Football's rally falls short to Lancers, 23-19

Jake McHugh

LEICESTER, Mass. --- The Becker College football team lost 23-19 to visiting Worcester State University on Saturday at Alumni Field on the campus of Becker College.

September 8, 2018
Alumni Field, Leicester, Massachusetts
Score: Worcester State 23, Becker 19
Records: Worcester State (1-1) | Becker (0-2)

Both teams struggled on offense for much of the first half. After a punt by the Lancers on the opening drive, the Hawks drove it down to the Worcester State 21 on the ensuing possession. Facing fourth-and-11, Becker junior quarterback Jake McHugh (Lynnfield, Mass. / Lynnfield) threw a deep pass for the end zone but was picked off by Worcester State senior defensive back Dominique Lee (Worcester, Mass. / Doherty) for a touchback. After the teams exchanged punts, Becker got a break when Worcester State fumbled at their own 34, and it was quickly recovered by senior linebacker Joseph Linnehan (Dedham, Mass. / Dedham) for the Hawks. But that drive ending in a missed field goal as the quarter ended without a score.

After a Worcester State drive ended with another punt, Becker sophomore quarterback Alpha Barry (Staten Island, N.Y. / Curtis) was picked off on third down by sophomore linebacker Kyle Driscoll (Spencer, Mass. / David Prouty), starting the Lancers' drive in Hawks' territory. But on the very next play, Becker junior defensive back Vincent Thron (Wantagh, N.Y. / General Douglas MacArthur) intercepted a pass, getting the offensive back on the field. After a Becker punt, Worcester State marched down the field, picking up a first-and-goal from the Becker nine. But the Hawks defense was up to the challenge, forcing the Lancers into a field goal attempt on fourth down. In the biggest play of the game up until that point, Becker freshman defensive back Materrence Holloway (Tampa, Fla. / Hillsborough) recovered a bad Worcester State snap and exploded for a 75 yard touchdown. The Hawks went up 6-0 after the missed extra point.

Trailing for the first time in the day, the Lancers needed just four plays to answer, as senior quarterback Noah Brum (Honolulu, Hawaii / Kalani) hit freshman tight end Javon Torres (Southbridge, Mass. / Worcester North) for a 14 yard touchdown completion. Worcester State went ahead 8-6 after a converted two-point attempt.

After a Becker punt, the Lancers were again driving into Hawk territory when Becker freshman defensive back Elijah Hill (Tampa, Fla. / Hillsborough) picked off Brum. After another punt by the Hawks, Worcester State ran out the clock, ending the first half with a two-point lead.

In the third quarter, the Lancers took control. Brum engineered an eight-play drive, finding senior wide receiver Cam Charette (Fairhaven, Mass. / Fairhaven) for a 15 yard touchdown completion, his second of the day. Becker was forced to punt on their ensuing drive, and Worcester State junior defensive back Bobby Panagiotopoulos (Lowell, Mass. / Lowell) blocked the kick, giving the Lancers excellent field position on Becker's 34 yard line. Six plays later, Brun passed to Charette from 19 yards out for his third touchdown pass of the day, his second to Charette as Worcester State went ahead 23-6.

Back came the Hawks as McHugh engineered an 11 play drive, punching it in himself on a rush from four yards out to pull Becker to within ten.

Worcester State would turn the ball over on downs on their ensuing drive, but McHugh was stripped of the ball on a second down rush by sophomore defensive lineman Anthony Dobronte (Brigantine, N.J. / Holy Spirit), giving the Lancers possession to end the quarter.

Just 38 seconds into the fourth quarter and with Worcester State driving, senior linebacker Michael Bianco (Manorville, N.Y. / Eastport-South Manor) picked Brum off, giving the Hawks much-needed momentum. With Barry under center, Becker went 64 yards down the field, scoring when Barry found senior wide receiver Kenneth McMurphy (Gilbert, Ariz. / Perry) with a floater for a six-yard touchdown reception with 7:41 to go. A missed extra point left Becker still trailing by four, 23-19.

On the ensuing drive, Worcester State ate up 5:19 of clock and had a first down at the Becker 11 yard line. But the Hawk defense came up strong again, forcing a field goal attempt that sailed wide right and getting the ball back with 2:13 to go. Becker was unable to move the chains, however, and turned the ball over on downs to decide the game.

• Worcester State had a 350 to 211 advantage in total offensive yards on the day.
• Worcester State senior running back Dex Andrews (Dorchester, Mass. / Brighton) rushed for a team-high 94 yards on 16 carries. Becker sophomore running back Emeka Carranza (White Plains, N.Y. / Walter Panas) led the Hawks with 39 rushing yards on 14 carries.
• Brum threw for 241 yards in the air, with three touchdowns and three interceptions.
• Bianco, the 2017 CCC Football Defensive Player of the Year, finished with a team-high nine tackles for Becker with one interception and one forced fumble.
• Highlighting the offensive struggles in the first half, both teams combined to go 2-for-16 on third down prior to halftime.
• Time of Possession: Becker (35:08), Worcester State (24:52)

The Hawks are back in action next Saturday, September 15th, when they host another crosstown rival in Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) with a scheduled 3:00 p.m. kickoff. The Lancers travel to Fitchburg State University next Saturday for a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) contest beginning at 2:00 p.m.

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