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Football Preview: MASCAC Top Spot up for Grabs on Saturday in Danbury

Football Preview: MASCAC Top Spot up for Grabs on Saturday in Danbury

BUZZARDS BAY, Mass – The Buccaneers are on the road at Western Connecticut to take on the Colonials in a MASCAC contest on Saturday, October 12th at 5pm at the Westside Athletic Complex in Danbury, Conn. With both teams coming in unbeaten, the top spot in the conference is up for grabs at the midway point of the season.

Mass Maritime comes in to this weekend's game 4-0, 2-0 in the MASCAC. The Bucs have beaten SUNY Maritime in the 12th Annual Chowder Bowl, Maine Maritime, Westfield State and Worcester State, on homecoming weekend, in route to their best start since 1999. In those four games Maritime has outscored their opponents 132-55, 59-20 in their two conference wins. West Conn enters with an identical 4-0 record, 2-0 in the MASCAC having beaten William Patterson, 12-9, and Dean College, 41-16, out of conference and Bridgewater State, 42-33, and Worcester State, 42-28, in conference play.

All-time, the Buccaneers are 6-7 against the Colonials. In their 2018 meeting at Clean Harbors Stadium, West Conn broke the series tie with a 23-13 win. This year, the Buccaneers travel in to Colonial Country on homecoming weekend for West Conn.

Last week, the Buccaneers beat Worcester for the second consecutive year at home by a final of 28-13. The 28 points scored by the Bucs are the lowest point total of the season thus far for the Bucs. At the half, the game was tied at 7-7, but in the second half Maritime outscored their guests 21-6. Quarterback Matt Long (Weymouth, Mass) totaled 245 yards through the air and on the ground while scoring three touchdowns. The defense was the catalyst in the win over the Lancers as the unit racked up 11 sacks as a team, three apiece from reigning MASCAC Defensive Player of the Week Colin McCabe (Dartmouth, Mass) and Kyle Johnston (Raynham, Mass). McCabe also recovered two fumbles, one for a touchdown while Johnston forced two fumbles. Big defensive plays were aplenty for the Academy against Worcester. To save a touchdown on a long pass play, Kyle Rogers (Abington, Mass) forced a fumble which was recovered by Austin Stahmer (Wareham, Mass). The Buccaneers allowed 405 yards of passing but just 15 rush yards in the win. Kicker George Lampros (Bridgewater, Mass) remained perfect on point after tries going 4-for-4 in the game and was named MASCAC Special Teams Player of the Week.

West Conn enjoyed a week of last week as they took their Bye Week after beating Worcester 42-28 in Worcester. The now 4-0 Colonials trailed the Lancers, 21-0, in the second quarter of that game and went to the half down 21-7. In the second half, West Conn outscored the Lancers 35-7, to win in comeback fashion, 42-28. Colonial quarterback, David James, completed 23 of 38 attempts in the game for 370 yards and four touchdowns, two of which were reeled in by wide receiver Will Daniels. Daniels caught six passes for 157 yards and the two scores. Running back Roy Penn-Conscentino ran the ball 16 times for 49 yards and a score. In total, West Conn totaled 446 offensive yards. West Conn ball carries fumbles four times, losing possession on three occasions. On defense they allowed 308 yards to the Lancers, 246 passing, 62 on the ground. Colonial defenders tallied four sacks and intercepted two passes in the game. Brian Tucker was responsible for two of the four sacks.

The Buccaneer offense is led in most categories by senior quarterback Matt Long (Weymouth, Mass). Long has completed 34 passes for 437 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. On the ground, Long has gained 487 yards from scrimmage on 75 attempts, scoring 12 times. Averaging 121.8 yards, Long is tops in the conference in yards per game. He has scored three touchdowns on the ground in each of the first four games on the season. Sophomore running back Conner Reynolds (Norton, Mass) has 55 touches on the season for 223 yards and a score which came in week two against SUNY Maritime. Senior wide out Will Bennett (Sandwich, Mass) has been key to the Maritime passing game, catching nine passes for 200 yards. Senior wide out Ryan McNally (Sandwich, Mass) and junior tight end Cam Witman (Bridgewater, Mass) have caught Long's two touchdown passes this season.

On defense for the Bucs, junior linebacker Jack Fontana (Grafton, Mass) leads the team with 48 total tackles, 12 per game, tops in the conference. He is also responsible for 2.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss. Junior Colin McCabe (Dartmouth, Mass) leads the defense with seven sacks, a career high for McCabe and is tops in the conference. Senior defensive end Kyle Johnston (Raynham, Mass) isn't far behind with five sacks of his own, third best in the MASCAC. Leading the conference in interceptions is Buc defensive back Austin Stahmer (Wareham, Mass) with four

Kicker/Punter George Lampros (Bridgewater, Mass) has converted all of his extra point attempts in 2019 and has made both of his field goals thus far. In the punt game, Lampros has booted the ball 14 times for 590 yards. With a long of 62 yards, he is averaging 42.1 yards per game. He has pinned opponents inside the 20 yard line four times. Long has also handled some of the punting duties also punting 14 times for 536 yards for an average of 38-3 yards per attempt. He pinned the opponent inside their own 20-yard line on six occasions. In the kick return game, the Buccaneers are averaging 26.9 yards per return. Freshman Ja'iel Johnson (Dodge City, Kansas) has returned six kicks for 163 yards to lead Maritime in the category. Bennett serves as the team's punt returner and has returned seven punts for 53 yards in four games.

Heading in to the game against West Conn, Maritime is currently tied for 18th in the nation in turnover margin at +1.75 per game. The Bucs are 14th in all of Division III football in terms of kickoff return yards, averaging 26.89 per return. Their highest nationally ranked stat is in the fewest penalties per game category where they rank sixth averaging just 3.25 penalties against per game. The Buc defense is tied for 14th in the country in red zone defense, allowing opponents to score on just 50% of their red zone attempts. They are also tied for 38th in the country in terms of third down conversion efficiency on defense, allowing teams to convert on third down 29.5% of the time.

A pass heavy team, West Conn's quarterback David James has thrown for 1,092 yards this season for 13 touchdowns and four interceptions. He has completed just 56.6% of his passes, 69-for-122, in four games. Running back Roy Penn-Conscentino leads the Colonials on the ground with 191 yards and one touchdown on 42 attempts. James and wide receiver Devon Smith are responsible for four other rushing touchdowns for West Conn on the year. Though he spreads the ball around, James favors wide receiver Will Daniels who has caught 24 passes for 492 yards and a team and conference leading six touchdowns. Wide out Nick Kimball is tied for second in the MASCAC with four receiving touchdowns on 10 catches for 156 yards. To go along with his two rushing scores, Smith has also caught two touchdown passes and has gained 155 yards on 12 catches.

On defense, linebacker Vincent Scancarello leads the team with 28 tackles, including 3.5 for loss. He has also forced and recovered a fumble. Defensive lineman Jordan Fletcher, second on the team in tacked with 27, leads the team with 5.5 sacks, eight tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Five different players have recorded interceptions for the Colonials on the year.

Kicker Jordan D'Onofrio has converted all 16 of his extra point attempts in 2019 while making two of three field goal attempts with a long of 42 yards. Also serving as the punter, D'Onofrio has 18 attempts for 678 yards for an average of 37.7 yards per punt. He has a long punt of 58 yards, pinning opponents inside their own 20-yard line five times. In the return game, Jahzaari Mullings has gained 201 yards on eight returns, averaging 25.1 yards per return. As a team, West Conn averages 20.6 yards per kickoff return.

West Conn currently ranks 32nd in the nation in team passing efficiency with a rating of 160.35. They are 85th in total offense with 385.5 yards per game.

Saturday's game will be streamed live by Western Connecticut and live statistics will be available. Head to mmabucs.com to find the links for both.

Following their trip to West Conn, the Buccaneers will be home on October 19th to take on Fitchburg State at 12pm.

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