Bears Hold off UNE in Season Opener

Jon Wagner
Jon Wagner

BIDDEFORD, Maine – Coast Guard scored in all phases of the game, offense, defense and special teams to grind out a season-opening 27-17 win over the University of New England.

The Nor'easters had more yards than Coast Guard 324-234, but it was Coast Guard which won its fifth straight season opener.

Jon Wagner (9 carries, 68 yards, TD) and Chris Gardner (13 carries, 59 yards) combined for 127 yards to lead the Bears ground attack while Ryan Jones was 11 of 21 for 63 yards with an interception. Justin Moffatt led the Bears with six receptions for 23 yards.

Eugene Bizer led the Bears with 10 tackles in the win. The Coast Guard defense had seven sacks in with Philip Orlando leading way with 2.5 while Colby LaDuque added two sacks. Patrick Crowley added nine tackles and an interception.

Bizer had the big play in the second half when he intercepted a tipped pass by R.J. Robiskie and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown with 42 seconds left in the third quarter as Coast Guard took control leading 27-10. It was his first career interception.

Liam Middleton's 58 yard punt backed the Nor'easters to their own five to start the drive as both offenses struggled in the third quarter. Coast Guard had 46 yards in the third quarter while UNE totaled 44 third quarter yards.

UNE responded by going 62 yards in eight plays and Devon Charles scored on a 1-yard touchdown with 12:46 left in the game to make the score 27-17.

Coast Guard was backed up on its own 25 and faced third and 18 when Chris Gardner scampered 19 yards  with just over four minutes left to help the Bears ice the game.

Peter was 32 of 45 for 278 yards with one touchdown and a pair of interceptions for UNE.

UNE got on the board when Brian Peters threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Cobey Johnson with 7:48 left in the first quarter and the extra point gave the Nor'easters a 7-0 lead.  They converted a fourth down and seven from the 19 to keep the drive alive.

Coast Guard would pull even on a 14-yard touchdown run by Wagner and Crowley's extra point with 49 seconds left in the first quarter to cap a 15 play, 73 yard drive. The Bears converted a fourth and inches from the UNE 48 to keep the drive alive on a two-yard run by Gardner.

UNE had 85 yards in the first quarter, 80 of those in the air while the Bears had 70 first quarter yards, 49 on the ground.

Michael Goldsworthy, who got a piece of the first punt of the day, blocked the second one and Mark Wicke returned it 45 yards for a touchdown with 12:43 left in the half. The extra point was blocked and the Bears led 13-7.

Crowley would intercept Peters on the next UNE drive and Coast Guard would march 65 yard in eight plays capped on an 11-yard touchdown run on a reverse by Moffatt with 8:47 left in the half following the PAT Coast Guard led 20-7.

The Nor'easters would convert a fourth and inches once again, this time on their own side of the field, on the next drive and that would lead to a 30-yard field goal by Kevin Heintz with 3:07 left to cut the deficit to 20-10 at halftime.

UNE had 208 yards in the first half, 166 of those passing while the Bears had 139 total yards in the opening half, 78 of those on the ground.

The Bears are back in action on Friday night at Nichols with kickoff set for 7:00.

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