, Worcester State dominated the first quarter. They ran 29 plays to the Bears six and outgaining them 160-2 in total yards.
Shackelford drilled a 38-yard field goal with 12:31 left in the first half to add to Coast Guard's now 10-6 lead.
It took the Lancers three plays on their next possession to gain their first lead of the contest. Price ran the ball on all three plays ending it with a 58-yard scamper putting WSU ahead 13-10 with the PAT.
With 9:16 left in the second half, Hames caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from Owens putting the Bears back on top 17-13.
The Bears defense forced a three-and-out and freshman Jake Wawrzyniak (Sylvania, OH) capped an 11 play, 64-yard drive with a four-yard run as the Bears extended their lead to 24-13 with 3:23 left in the opening half.
Worcester State responded with an 11-play drive of their own covering 60 yards, as Tokarz found Scerra for a four-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the half. The Lancers failed on the two-point conversion making the score 24-19 at halftime.
Coast Guard began the second half with the ball looking to add to their lead. On the twelfth play of the drive Owens threw a pass to the end-zone, but it was intercepted by senior Clifford Oratokhai (Worcester, MA/South) ending the Bears scoring chance.
The Lancers took the lead with 5:01 left in the third quarter on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Tokarz to junior Justin DeAndrade (E. Bridgewater, MA).The two-point pass failed and WSU led 25-24.
It took Coast Guard just over a minute to regain the lead as Hames scored on a 48-yard touchdown run; the Bears two-point pass failed and the score was 30-25 with 3:57 left in the third quarter.
Worcester State took the 31-30 edge for good on its next possession as Tokarz hit Scerra for the 49-yard touchdown to cap the eight-play, 76-yard drive.
After a failed onside kick by the Lancers, Coast Guard had great field position to start their next drive. Two plays into it, however, Owens was intercepted by Oratokhai in the end zone as he hauled in his second pick of the game.
Worcester State took close to six minutes off the clock and drove the Coast Guard 14-yard line before turning it over on downs. Coast Guard went three-and-out on the ensuing possession and the Lancers shaved off another five minutes of clock before the Russo interception in the end zone.
The Lancers held margins in first downs (28-17), rushing yards (282-189), passing yards (298-175), and total offense (580-364).
Owens was 15-of-27 for 175 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Hames led the way on the ground with eight carries for 98 yards. Hames also led the Bears with five receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown while Spotts had five catches for 58 yards.
Junior Eric Gerken (Tampa, FL), the leading receiver in the NEFC, was held to just two receptions for ten yards.
Freshman Victor Rizzardi (Ashburn, VA), and juniors Curt Barrett (Breman, GA) and Parker Bateson (Virginia Beach, VA) each had ten tackles to lead the Coast Guard defense while senior Andrew Tokarz (Holden, MA) and freshman Teddy Ferreira (Mansfield, MA) led the Lancers with five tackles apiece.
Both teams continue Bogan divisional play next Saturday for 1:30 games. Worcester State will travel to Fitchburg State while Coast Guard will be on the road as well as they take on Framingham State.
Release By Jim Sarkisian - Sports Information Intern
Portions of Release Courtesy of Coast Guard Sports Information