FITCHBURG, Mass. (September 2, 2011) – The Becker College football team opened its 2011 season this evening with a 30-24 loss to Fitchburg State.
The Falcons used a four touchdown, 273 yard offensive explosion to improve to 1-0 on the season as freshman Farren Davis (Readsboro, Vt./Drary) sparked Fitchburg State on the ground, totaling 63 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Jeremy Kimber (Fitchburg, Mass./Fitchburg) led the Falcons' receiving core with five catches and 76 yards, while quarterback Brian McDonald (Westwood, Mass./Hebron Academy) had a strong debut for the Green and Gold, tallying 138 yards and one TD in the air, and a 49 yard, one score effort on the ground.
Fitchburg State opened the contest in commanding fashion, stringing together a six play, 59 yard drive to march down the field and post a 7-0 lead off a Davis two-yard run. Becker answered immediately however as freshman Kyle Gregg (Charlotte, N.C./Independence) took the ensuing kick 84 yards to the Falcon end zone, knotting the score at 7-7.
The Falcons responded accordingly, collecting a pair of back-to-back score for a 16-7 second quarter advantage. McDonald closed the first quarter with a 27-yard scamper down the right sideline, while senior kicker Lenny Masciangioli (Leominster, Mass./Leominster) converted a 23 yard field goal just 2:25 into the second period. Again, Becker responded via its special teams as Tyler Iafelice (Edgewater, N.J./Fort Lee) bolted 75 yards for the Hawks second TD kick-return of the day.
Clinging to its 16-14 lead midway through the second quarter, the Fitchburg State defense came alive, as senior Anthony Bizzotto (Leominster, Mass./Leominster) sparked the Falcons with a 39 yard interception. The pick set up the Fitchburg State offense on the Becker three-yard line where McDonald connected with sophomore Brian Wallace (Ayer, Mass./Ayer) for his first collegiate touchdown at the 9:22 mark.
In the third period, the tides began to shift as Becker held Fitchburg State to only 30 yards of offense. Despite its tenacious defense, the Hawks mustered only three points offensively as the Falcons defense allowed a lone field goal, a 30 yard effort from Chad Bacon (Cumberland, R.I./Cumberland).
With a 23-17 lead in hand, Fitchburg State answered its home crowd call in the final quarter, finding the end zone for the fourth time to take a 13 point advantage. Davis capped the Falcons four-play, 87 yard drive with a 43 yard TD blast, while Kimber highlighted the drive an acrobatic catch, beating two defenders for a 34 yard gain.
Becker inched back down the stretch, posting its best drive of the day, a ten-play 60 yard effort. The Hawks capped the drive with a Gregg one yard run up the shoot while Ezequiel Torres (Ledyard, Conn./Ledyard) and William Ramirez (Bethel, Conn./Bethel) combined for 38 rushing yards in the series.
The Hawks were able to pin the Falcons back in their own zone on the very next drive, posting a three- and-out to get the ball at their own 44. After a trio of failed pass attempts, senior Will Gasson (N. Falmouth, Mass./Mansfield) iced the game for Fitchburg State, notching his first interception of the season after a Bizzotto tackle on the Hawks' quarterback.
Fitchburg State received a huge game from its defense as the Falcons limit to only 121 yards of total offense. The Falcons forced six turnovers on the evening, including four interceptions and one blocked punt, while adding 4.0 sacks and 11.0 TFL's. Bizzotto led all tacklers with 13 stops, 1.5 sacks and 3.5 TFL's, while Christopher McCarthy (Dee Park, N.Y./Information Tech) collected 11 stops for the visitors.
Offensively, Torres led the Hawks on the ground with 30 yards over six carries, while receiver Luis Sanchez (Springfield, Mass./Central) recorded two catches for 41 yards. Gregg highlighted Becker's special teams, totaling 114 yards with two returns, while Lafelice added 92 yards on a pair of returns also.
Fitchburg State (1-0, 0-0 NEFC) will be back in action next Friday night as it travels to Curry College at 7 p.m. Becker (0-1, 0-0 ECFC) will host MIT next Saturday at 12 p.m.