Bears Suffer First NEFC Loss of Season
MILTON, Mass.—Junior fullback Jordan Shairs rushed for 161 yards and a score and also caught a touchdown pass leading Curry to a 27-24 win over Coast Guard in a New England Football Conference (NEFC) game.
Coast Guard junior Jake Wawrzyniak's 2-yard touchdown run with 2:37 left pulled the Bears to within 27-24, but Curry recovered the onsides kick and senior Phil Bigelow (23 carries, 69 yards) converted a 4th and 1 with 2:10 left at the Bears 23-yard line to run the clock out.
The Bears had their two-game win streak snapped and suffered their first conference loss of the season dropping to 2-4 overall and 2-1 in conference play while Curry improved to 2-3 overall and 1-2 in the NEFC.
It was Coast Guard's third road game of the season, all three have been loses by seven points or less.
"This team has some character and toughness," said Coast Guard head coach Bill George. "We have lost some people on defense, but they continue to battle. I thought the defense was excellent and the offense played excellent at times as well. We are playing good teams. This was not a slouch team, this was a very good football team and in the end they won."
Curry had 395 total yards while rushing for 275 yards and controlling the time of possession, as the Colonels had the ball for 37:18 of the games 60 minutes.
Coast Guard finished with 273 total yards, just 38 rushing. Freshman quarterback Derek Victory was 28 of 50 for 235 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Senior Nick Fredericksen had 10 receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown while junior Collis Brown had eight catches for 49 yards to lead the Bears. Wawrzyniak led the Bears on the ground with 11 carries for 43 yards and a touchdown.
Curry, which led 13-3 at halftime, tried to catch Coast Guard sleeping with an onsides kick to start the second half, but the kick went out of bounds. The Bears offense took advantage of the short field and drove 48 yards as freshman quarterback Derek Victory threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to senior Nick Fredericksen with 11:58 left to cut the deficit to 13-10 with 11:58 left in the third quarter.
The Colonels responded as Shairs went 59 yards for a touchdown to cap a 90-yard drive to answer the Coast Guard touchdown and increase the lead to 20-10 with 7:17 left in the third quarter.
Senior Blake Thompson then caught his first touchdown of the season, an 8-yard touchdown pass from Victory, to cap a 70-yard drive as the Bears pulled to within 20-17 with 4:01 left in the third quarter. Victory hit Thompson for the final three passes of the driving including a key 38-yard completion that put the Bears in the red zone.
Following an exchange of punts, Curry added to its lead going 74 yards with Bigelow scoring on 4th and goal from the 2-yard line for a 27-17 lead with 8:07 left in the game. Earlier in the drive, Fruwirth converted a key 4th and 1 with a two-yard run to the Bears 15 yard line to keep the drive alive.
Victory was intercepted on the next play, but the Bears defense got a stop and forced a punt. Coast Guard aided by a roughing the passer call, which negated another interception, drove 65 yards and junior Jake Wawrzyiak's two-yard run on 4th and goal from the 2-yard line made the score 27-24 with 2:37 left.
Senior Kevin Fruwirth (15 of 24, 120 yards, 2 TD) threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to classmate Tyran Harrigan to cap a 13 play, 76-yard drive on the opening possession of the game. The extra point was no good and Curry led 6-0 with 7:50 left in the opening quarter.
The Bears defense came up big on the next possession as Curry had great field position after Coast Guard sophomore punter Tyler Henning was picking up a bad snap when his knee hit the ground giving Curry the ball at the Bears 37-yard line, but the defense got the ball back on downs.
Victory was intercepted on the next possession, but a roughing the passer call negated the turnover, but again the Bears were forced to punt.
The Bears special teams came up big on the punt as sophomore Mark Behne recovered a fumbled punt at the Curry 26-yard line and this time the Bears took advantage of the miscue as Henning booted a 26-yard field goal with 14:46 left in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 6-3.
Curry junior Tim Crowley missed a 31-yard field goal with 1:57 left, but the Colonels defense got the ball back and Fruwirth threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Shairs with 11 seconds left to cap a short 46-yard drive. The Colonels led 13-3 following the extra point to close the first half scoring.
The Colonels dominated time of possession in the first half as they had the ball for 19:44 while the Bears had the ball for just 10:16. Curry had 216 yards of total offense in the first half, 121 of those on the ground while Coast Guard was held to just 106 yards in the first half, just eight yards rushing on nine carries.
Junior defensive end Aaron Black and sophomore linebacker Cory Sonnega, making his first collegiate start, each had ten tackles to lead the Bears defense.
Coast Guard returns home next Saturday to host Maine Maritime on Homecoming Weekend with kickoff set for 1:30 p.m.