Senior defensive tackle Taylor Russell led a dominant Skyhawks defensive line with a career-high 11 tackles, including 2.0 sacks for a loss of 11. (PHOTO BY Vaughn Winchell.)
Skyhawks claim first Waltham win since 1995 behind tough defensive effort
WALTHAM, Mass. (September 12, 2014) – Stonehill College claimed its first victory at Bentley University since 1995 with a hard fought 24-17 triumph in Northeast-10 Conference football action at Bentley University Stadium tonight.
Senior defensive tackle Taylor Russell (Keene, New Hampshire/Keene) led a dominant effort up front for the Stonehill defense, which finished with four sacks and eight total tackles for a loss, with a career-high 11 tackles (five solo), including 2.0 sacks for a loss of 11 yards. Senior All-American linebacker Brian Harrington (Rockland, Massachusetts/Rockland) also added a season-high matching 11 stops (five solo), for his 12th double-figure tackle outing of his career, with 2.0 tackles for a loss of three yards. Senior Sterry Codrington (Freehold, New Jersey/Freehold Boro) contributed eight tackles (four solo) and two pass breakups, while junior Peter Catal (Cornwall, New York/Cornwall) chipped in with four stops (two solo), including 2.0 tackles for a loss of 12 yards, and 1.0 sacks for a loss of eight.
The win is Stonehill's first at Bentley since a 39-36 triumph in 1995, which was trumped a week later by a setback in the IFC Bowl at home, and marks just the third victory here all-time. The Skyhawks have won back to back meetings with the Falcons for the second time in the varsity series between the two, with the first time coming in back to back games in Easton in 2008 and 2009, and hold a 4-3 edge in the series since 2008. Bentley still leads the all-time varsity series 21-7-1.
The victory also marked the 37th in head coach Robert Talley's eight seasons at the helm at Stonehill, surpassing Connie Driscoll, who posted a 36-24 clip from 1993-98. Talley evened his career record at 37-37 with his record-breaking victory tonight. He is now 4-5 all-time against Bentley, tops for a Stonehill head coach against its rivals.
Junior running back Colin Markus (Monroe, Connecticut/Masuk) rushed the ball 24 times for 120 yards and two touchdowns to pace the Stonehill offense, which finished with 302 yards of total offense on 176 passing yards and 126 on the ground. Senior wide receiver Nate Robitaille (Attleboro, Massachusetts/Attleboro) collected six passes for 98 yards and a score, matching the program's career record for touchdown receptions set by Dan Cahill, '96, with his 22nd career score.
Junior Colin Markus rushed the ball 24 times for a season-high 120 yards and two touchdowns to pace the offense. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)
Junior Moe Regan (West Roxbury, Massachusetts/BC High) made his first career start at quarterback for Stonehill and completed 13-of-26 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown. Junior kicker Steve Grzywacz (Manchester, New Hampshire/Manchester Central) added a key 26 yard field goal in the fourth quarter – the 20th of his career to match the program record set by Joe Crowley, '04.
Bentley postgrad quarterback Danny Guadagnoli (Framingham, Massachusetts/Framingham) led the offensive effort for the Falcons which posted 374 total yards by completing 30-of-41 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions, despite being pressured throughout the contest. Senior Jeff Hill (Mansfield, Massachusetts/Mansfield) caught eight of those passes for 91 yards, while junior Chris Walsh (Attleboro, Massachusetts/Attleboro) added five receptions for 75 yards.
Sophomore running back Martin Bannerman (Pawtucket, Rhode Island/LaSalle Academy) chipped in with 11 carries for 51 yards. Junior Michael Baron (Medfield, Massachusetts/Roxbury Latin) contributed a 26 yard field goal early in the second quarter, but missed from 30 yards late in the half.
Senior linebacker Kyle Young (Ellicott City, Maryland/Centennial) led the Bentley defense with a game-high 13 tackles (six solo), while classmate Nick McCarthy (Winthrop, Massachusetts/Winthrop) played a role in all three takeaways for the Falcons defense with two interceptions and a fumble recovery to go with his seven tackles (three solo).
Stonehill set the tone early, opening a 14-0 lead by the halfway mark of the first quarter. Sophomore Nick Bona (Peabody, Massachusetts/Bishop Fenwick) forced a fumble on the opening kickoff after the Skyhawks won the coin toss and chose to defer to the second half. Markus found the end zone four plays later with a sweep off the left side from a yard out for his first touchdown of the night 1:55 into the contest.
Robitaille's first touchdown reception of the season capped Stonehill's next possession and came at the end of a 46-yard bullet from Regan with 7:09 still to play in the opening stanza. The touchdown closed out a six play, 82 yard drive, in which Markus had five carries for 36 yards on the possession.
Bentley broke through on its next possession with a seven play, 69-yard drive, capped by a 20 yard hook and ladder play from Guadagnoli to Hill for the first five yards, who scooped the ball to junior running back George Craan (Hyde Park, Massachusetts/Concord-Carlisle) who took it the final 15 yards into end zone with 3:30 remaining in the opening quarter.
Senior wide receiver Nate Robitaille caught six passes for 98 yards, including his school-record matching 22nd career touchdown. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)
Bentley drew within 14-10 with Baron's 26 yard field goal 2:41 into the second quarter, but Markus capped an eight play, 50-yard scoring drive two possessions later with a second one-yard touchdown run with 5:31 remaining in the half. Regan connected with junior Gordon McLeod (Weymouth, Massachusetts/BC High) for a 20 yard completion after getting a first down on a keeper on fourth and one from the Falcons 41. The Bentley defense was flagged for pass interference on Robitaille at the goal line, setting up first and goal at the two before Markus punched it in with two carries for his second career multi-touchdown game.
Bentley marched right down the field before the drive stalled at the Stonehill 13, keyed by a dropped pass by an open Jet Kollie (Lowell, Massachusetts/New Hampton School) in the end zone on third and six, before Baron missed his 30-yard field goal wide left with 1:38 on the clock.
Bentley produced the lone touchdown of the second half as Guadagnoli connected with junior Chris Calvanese (Norfolk, Massachusetts/Xaverian Brothers) for a 12 yard touchdown pass to cap a 12 play, 82-yard drive, consuming 6:20, with 1:54 remaining in the third quarter. Guadagnoli completed 5-of-7 passes for 102 yards on that drive alone, converting three times on third down, including one on a third and 23 from the Falcons 21, and overcoming two sacks and an illegal formation penalty that negated a 26 yard completion.
Grzywacz provided a key 26 yard field goal to push the Stonehill lead back to a touchdown with 3:15 on the clock after Markus and the Skyhawks offense was able to bleed 5:27 off the clock during an 11 play drive that collected 55 yards.
Bentley picked up possession after the kickoff at its own 19 and Guadagnoli drove the Falcons down to the Stonehill 15 with under a minute to play for a chance to force overtime. Hill was called for offensive pass interference on a catch in the end zone on second and seven at the 15, which pushed the Falcons back to the 30 yard line. The Skyhawks forced the Falcons back another three yards on the next play, forcing a time out with 29-seconds to go. Guadagnoli found Calvanese for a six yard pickup to the 27 on third down and then on fourth and 19, Codrington broke up his pass to Hill to seal Stonehill's first road win over the Falcons in nearly 20 years.
Stonehill (1-1, 1-0 NE-10) is back in action next Saturday when it visits American International College for a rematch of last year's NE-10 Championship at 1 p.m. The Skyhawks return home on Saturday, September 27, to host Merrimack College as part of Family Weekend at the College at 6 p.m. Bentley (1-1, 0-1 NE-10) travels to Saint Anselm College next Saturday at 1 p.m.
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