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Ground Attack Powers Golden Bears Past Nichols, 49-14

Junior quarterback Alec Coleman ran for a career-high 284 yards and four touchdowns in Western New England's 49-14 victory over Nichols on Saturday. (Photo by Chris Marion)
Junior quarterback Alec Coleman ran for a career-high 284 yards and four touchdowns in Western New England's 49-14 victory over Nichols on Saturday. (Photo by Chris Marion)

Western New England racks up season-high 548 yards on the ground

DUDLEY, Mass. (October 27, 2018) – The Western New England University football team amassed a season-high 548 rushing yards and scored 42 unanswered points in a 49-14 victory over Nichols College on Saturday afternoon in Commonwealth Coast Football action at Vendetti Field.

Top Performers
In the rainy and windy conditions, the Golden Bears elected to keep the ball on the ground as 63 of Western New England's 72 plays were rushes. Junior quarterback Alec Coleman (Arlington, Mass.) fueled the potent ground attack with 24 carries for a career-high 284 yards (11.8 avg.) and four touchdowns. Coleman also completed two passes for 15 yards and a score.

Junior running back Peter Hoff (Shelton, Conn.) topped the 100-yard mark for the second time this season with 123 yards and one touchdown on 19 attempts, while junior Byron Jones (West Hartford, Conn.) added 59 yards on two carries.

Defensively, the Golden Bears were led by freshman linebacker Joshua Salem (Dracut, Mass.), who totaled a team-high nine tackles, including 0.5 sack and a pass breakup.

Senior Matt Anastasi (Stoughton, Mass.) and junior Jake Salera (Rehoboth, Mass.) contributed eight tackles each, while senior Mike Chirco (Weedsport, N.Y.) finished with seven tackles and an interception.

Nichols senior running back Jacob Duffrene (Boston, Mass.) carried the load offensively for the Bison, as he gained 123 yards and one touchdown on 20 attempts (6.2 avg.).

Senior linebacker McCoy Scott (Bronx, N.Y.) led all players with 16 tackles (seven solo, 3.0 for loss).

Game Review
Western New England, which won the coin toss and chose to receive the opening kickoff, drove 71 yards over 13 plays for the game's first score as Coleman found the end zone on a six-yard touchdown run.

The Bison tied the contest with 4:21 remaining in the first quarter on a 35-yard touchdown scamper by Duffrene, before taking a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter when junior quarterback Michael Pina (Brockton, Mass.) connected with junior running back Jake Wood (Whitinsville, Mass.) for a six-yard score to cap a 12-play, 64-yard drive.

The Western New England defense would keep the Nichols offense off the board for the remainder of the contest, however. The Golden Bears punted on their ensuing possession, but Bison sophomore running back Xavier Hackett (Sharon, Mass.) fumbled to end Nichols' next drive at the Western New England 12-yard line. Coleman led the Golden Bears on a ten-play, 88-yard march that culminated in a nine-yard touchdown run by Hoff that tied the score 14-14 heading into halftime.

Western New England's momentum continued into the second half, as Chirco intercepted Pina on Nichols' first possession of the third quarter, and four plays later Coleman broke free for a 52-yard touchdown to give the Golden Bears the lead (21-14) for good.

Following a Nichols punt, Coleman again came up with a big play, this time rushing for a 69-yard touchdown to make it 28-14 with 8:20 left in the quarter.

Western New England extended its advantage to 21 (35-14) early in the fourth quarter, when Coleman found junior tight end Jordan Moore (Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.) for a 15-yard touchdown.

The Golden Bears tacked on a pair of late scores courtesy of another Coleman touchdown run and a Brendan Smith (Seekonk, Mass.) touchdown pass to Steven Fedorchak (Guilderland, N.Y.) to cap the scoring in the contest.

Notes
• Western New England's 548 rushing yards are just 32 shy of the program record of 580, set against Maine Maritime in 2013.
• The Golden Bears averaged 8.7 yards per rush on their 63 attempts.
• Western New England has won seven straight games since its season-opening setback at Springfield.
• The Golden Bear defense limited Nichols to just 267 yards, including 97 in the second half.

Up Next
Next Saturday, Western New England (7-1, 4-0 CCC Football) travels to Endicott for a CCC Football showdown with the Gulls, while Nichols (4-4, 2-2 CCC Football) plays Salve Regina in Newport, R.I.