Wide right, Owls hold

WSUfootballWESTFIELD – In a game that won’t go down as one of the prettiest ever played, Westfield State held off UMass Dartmouth for a 14-13 win at Cressy Field on Saturday.
Point-after-touchdown tries proved to be the story of the game, as the Owls spoiled the Corsairs homecoming.
What proved to be the winning points were scored by Westfield senior linebacker Troy Cutter (Lunenberg/Lunenberg, Mass.) on a “swinging gate” try for two points after the Owls second touchdown. Cutter plowed into the endzone to give Westfield a 14-0 lead with 2:40 left in the second quarter, the last points the Owls would score. Michael Mercadante (Minnechaug/Wilbraham, Mass.) provided the touchdown, his fifth of the season, on a nine-yard run.
The two-point try was hastened by the fact that the Owls kick attempt was blocked in the first quarter after senior QB Steve Guercio (Gardner/Gardner, Mass.) found Bobby Boire (Millbury/Millbury, Mass.) over the middle for an 11-yard scoring strike which put the Owls up 6-0 with 8:23 left in the third quarter.
Westfield’s defense did its job in keeping the Owls chances alive in the low-scoring affair, keeping the Corsairs off the scoreboard until the 6:16 mark in the fourth quarter, when Cory Burnham found Jason Ferri for a 39-yard touchdown completion to trim the Owls lead to 14-7.
After Westfield went three-and-out on the next series, UMass Dartmouth took over on their own 48-yard line with 3:56 left to play. The Corsairs moved the ball 52 yards in 12 plays, scoring on a four yard Burnham to Ferri touchdown pass to make the score 14-13 with 41 seconds left in the contest. But Richard Bellizz’ kick for the point after sailed wide right, and preserved the Owls tenuous victory.
Westfield improves to 2-1, 1-1 in the MASCAC. UMass Dartmouth falls to 1-2, 0-2 in the MASCAC.
The Corsairs gained 111 of their 305 yards of total offense in the fourth quarter. The Owls defense combined for five sacks, two from Marcus Pettigrew (Auburn/Auburn, Mass.), and 10 tackles for losses. Greg Sheridan (Burlington/Burlington, Mass.) led with eight tackles, Julon McCoy (Gardner/Gardner, Mass.) had seven.
Mercadente rushed for 72 yards on 21 tries. Guercio scrabled for 34 yards, and completed 6 of 11 passes for 83 yards and a TD. Junior running back Colby Bostek (West Boylston/West Boylston, Mass.) was the Owls leading receiver with four catches for 54 yards.
The Owls have a bye week next week, before returning to action at home on October 4, hosting Plymouth State in a key Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference game.

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