Football Stymied by Coast Guard 24-10 in NEWMAC Road Contest

Sam Casey (Credit: Noontime Sports)
Sam Casey (Credit: Noontime Sports)

New London, CT --- Quarterback Ryan Jones (Punxsutawney, PA) tossed a pair of touchdowns and ran for another as Coast Guard defeating visiting WPI 24-10 in a NEWMAC football contest played on Saturday afternoon.

The Bears improve to 6-3 on the season and 4-2 in conference play and are assured its first winning season since 2012.  WPI dips to 5-4 overall and 3-3 versus NEWMAC opponents.  

The first quarter was dominated by a lengthy drive by Coast Guard.  WPI picked up a pair of first downs and held the ball for four minutes on the first possession before the Bears took over following a punt at their own 13 yard line.  Quarterback Ryan Jones (Punxsutawney, PA) connected on his first 10 passes, and 11-of-12 overall, that headlined a 19-play, 83-yard drive that chewed up 9:53 off the clock and resulted in a 20-yard field goal by Cole Austin (Flower Mound, TX).

After forcing a three-and-out, the hosts embarked on another long drive, one that covered 12 plays and 70 yards over 6:24, and was capped by a six-yard scoring pass from Jones to Justin Moffatt (Odessa, FL) but the PAT was blocked by WPI's Lou Duh (Monroe, CT).  Jones continued his strong start on the drive, completing all six of his pass attempts.

WPI used its defense to get back into the game.  Following a punt, Sam Casey (Winchester, MA) picked off a pass on the next CGA drive and returned it 32 yards to the Bears 17.  The Engineers were only able to move the ball two yards and settled for a 32-yard field goal by Spencer Herrington (Clearfield, PA) to cut the deficit to 9-3 prior to halftime.

Coast Guard had yet another prolonged drive to start the second half, venturing in 78 yards in 17 plays over 7:36, culminating in a Jones two-yard quarterback keeper for the touchdown.  Austin's PAT put the Bears ahead 16-3.   WPI looked poised to score on an impressive drive of its own on its next possession but Luke Wilson (Brandenburg, KY) forced a Crimson and Gray fumble that was recovered by CGA's R.J. Robiskie (Murrieta, CA).

The guests used a long drive of their own to find the end zone when quarterback Julian Nyland (Melrose, MA) connected with Nic Rossi (Howell, NJ) on an 11-yard scoring strike in the front left corner of the end zone.  The scored finished a 17-play, 78-yard drive that ate up 7:59.  Harrington added on the PAT to bring WPI within 16-10 with 9:34 remaining. 

It had appeared the ensuing Coast Guard drive had stalled at the WPI 37 yard line but Jake Behne (Clifton, VA) took an inside handoff on a fake punt on a 4th-and-17 and rumbled 31 yards for the first down and Jones then found Damaso Jaime (Lake Como, NJ) with a touchdown on the very next play.  Jones and Moffatt hooked up on the two-point conversation to give the Bears a 24-10 advantage with 5:29 remaining.

Trailing by two scores, the Engineers were forced to go for it on fourth down deep in their own territory and did not make it.  Coast Guard took over on a short field but saw its 23-yard field goal attempt blocked by Brian Mahan (Ashland, MA).  WPI's last drive was ended by fourth down sack by Titus Creamer (Newman, VA) and Eugene Bizer (The Woodlands, VA). 

Jones was outstanding for the Bears.  The junior signal caller was 30-for-37 for 251 yards and the two touchdowns.  Moffatt finished with eight catches for 82 yards, Jaime hauled in seven balls for 66 yards and Jon Wagner (Huntington, PA) and Miguel Moroles (Sequim, WA) both caught six passes, combining for 77 receiving yards.  Wagner led the rushing attack for CGA with 63 yards in 16 carries. 

Nyland finished 16-for-28 for 123 yards for WPI.  He added 21 yards on the ground. Brandon Winn (Tewksbury, MA) paced the running attack 36 yards as Sean McAllen (Prospect, CT) was limited to just five carries and 20 yards.  Eric Fyrer (Ipswich, MA) absorbed six targets for 54 yards and Clark Ewen (Arlington, MA) caught five balls for 28 yards.

Nick Ostrowski (Charlton, MA) and Casey were standouts on defensive for WPI with both sharing game-high honors with 12 tackles. Joe Kerkach (Ashland, MA) and Duh each had a sack and Blayne Merchant (Sanderson, FL) registered a pair of tackles-for-loss for the visitors.   Behne led the way with 12 tackles for Bears while Colby Coco (Kirkland, WA) added three pass breakups to go along with six stops and Michael Goldsworthy (Jamison, PA) chipped in with a pair of tackles-for-loss.

Coast Guard ended the game with a 374-200 edge in total yards, a 23-12 advantage in first down and won time of possession 37:07 to 22:53.

Both teams close out the season next Saturday at noon.  WPI hosts Norwich while Coast Guard heads to Merchant Marine for the Secretaries' Cup, which will be available on ESPN3.