New London, CT --- A blocked field goal from Matt Guarneri (Washingtonville, NY) and a one-yard touchdown run from Hunter Carey (South Hadley, MA) in the second overtime period sealed a wild win for the WPI football team on Saturday. The Engineers topped NEWMAC-rival Coast Guard on the road 30-24 in the penultimate game of the season for both teams.
WPI, winners of two straight, is now 4-5 overall and 2-3 in conference play, while the Bears dip to 3-6 overall and 1-4 in NEWMAC action.
The Engineers are now 4-2 all-time in overtime contests, including a 3-2 record in games that go past an initial overtime session. Prior to today's victory, WPI's last overtime win came on September 2, 2016, when the team won at MIT 37-34.
The evenly matched contest was knotted at 17-17 after regulation and both teams scored touchdowns in the first overtime session. In the second overtime, Coast Guard went just nine yards before setting up for a 33-yard field goal, but Guarneri got a hand on it to thwart the scoring attempt.
On the ensuing WPI possession, Carey gained all 25 yards for the Engineers, carrying the ball five times before scoring on third and one from the one-yard line to hand WPI the 30-24 victory.
WPI jumped out to a 10-0 bulge in the game before Coast Guard battled back. A first-quarter field goal from Brock Dubey (Dudley, MA) from 42-yards out made it 3-0 on the Engineers' final drive of the frame.
The momentum carried into the second quarter for WPI, as an eight-yard touchdown pass from Dante Coccagnia (East Syracuse, NY) to Carey made it 10-0. The pass capped a drive that started at their own 15-yard line and included a 42-yard pass from Stephen MacDonald (Georgetown, MA) to Jay Mezzo (Naugatuck, CT) on third and 10.
Coast Guard answered with its first score of the game three possessions later. Ryan Vigo (Rocklin, CA) picked off a pass at the WPI seven, setting up the Bears with 1st and goal from the three. Spencer McMillion (Laurel, MD) then carried it three yards for the score, cutting the lead to 10-7, where it stood at the half.
The hosts tied it up late in the third quarter, using a 14-play, 55-yard drive ending in a Finnegan Hall (Martinsburg, WV) 26-yard field goal to make it 10-10 after three.
Coast Guard took its first lead of the game early in the fourth quarter. Starting from their own 30, the Bears marched 70 yards down the field and scored on a six-yard pass from Joey Armentrout (Oceanside, CA) to James Patz (Severna Park, Md.) to take a 17-10 lead with 8:04 to play.
Both teams went three and out on their next possessions, giving WPI the ball with 6:13 to play trailing 17-10. On third and one from the Coast Guard 49, Carey got the first down with a four-yard run, setting up a 45-yard touchdown pass from Coccagnia to Isaac Frederique (Methuen, MA) that knotted the game at 17-17.
Both teams had a chance to win it in regulation, but the defenses held firm, sending it to overtime.
In the first extra session, the teams traded touchdowns. For WPI, it was a 25-yard pass from Frederique to Mezzo on the first play of the driveto make it 24-17. Coast Guard had third and seven before Armentrout found Broock Desta (San Diego, CA) with an 11-yard pass to tie it up at 24-24.
Coast Guard gained nine yards on its second overtime possession, setting up for the field goal that was blocked by Guarneri. That block then set up Carey for the game-winning rushing touchdown as WPI won it 30-24.
WPI's MacDonald finished 12-for 28 for 134 yards, while Coccagnia was 2-for-3 for 53 yards, with both of his completions going for touchdowns. Carey had 118 yards on the ground, carrying the ball 25 times, including one touchdown. He also had four catches for 43 yards and a score.
Mezzo had five catches for 93 yards and a touchdown, while Frederique caught two passes for 49 yards and a score.
Defensively for WPI, Harrison Kyriacou (Plainview, NY) had 11 tackles, 10 solo, and an interception. Gavin Chieff (Bernardsville, NJ) had nine tackles and an interception, while Zachary Carney (North Easton, MA) had nine tackles, including one for loss. Frankie Polito (Shrewsbury, MA) added nine tackles, while Evan Wertz (Franklin, MA) had eight.
For Coast Guard, Armentrout was 20-for-41 for 171 yards and two touchdowns in the air, while carrying the ball 14 times for 92 yards. Desta was his top receiver, making 10 catches for 102 yards and a score. McMillion carried the ball 36 times for 120 yards and a touchdown.
The Coast Guard defense was led by Logan Morris (Hubbard, TX) with 13 tackles, 12 solo, while Conner McGuire (Duncannon, PA) had 11 tackles, including one for loss. Tyler Jones (Alexandria, VA) and Andrew Schad (Huntsville, AL) each had sacks, while Vigo notched an interception.
Both teams close out the 2022 season next Saturday at noon. WPI entertains MIT whie Coast Guard ventures to Merchant Marine for the Secretaries Cup.