BUZZARDS BAY, Mass – The undefeated Western Connecticut State University Colonials rolled in to Clean Harbors Stadium Saturday afternoon to take on the 1-4 Buccaneers. Behind a strong defensive performance, the Bucs held West Conn, a team that averaged 38 points per game, to just 23 points. Unfortunately, the offense had a tough time against the Colonial defense and couldn't beat those 23 points as the Academy fell to the Colonials 23-13.
Offensively for the Buccaneers, quarterback Ty Ebdon (Gales Ferry, Conn) threw for 148 yards on eight completions. He completed his third 60+ pass of the season to Benjamin Sheehan (Wilbraham, Mass). Sheehan led the Bucs in rushing with 49 yards on 16 carries. Freshman running back, Conner Reynolds (Norton, Mass) who has had double digit carries in the past two week, carried the ball 12 times for 14 yards and a two-yard Maritime touchdown. Wide receiver Paul Sances (Middleboro, Mass) led the team in receiving for the fourth time this year, catching seven passes for 99 yards. Will Bennett (Sandwich, Mass), a reliable target all year for Buccaneer quarterbacks, hauled in three catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. Late in the game, Ebdon was relieved by sophomore quarterback John Teehan (Hyde Park, Mass). Teehan completed five of his 10 attempts for 84 yards and the touchdown to Bennett. Defensively for Maritime, Sean Smialek (Dartmouth, Mass) led the team with 10 total tackles, six solo and four assisted. Defensive end Kyle Johnston (Raynham, Mass) wreaked havoc in the Colonial back field with a tackle for loss and a sack fumble late in the first half that was picked up by Kamil Bak (Southampton, Mass). Johnston had eight total tackles in the game.
Western Connecticut's quarterback David James threw for 201 yards in the game, completing 15 of his 30 passes, adding a touchdown and an interception to the stat line. Wide receiver Austin Calamita led the team and game in receiving yards with 111 on six catches, and a touchdown. Running back, Kyle McKinnon gained 122 yards on 26 carries while scoring two touchdowns for the visitors. Defensively, Derek Jones had a great day for West Conn, totaling 10 tackles, five solo, five assisted, adding 1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss in the game. In total, the Colonial defense sacked Buc QBs four times in the game and racked up 13 tackles for loss.
In the first quarter, neither team found the end zone or split the uprights. West Conn began the game with the ball, turning it over on downs after moving the ball 35 yards on seven plays. Maritime took over in their own territory and moved the ball fairly easily against the Colonial defense, going 64 yards on 14 plays. But, the drive would end on a missed field goal attempt. West Conn took over and was forced to punt on a quick three-and-out. Maritime would return the favor, turning the ball over on downs to end the scoreless first quarter.
The Colonials found pay dirt early in the second quarter on a rushing score by McKinnon from nine yards out. The teams would exchange punts for the next three possessions of the period. The Colonials got the ball back with five minutes left before the break and went 38 yards in two plays to take a 14-0 lead on a James pass to Calamita for the 33-yard score. The Buccaneers for the ball back with a little more than four minutes left in the half. Though Ebdon was sacked to begin the drive, he would complete a 64 yard pass to Sheehan to get the Bucs in to the red zone, down to the West Conn two. Reynolds did the rest, scoring from two yards out to cut the lead in half, 14-7. On the ensuing Colonial possession, Johnston sacked James, forcing a fumble which was recovered by Bak deep in Colonial territory. The Bucs were unable to capitalize on the situation and the teams went to the break, Colonials leading, 14-7.
The Buccaneers deferred the decision at the beginning of the game so they took control to begin the second half. In their first possession of the half, the Bucs moved the ball a net of six yards and were forced to punt. Much like the first quarter, both teams came out of the locker room tough defensively, allowing no points in the third period of play with a total of seven punts between the teams in the third.
West Conn took over offensively with a minute left in the third, at their own 33 yard line. The Colonials were able to move the ball easily down the field, capitalizing on a facemask penalty by the Bucs and would score less than two minutes in to the final quarter on a McKinnon, one-yard run, his second score of the day, giving the Colonials a two score advantage. In each of their next possessions the teams would exchange punts. The West Conn punt pinned the Bucs deep in their own end at the 11 yard line. On the first play of the drive, Ebdon was sacked by Jordan Fletcher in the end zone for the safety, opening the Colonial lead to a 16-point, 23-7, lead. After getting the ball back, Colonial QB David James drove his team down the field but was intercepted in the end zone on a pass intended for Calamita by Hunter Leveille (Easthampton, Mass). Starting at their own 20, Teehan now in the game, the Bucs drove down the field in 13 plays and over three minutes, to score their second touchdown on a 28 yard, Teehan to Bennet connection. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful, keeping the West Conn lead at 10-points, 23-10. The Buccaneers couldn't recover the ensuing onside kick and the Colonials kneeled the ball and took the win.
With the loss, the Bucs drop to 1-5 on the year, 0-4 in the MASCAC. The Colonials improve to 6-0 overall, 4-0 in conference play.
Next up for the Buccaneers is a trip to Plymouth State next Saturday afternoon with kickoff set for 1pm.