Late TD foils Owls’ senior day

WESTFIELD – Fitchburg State’s Garret Dellachiaie found Ty Spencer in the end zone on a 15-yard touchdown pass with six seconds left in regulation as the Falcons rallied for a 13-7 win over Westfield State on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field.
Fitchburg State improves to 6-3 with the win, 4-2 in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletics Conference, while Westfield falls to 2-6, 1-4 in the MASCAC.
Dellachiaie drove the falcons 72 yards in a 1:07 with just one timeout available on the game winning drive. He connected for 18 yards with tight end Devin Summiel on the first play of the drive, and later scrambled out of trouble for 15 yards to help set up the winning score.
The game was an ugly, scoreless tie for the first 49:02 of the contest. The officials whistled the two teams for a combined 24 penalties for 243 yards, and the teams combined for nine fumbles (five lost) and five interceptions.

Marcus Pettigrew (8) and John Ollari (40) combine to stuff Fitchburg running back Jordan Almore. (Photo by Kiley Berube)

Marcus Pettigrew (8) and John Ollari (40) combine to stuff Fitchburg running back Jordan Almore. (Photo by Kiley Berube)

Westfield State found the scoreboard first on a 1-yard Travon Holder run that capped a seven play, 61 yard drive. The Owls got an apparent touchdown when quarterback Erik Washburn lofted a 25 yard pass to wider receiver Sam Laurin, who dove for the pylon, but was then ruled out of bounds at the 1-yard line. Westfield ran four plays from the 1-yard line, getting extra life on a Fitchburg pass interference penalty, and then on the fifth attempt Holder took a delayed handoff to the left side for the score and a 7-0 Westfield lead with 10:58 left in the fourth quarter.
Fitchburg got on the board with 6:00 left in the game, with the Falcons scoring on a 9-yard TD pass from Dellachiaie to Devin Summiel that capped a five-play 20-yard drive after the Falcons recovered an Owls fumble to set up the short field. The touchdown play was not without controversy as it came on a fourth-and-goal play and the play clock visibly expired before the ball was snapped.
Dellachiaie finished with 269 yards passing on 28-50 passing. Summiel and Spencer finished with identical receiving lines of seven catches for 81 yards and a touchdown each.
Westfield was led by 81 yards rushing from Holder on 18 carries. Washburn completed 13 of 32 passes for 171 yards.
Defensively, westfield got a standout game from senior linebacker Marcus Pettigrew, who made 15 tackles (seven solo) had four tackles-for-loss, one sack, forced one fumble and recovered two more. John Ollari finished with 14 tackles and returned an interception for 33 yards.
Luis Feliz led the Falcons with 10 tackles, while Cyrick Watford come up with 1.5 sacks.
The heartbreaking loss foiled the Owls senior day. Westfield recognized the 21 seniors and their families prior to the game.

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