NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Senior Cam Cecchini took a screen pass from junior Ethan Goldcamp and scampered 73 yards for a touchdown leading Coast Guard to 13-9 victory over Norwich to win The Mug in the inaugural New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) game for both teams.
Coast Guard improve to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the conference while Norwich drops to 0-4, 0-1. It was the first meeting between the teams since the 2005 season. Coast Guard is off to a 3-1 start for the first time in 10 years and just the fourth time since 1991.
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Cecchini caught a screen pass from Goldcamp on 3rd-and-five with Norwich blitzing and went 73 yards for a touchdown breaking a 6-6 tie with 12:23 left and following the extra point the Bears took their first lead of the game 13-6.
Cam Cecchini goes 73 yards for the only TD of the game
Coast Guard freshman Ryan Jones came in at quarterback on the Bears next possession and was intercepted on a tipped ball at the Bears 28 yard line by Joseph Torchia. Norwich kicked a 32-yard field goal with 5:34 left cutting the deficit to 13-9. Norwich had a 1st and goal from the 7, but the Bears defense had back-to-back tackles for loss to keep them from finding the end zone.
The Norwich defense forced Coast Guard to punt and they took over on their own 44-yard line with 2:59 left.
The Bears defense stopped them on four plays and took over at their own 49 with 2:39 left and Norwich having no timeouts left.
Cecchini carried twice to get a first down and ice the game.
Coast Guard finished with 275 yards of total offense, 203 passing while Norwich had 330 total yards, 178 of those on the ground.
Goldcamp left in the fourth quarter with dizziness. He was 16 of 33 for 203 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Sophomore tight end Liam Middleton led the Bears with six receptions for 64 yards.
Freshman Chris Gardner in his real action of the season led the Bears with 46 yards rushing on ten carries while Cecchini had 15 carries for 32 yards.
Sophomore safety Mike Goldsworthy had 12 tackles, seven solo to lead the Bears while junior linebacker Jake Behne and sophomore linebacker Mark Wicke each finished with 11 tackles.
Freshman Clyde Tamburro's 45-yard field goal with 4:11 left in the first quarter gave Norwich a 3-0 lead. It capped a 14 play, 55 yard drive for the Cadets, who converted on 4th-and-1 from the Coast Guard 36 on the drive.
Coast Guard was held to just 30 yards of total offense on three possessions in the first quarter and did not register a first down. The Cadets had 98 first quarter yards.
Norwich sophomore Steve Cuqua had a 52-yard run down to the 1-yard line, but sophomore linebacker Kane Alletzhauser had a touchdown saving tackle at the one. The Coast Guard defense came up with a big stop and Norwich settled for a 27-yard field goal with 12:31 left in the half for a 6-0 lead.
Senior Matt O'Donnell came up with a huge interception on the Cadets next possession and he returned it 24 yards down to the Norwich 13, but the Bears would fumble the ball away.
Coast Guard got outstanding field position on its next possession, starting at midfield and the Bears picked up their first first down of the game on an 11-yard pass to sophomore tight end Liam Middleton down to the Norwich 38-yard line with 4:13 left in the first half. However, junior Bo Phillips intercepted Goldcamp at the 10-yard line on the next play.
Norwich had 190 total yards in the first half holding the Bears to just 52 total first half yards and just two first downs. Goldcamp was 5 of 17 for 23 yards with two interceptions in the first half.
The opening half saw each team punt five times with Coast Guard turning it over three times and Norwich once.
The Bears took the opening kickoff of the second half marched all the way to the Norwich 6 and settled for a 23 yard field goal by junior Cole Austin cutting the deficit to 6-3 with 10:52 left in the third quarter.
Following a Norwich punt, the Bears had another nice drive (10 plays, 58 yards) and tied the game 6-6 on a 33-yard field goal by Austin with 4:21 left in the third. Goldcamp was 10 of 14 for 103 yards on the first two drives of the second half. The Bears had 132 yards on their two third quarter drives.
Norwich would miss a 37-yard field goal attempt with 13:13 left in the game on its next possession and the game remained tied.
The Bears will host Catholic on Parents' Weekend on Sept. 30th with kickoff set for 1:30.
POST GAME INTERVIEW WITH HEAD COACH BILL GEORGE