Mistakes Costly as Bentley Holds Off Stonehill, 17-7

Senior Jareed Gaines posted a game-high 12 tackles, moving into seventh place on Stonehill's career list. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Five turnovers limit Skyhawks chances to dig out of early hole

WALTHAM, Mass. (September 28, 2012) – Bentley University took an early 10-0 lead and withstood a comeback effort from Stonehill College to claim a 17-7 victory in Northeast-10 Conference football action at Bentley Field tonight.

Stonehill turned the ball over five times with two interceptions and three fumbles (to go with two other fumbles it didn't lose) that limited the Skyhawks chances in digging out of the early 10-0 hole. Bentley posted 253 yards of total offense, with 144 on the ground and 109 passing, finishing with 36:41 time of possession. Stonehill totaled 230 yards of offense, with 156 through the air and 74 on the ground, while giving back 85 yards on nine penalties.

Junior Blaine Hopwood (New Bedford, Mass./New Bedford) led the Bentley defense with ten tackles (six solo), including 0.5 for a loss of a yard and a forced fumble. Senior Steve Hopkins (Waltham, Mass./Waltham) added eight stops (three solo), a fumble recovery and pass breakup.

Junior Lorenzo Warren (Boston, Mass./Catholic Memorial) led Bentley's three-headed rushing attack with 14 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown. Senior Bobby Tarr (Byfield, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) added 17 rushes for 48 yards, while classmate Jack Pizzotti (Melrose, Mass./Melrose) chipped in five carries for 28 yards and a key fourth quarter score.

Junior Danny Guadagnoli (Framingham, Mass./Framingham) was 10-for-18 passing for 109 yards and two interceptions. Sophomore Jeff Hill (Mansfield, Mass./Mansfield) caught the ball three times for 47 yards.

Junior Justin Willis scored the Skyhawks lone touchdown with a six yard rush in the second quarter. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Senior preseason All-American Jareed Gaines (Lumberton, N.J./Rancocas Valley) led a strong defensive effort from Stonehill with a game-high 12 tackles (five solo), including 1.5 for a loss of three yards. He was able to move into seventh place on Stonehill's career tackles list with 266 and fifth for career tackles for loss at 34.0.

Sophomore Michael Hogan (Westborough, Mass./St. John's of Shrewsbury) added 11 tackles (four solo), including 0.5 for a loss of a yard, while senior Mickey Miela (Foothill Ranch, Calif./Trabuco Hills) finished with an interception and fumble recovery, while totaling three tackles (two solo). The interception is the ninth for Miela in his career, moving him into a tie for sixth in program history.

Junior Justin Willis (East Haven, Conn./Notre Dame) rushed the ball 13 times for 50 yards and the lone touchdown for Stonehill. Senior John Gomes (Hyannis, Mass./Barnstable) had three receptions for 46 yards to become just the second 2,000 yard receiver in program history, finishing with 2,021 career yards – 221 yards behind the career record of 2,245 set by Dan Cahill from 1992-95.

Junior Logan Meyer (Ventura, Calif./Saint Bonaventure) completed 10-of-29 passes for 137 yards and an interception. Classmate Jesse Hunt (Winchendon, Mass./Oakmont Regional) engineered the Skyhawks touchdown drive and finished 2-for-6 for 19 yards, adding two carries for nine yards.

Bentley got on the scoreboard midway through the first quarter after senior Don Hopkins (Waltham, Mass./Waltham) intercepted Meyer at midfield on the Skyhawks second offensive play of the game. The Falcons drove to the Stonehill 15, but the drive stalled and they were forced to settle for a 39 yard field goal from senior Will Lockwood (Menlo Park, Calif./Sacred Heart Prep) after Guadagnoli was sacked for a loss of eight by Stonehill seniors Fabrice Dragon (Stoughton, Mass./Cardinal Spellman) and Ed Gaffney (Stonington, Conn./Stonington) on third and goal from the nine. Despite the field goal, the Falcons were able to consume 6:09 in possession time.

Bentley extended its lead after taking the ball back in its own 43 after the Falcons defense stopped Stonehill on fourth and one for no gain. Bentley also held the Skyhawks to just a yard on third and two. Warren capped the eight play, 57 yard drive, with a ten yard rush on the second play of the second quarter.

Senior John Gomes became the program's second 2,000 yard receiver with his 46 yards tonight. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Stonehill responded with a solid ten play, 65 yard scoring drive, capped by a six yard touchdown run from Willis off the right side with 9:48 to go in the half. Hunt completed two big third down conversions on the drive, hitting Gomes for a 15 yard pass on third and nine from the Skyhawks 36 and then connecting with sophomore Zaire Reiph (Norwalk, Conn./Saint Luke's School) for 15 yards on third and 11 from the 50 with an additional 15 yards for a personal foul penalty added to the end of it. Hunt earned another first down with his legs on a ten yard scamper on third and six from the Falcons 16 before Willis rumbled the ball into the end zone on the next play.

Miela stopped a pair of Bentley drives down the stretch in the second quarter, intercepting Guadagnoli at the Stonehill 22 and then recovering a Pizzotti fumble at the Skyhawks 11, but Stonehill was unable to take advantage.

Neither team was able to score in a penalty-filled third quarter, with Lockwood missing a 24 yard field goal with 5:46 left in the frame at the end of a lengthy 13 play, 82 yard Falcons drive that consumed 8:10.

Stonehill looked to take advantage of the miss as it drove to the Bentley 21 before the drive backed up to the 26 and calling on freshman Stephen Grzywacz (Manchester, N.H./Manchester Central) for a 43 yard field goal attempt to draw even. The snap slipped through the holders hands, resulting in a nine yard loss on the fumble as sophomore Bobby Richman (North Attleboro, Mass./North Attleboro) recovered for the Falcons.

Junior Tim Bennett (Fillmore, Calif./Saint Bonaventure) gave Stonehill more life when he intercepted Guadagnoli at the Skyhawks 44, but Stonehill turned the ball back over two plays later as Hopwood jostled the ball loose from Willis for Steve Hopkins to recover. Bentley took advantage this time as Pizzotti ran the ball in from five yards out 11 plays later with 8:48 remaining. The Falcons converted a key fourth and one from the Stonehill 44 to keep the drive alive.

Stonehill drove to the Bentley 28 with less than four minutes remaining, but Meyer's pass to Gomes on fourth and three fell incomplete to essentially seal the victory for the Falcons.

Stonehill (3-2, 3-1 NE-10) is back on the road next Friday as it visits American International College for a Northeast-10 matchup at 7 p.m. The Skyhawks next home game is Saturday, October 13, when they host Merrimack College on Senior Day at noon. Bentley (4-0, 3-0 NE-10) heads to Saint Anselm College next Saturday at 7 p.m.