GAME #6 FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Bears Host Springfield in Key NEWMAC Game

Jon Wagner celebrates after scoring the game winner in double overtime on Saturday.
Jon Wagner celebrates after scoring the game winner in double overtime on Saturday.
SPRINGFIELD (2-3, 1-1) AT COAST GUARD (4-1, 1-1)
OCT. 12TH -- 1:30 -- CADET MEMORIAL FIELD 
COMMUNITY APPRECIATION DAY
 
ON THE AIR: A live video stream will be at www.cgasports.com
 
THE SERIES: Springfield leads 14-4 and the Pride have won six straight. The last Coast Guard win was a 26-20 overtime time win in 1999.
 
LAST YEAR: Springfield quarterback Hunter Belzo ran for 207 yards and two touchdowns and also threw a touchdown pass leading Springfield to a 26-12 win over Coast Guard in the battle of New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) unbeatens.
 
Belzo carried 31 times for 207 yards and was 2 of 5 for 39 yards and a touchdown as he finished with 352 yards of total offense, 313 rushing and 39 passing.
 
Coast Guard had 305 total yards, 210 passing and 95 on the ground. Sophomore Chris Gardner led the Bears with 15 carries for 93 yards. Junior quarterback Ryan Jones was 8 of 18 for 111 yards .
 
Justin Moffatt, who led the NEWMAC in receptions and yards, had a game-high seven receptions for 76 yards. He went over the 1,000 receiving yard mark for his career.
 
Coast Guard went three-and-out on the opening possession and Andrew Papiro returned a punt 73 yards to give the Pride a 7-0 lead with 12:45 left in the first quarter. It would be the first of two big special teams plays for the Pride in the first half.
 
The Bears would get on the board on a 43-yard field goal by senior Cole Austin with 2:25 left in the first quarter to cut the lead to 7-3.
 
The second big special teams play of the half came when Springfield's Ryan McCarthy would return the kickoff 70 yards to the Bear 26 and the Pride needed just one play to score as Belzo threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Deguire to make the score 13-3 with 2:08 left in the opening quarter.
 
Coast Guard senior Chip Crowley would block the extra point and junior Michael Goldsworthy would return it 98 yards for two points to make the score 13-5.
 
The Bears had 92 total yards in the first quarter while Springfield, which had the ball for just 5:39 had 63 total yards, but the two key special teams returns were the key in opening quarter.
 
Belzo had a 1-yard touchdown run with 9:27 left in the first half to cap a six play, 69 yard drive to push the lead to 20-5.
 
The Pride had 165 total yards in the first half, 126 rushing while the Bears had 135 first half yards, 110 of those in the air.
 
Sophomore Chris Gardner's 2-yard run with 9:43 left in the third quarter cut the deficit to 20-12. The big play in the drive was a 54-yard pass from Jones to junior Liam Middleton down to the 2-yard line.
 
The Coast Guard defense would force a punt and then an interception on a trick play gave the Ball back to the Pride at their own 10 with 4:05 left in the quarter.
 
The Bears defense would again step up and force a punt and the Bears drove to the Pride 26, but turned it over on downs with 12:07 left.
 
The Pride would miss a 42-yard field goal attempt with 8:16 left keeping it a one score game, but Jones was sacked and fumbled at the Bear 8 yard line and Belzo closed the scoring with a 6-yard touchdown run with 7:23 left in the game.
 
Senior linebacker Jake Behne led the Bears with 11 tackles while senior defensive tackle Nate Harvey finished with 10 tackles.
 
LAST WEEK: Jon Wagner's 12 yard touchdown run in double overtime set off a wild celebration on Homecoming Weekend lifting Coast Guard to a 20-14 win over Catholic in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) game.
 
Coast Guard finished with 324 yards of total offense, 211 in the air, while Catholic had 403 yards in the game, 223 passing. The Bears were held to 119 yards in the second half.
 
Catholic, which trailed 14-0, scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to force the overtime tying the game on a two-point conversion with 1:13 left in regulation.
 
Coast Guard had the first possession in overtime and Patrick Crowley missed a 35-yard field goal. The Cardinals had a 19-yard field goal attempt to win the game on, but a bad snap would force a second overtime. The Coast Guard defense would get the important stop to start the second overtime and freshman Jared Colletti blocked a 38-yard field goal. Wagner would score the game winner on a 2nd and eight.
 
Wagner led the Bears with 15 carries and 63 yards while Justin Moffatt tied a career-high with 11 receptions for a season-high 93 yards. Ryan Jones was 24 of 39 for 211 yards with one touchdown and the one interception on the hail mary at the end of regulation.
 
Brady Berger was 35 of 52 for 223 yards with a touchdown for Catholic while Bryan Melara had 217 yards of total offense as he led the way on the ground with 30 carries for 143 yards and had a team-high 11 receptions for 74 yards in the loss.
 
Springfield rushed for 404 yards and had the ball on offense for over 45 minutes as it came from behind to beat Norwich 21-17 after trailing 17-7 late in the third quarter. The story of the game was Springfield's offensive line, which allowed the Pride to possess the ball for 45:09 and run 85 offensive plays, including 82 rushing attempts. Quarterback Chad Shade rushed for 169 yards and a score on 31 carries, while fullback Tim Callahan had140 yards and a score on 27 attempts. 
 
COACH GEORGE IS BEARS WINS LEADER: Coast Guard head coach Bill George, in his 21st season, has a record 74 career wins as head coach at the Academy as he passed John Merriman for the most in program history in the win over Maine Maritime on Oct. 19th, 2013.
 
Merriman was the coach from (1930-1945) and the Gymnasium is named is his honor. In 2012, George passed NFL Hall of Famer and former Director of Athletics and head football coach Otto Graham, who had 43 wins in his two stints as head coach (1959-'65 and 1974-'75). Coach George led the Bears to a pair of NEFC Bogan Division championships in 2006 and 2007.
 
BEARS PICKED 5TH IN NEWMAC PRESEASON POLL: Coast Guard has been picked to finish fifth in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) preseason poll. Coast Guard was 7-3 overall and 5-2 in conference play. 
 
2019 NEWMAC FOOTBALL PRESEASON COACHES' POLL
1.   Springfield (6) 
2.   MIT (2) 
T3. WPI 
T3. Merchant Marine
5.   Coast Guard
6.   Norwich 
7.   Catholic 
8.   Maine Maritime
 
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Coast Guard plays its third straight home game after opening the season with three straight road games. The Bears were 4-1 at home last season and 2-0 this season. 
 
CLOSE SHAVES: For just the second time in the 96 year history of Coast Guard football the Bears have played five straight games decided by 10 points or less, three of those decided on the last play of regulation or overtime, to open the season. The only other time this happened was in 1975 when the Bears also opened 4-1 and finished 8-2.
 
The Bears have played a pair of overtime games in the same season for just the second time as the team also accomplished that feat in 1997 with wins over RPI (22-16) and Springfield (26-20) en route to winning a school record nine games, winning the Freedom Football Conference Championship and earning a berth to the NCAA playoffs.
 
MR. OVERTIME: Jon Wagner's 12-yard touchdown run in double overtime was his second game winning touchdown in overtime this season. He had a 20-yard touchdown run in a 24-23 overtime win at Nichols on Sept. 13th.
 
QUICK START: The Bears are off to a 4-1 start for the second straight season after not starting 4-1 since 2007. The last time Coast Guard started 5-1 was in 2007 when the team went 8-2 and won the NEFC Bogan Division Championship.
 
Coast Guard has also got off to fast starts in each game as the Bears have outscored opponents 75-27 in the first half this season including 51-13 in the second quarter. However, the Bears have been outscored 45-14 in the third and fourth quarters including 38-0 in the fourth.
 
BIZER EARNS NEWMAC WEEKLY HONOR: Junior linebacker Eugene Bizer was named the NEWMAC Co-Defensive Player of the Week. He had a career-high 16 tackles and 2.5 for loss to lead the Coast Guard defense as the Bears held off Catholic 20-14 in double overtime on Homecoming Weekend. Bizer wins the NEWMAC Defensive Player of the Week award for the second time this season.
 
SCOUTING COAST GUARD: The Bears play at home for the third straight week in a pivotal NEWMAC matchup on Community Appreciation Day.
 
Senior quarterback Ryan Jones is 80 of 155 for 826 yards with five touchdowns and five interceptions. Junior Justin Moffatt has a team-high 29 receptions for 219 yards and a touchdown while sophomore Damaso Jaime has 15 receptions for a team-high 280 yards and all four receiving touchdowns.
 
Juniors Jon Wagner and Chris Gardner are the Bears one-two punch in the backfield. Wagner leads the way with 279 yards (53 carries) and four touchdowns while Gardner has 49 carries for 141 yards. Jones has 38 carries for 101 yards and a touchdown.
 
The Bears have scored 75 points in the first half, 14 in the third quarter and none in the fourth quarter this season. Coast Guard is averaging 20.4 points and 272.4 yards per game (107.2 rushing and 165.2 passing).
 
The Coast Guard defense is allowing just 15.6 points and 339.4 yards per game this season, 265 passing and 74.4 yards per game on the ground. The Bears lead the NEWMAC with 11 takeaways this season, seven interceptions and four fumbles. Coast Guard is plus six in turnovers this season to lead the conference.
 
The Bears pass rush has been outstanding registering a NEWMAC best 21 sacks this season, the 4.2 sacks per game are 10th in Division III. Senior linebacker R.J. Robiskie (30 tackles) leads the NEWMAC and is 7th nationally with seven sacks while junior defensive lineman Philip Orlando (38 tackles) is second in the conference with six sacks. Senior defensive Colby LaDuque and junior linebacker Zach Lukasik each have 3.5 sacks on the season
 
Junior linebacker Eugene Bizer leads the NEWMAC with 54 tackles. He has seven tackles for loss, a sack with two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Senior cornerback Patrick Crowley leads the NEWMAC and is 11th nationally with four interceptions.
 
SCOUTING SPRINGFIELD: The Pride's triple-option attack is averaging 322.4 rushing yards and 19.4 points per game led by senior quaterback Chad Shade's 432 yards and four touchdowns along with sophomore fullback Pat Ladas (291 yards) and junior fullback Tim Callahan (284 yards, 2 touchdowns).
 
Springfield has run 339 plays, this season, running 309 times and throwing just 30 passes. Schade is 5 of 22 passing for 71 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. The Pride have 91 passing yards this season.
 
Junior linebacker AJ Smith leads the defense with 36 tackles, six tackles for loss and two interceptions. The Pride defense is allowing 25.2 points and 342.2 yards per game, 234.8 passing and 107.4 on the ground.
 
UP NEXT: Coast Guard travels to Maine Maritime on Sept. 19th for a noon kickoff.
 
LAST WEEK'S NEWMAC GAMES
SATURDAY, OCT. 5TH
Merchant Marine 35, MIT 29 (2 OT)
Springfield 21, Norwich 17
WPI 51, Maine Maritime 20
Coast Guard 20, Catholic 14 (2 OT) 
 
THIS WEEK'S NEWMAC GAMES
SATURDAY, OCT. 12TH
Maine Maritime at MIT, noon
Merchant Marine at Norwich, 1:00
Springfield at Coast Guard, 1:30