Fitchburg State Shocks Maine Maritime

FITCHBURG, Mass. — The Fitchburg State football team shocked defending NEFC champion Maine Maritime Academy this afternoon, posting a 46-44 victory at Elliot Field for its first triumph of the season.

Junior quarterback Jeremy Kimber (Fitchburg, Mass.) carried the Falcons, resulting in four, Fitchburg State touchdowns on the day, while senior running back Darren Wilson (Lowell, Mass.) added an additional two scores. Kimber totaled 290 all-purpose yards, throwing for 174 yards on 15-of-19 passing and two touchdowns (0 ints), while adding 116 yards and two TDs over eight rushes on the ground.

Wilson also rushed for over 100 yards on the day, tallying 193 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries, while senior Kyle Callahan (Stoneham, Mass.) rounded out the Falcons offense, leading the receiving core with a game-high 11 catches, 130 yards and two TD’s.

Maine Maritime opened the close-nit battle with an early 6-0 advantage as Todd Murphy (Middlesex, Vt.) notched a 7 yard touchdown run on the opening drive of the game, but Fitchburg State rallied back with two unanswered scores to post a 13-6 lead after one quarter of play. Wilson knotted the score at 6-6 at 9:18 of the first quarter with a 9 yard touchdown run, before senior Anthony Bizzotto (Leominster, Mass.) capped the scoring with a 2 yard touchdown plunge late in the frame.

The Mariners responded early in the second period as running back Jim Bower (South Paris) gave Maine Maritime a 14-13 advantage with a three yard scoring run, capping a 13 play, 75 yard drive. Quarterback Matt Rende (Augusta) followed suit, putting the Mariners up by eight (21-13) at the 4:04 mark with an 8 yard touchdown rush, but Fitchburg State closed the half strong , as Kimber connected with Callahan on a beautiful fade route for a 21-20 score at the break.

In the second half, both teams came out firing once again, posting two scores apiece in the third quarter for 36-33 contest heading into the final stanza. Rende (33 yd run) and Bower (39 yd run) sparked the Mariners with a pair of touchdown runs, while Kimber ignited the Falcons with two rushing scores, including a six yard dash and a 69 yard jolt.

In the fourth, the Falcons answered immediately as Kimber connected with Callahan again for a 40-36 score in favor of Fitchburg State. The pair connected over the top again with Callahan leaping over the Mariner defender for his second score of the game. Fitchburg State seemingly secured the contest just six minutes later as Wilson hit home on a 5 yard run for a ten point lead (46-36), but on the ensuing kick return, Maine-Maritime’s Bill Wetherbee (Veazie) busted loose for an 87 yard touchdown to bring the Mariners within two and set up a potential game-winning onside kick.

With 1:19 remaining, the Mariners set up for the onside kick, but Fitchburg State senior Billy Flynn (Stoneham, Mass.) pounced on the ball at the Maine-Maritime 42 yard line and secured Fitchburg State’s first victory of the season.

Jim Bower led Maine’s 433 yard rushing attack, posting 145 yards and two TD’s on 20 carries, while Murphy also reached the 100 yard plateau with 116 on eight attempts. Junior Nic Bourassa (Jay) rounded out the Mariners top three rushers with 91 yards on the day.

Defensively, Fitchburg State received solid play from its line backing core as senior Christian Guzman (Lawrence, Mass.), junior Will Gasson (N. Falmouth, Mass.) and Bizzotto combined for 34 stops. Guzman led all tacklers with 14, including ten solo stops, four assist and one fumble recovery, while Bizzotto added eight solo tackles and five assists. Sophomore Joel Chadbourne (Westbrook) led all Mariner tacklers with a team-best 14 tackles (6 solo, 8 assists).

Maine Maritime (2-1, 0-1 NEFC) will host Worcester State on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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


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