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Presidents’ Cup Remains in Springfield as Golden Bears Take Care of Owls, 31-23

Photo by Bryan Hewitt
Photo by Bryan Hewitt

Western New England wins fifth straight against Westfield State

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (September 8, 2018) – The Western New England University football team continued its recent stretch of dominance against Pioneer Valley rival Westfield State University with a 31-23 victory over the Owls on Saturday afternoon in the 30th Presidents' Cup Game at Golden Bear Stadium.

Top Performers
Junior quarterback Alec Coleman (Arlington, Mass.) led five scoring drives, as he went 18-of-27 through the air for 179 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.

Junior running back Peter Hoff (Shelton, Conn.) carried the ball 15 times for 56 yards and one score, while junior tight end Jordan Moore (Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.) caught four passes for 65 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, senior linebackers Kurtis Jolicoeur (Windham, N.H.) and Mike Chirco (Weedsport, N.Y.) led the way for the Golden Bears. Jolicoeur totaled 11 tackles and blocked an extra point, while Chirco finished with ten stops, including two sacks, to go with a forced fumble. Junior cornerback Tommy Ganley (Delmar, N.Y.) also had a big day with a pair of interceptions and a pass breakup.

Westfield State's offense was fueled by senior running back Travon Holder (Hartford, Conn.), who churned out a 101-yard effort on 19 carries (5.3 avg.) and found the end zone twice.

Senior linebacker Andrew Carpenter (Auburn, Mass.) paced the Owls' defense with a team-high 11 tackles, while sophomore cornerback Brian Short (Marlborough, Mass.) recorded eight stops and a pass breakup.

Game Review
The Golden Bears won the field position battle early, and used their advantage to put the game's first points on the board midway through the opening quarter. After Western New England's first drive stalled at the Westfield State 40 yard line, senior Vinny Lalumia's (Maywood, N.J.) punt was downed at the WSU 1.

Pinned deep in their own territory, the Owls picked up 11 yards before they were forced to punt from their own 12-yard line. Three plays later, Coleman found Moore for a 15-yard touchdown to cap the short three play, 28-yard drive.

The Western New England defense forced a punt on Westfield State's next possession, and the Golden Bears increased their lead to 14-0 with 3:23 left in the opening frame on a one-yard pass from Coleman to sophomore running back Deandre Russell (Bridgeport, Conn.).

Westfield State answered on its next possession with a ten-play, 69-yard drive that lasted five and a half minutes and culminated in a 23-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Jake Cassidy (Swampscott, Mass.) to freshman receiver Justin McCray (East Hartford, Conn.). Jolicoeur blocked the ensuing extra point, however, as the Owls pulled to within eight (14-6).

After Western New England's next possession ended in a fumble, Cassidy led Westfield State on a 76-yard scoring drive that ended in a Holder five-yard touchdown run. The Owls were thwarted on their two-point conversion attempt as Cassidy was stopped short.

Leading 14-12, the Golden Bears came away with points on their next two possessions to open up a 24-12 advantage at halftime. Hoff punched in a one-yard touchdown with 6:45 left in the half, before junior Kieran Lombard (Dover, N.H.) converted a 42-yard field goal with 2:13 to play.

Western New England received the opening kickoff of the second half and proceeded to march 65 yards down the field for another score to open up a 31-12 lead. The Golden Bears benefitted from a pair of Westfield State penalties, and Coleman finished the job with a two-yard pass to freshman receiver AJ Hall (Norwalk, Conn.).

Westfield State's next three drives ended in a punt, an interception, and a lost fumble, respectively, as the Golden Bear defense clamped down. The Owls were able to chip away at their deficit with a pair of fourth quarter scores, but Ganley ended their comeback hopes late with his second pick of the contest.

Notes
• Western New England has now won five straight games against Westfield State, and the Golden Bears lead the all-time series 16-14.
• The Owls outgained the Golden Bears 368-348, including 212-134 on the ground.

Up Next
Western New England (1-1) travels to Bangor, Maine next Saturday for a matchup with Husson University, while Westfield State (1-1) hosts UMass Dartmouth on Friday night.