Bridgewater Runs Past Mariners

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. — Junior running back Justin Fuller (Berkley, MA) rushed for a career-high 235 yards and tied a school record with five rushing touchdowns to lead the Bridgewater State College football team to a convincing 40-14 victory over Maine Maritime Academy Saturday afternoon at Swenson Field in Bridgewater.

Bridgewater State improved to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the New England Football Conference (NEFC) Bogan Division. The Bears avenged a 41-31 loss last season to their divisional rivals. Maine Maritime, the defending Bogan Division champion, falls to 2-1 on the season and 0-1 in divisional play.

Bridgewater State’s defense was outstanding throughout the contest as they limited the Mariners to 238 yards of total offense and 193 rushing yards. MMA entered the day averaging 51.5 points a game and 442.5 yards rushing. The Bears also held senior fullback Jim Bower (South Paris) to just 41 yards on 13 carries. Bower had gained 321 yards on the ground over the first two games of the season.

Fuller’s one-yard TD plunge came on the opening series of the game as the Bears marched 61 yards on eight plays to take a 6-0 lead.

The Bears took advantage of a 37-yard punt return by senior Jesse Teixeira (Taunton, MA) on their third possession of the game to start the scoring drive deep in Mariner territory at the 16-yard line. Three plays later Fuller ran it in from four yards out to up the lead to 12-0. Bridgewater went for two on the conversion attempt but a pass attempt failed.

After a Mariner punt, BSC moved the ball down to the MMA 23-yard line. The Bears, however, fumbled a pitch on an option play, and MMA recovered to put an end to the scoring threat. The Mariners promptly marched 61 yards down to the BSC 17-yard line. On fourth and three from the 17, the Bears forced an incomplete pass to take over on downs with 6:01 remaining in the second quarter. Eleven plays later, senior quarterback Steve Clark (East Falmouth, MA) connected with Teixeira on a 12-yard touchdown pass to give the Bears a 19-0 advantage with just 22 seconds left in the half.

MMA got its’ offense untracked on the opening series of the third quarter. The Mariners pieced together a 13-play, 61-yard drive capped off by a Tyler Angell (Leeds) five-yard touchdown run. At one point during the drive, MMA was staring at a third and 34 situation at their own 44-yard line. After Angel rushed for an 11-yard gain, the Bears were flagged for a late hit out of bounds to give the Mariners the automatic first down. The extra point attempt after the touchdown was blocked as the visitors trailed 19-6 with nine minutes left in the quarter.

On the ensuing possession, Bridgewater responded with a 13-play, 77-yard drive which chewed up over six minutes off the clock. Fuller gave BSC a 26-6 lead as he scored from 12-yards out. After an exchange of punts, the Mariners took over on the Bridgewater 39-yard line. The Mariners moved the ball down to the BSC ten, but a costly fumble was recovered by Bears’ defensive lineman Paul Melicharek (Glen Rock, NJ) on the six-yard line to put an end to the drive. Bridgewater capitalized on the turnover as the offense moved 94 yards on 14 plays highlighted by a Clark to Teixeira 32-yards pass completion on third and six from the Bears’ 41. Fuller capped off the seven and a half minute drive with his fourth touchdown of the afternoon, this time from two yards out.

Sophomore running back Nick Bourassa (Jay) made it a 33-14 ball game with 1:42 left in the fourth quarter as he hauled in a 15-yard scoring strike from sophomore quarterback Matthew Rende (Augusta). After Bridgewater recovered the ensuing onside kick, Fuller tied the BSC single-game touchdown mark as he broke off a 38-yard touchdown run with just 46 seconds to go.

Angell rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, but was just 1-for-7 passing for 13 yards. Rende, the Mariners backup QB, completed 2 of 4 passes for 32 yards and a score while also rushing for 35 yards on seven attempts. Senior linebacker Travis Fergola (Mexico) was the Mariners’ leading tackler as he recorded 11 solo stops while also recovering a fumble.

For more sports news, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.



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