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Web exclusive, October 14, 2010
MMA Sports Wrap-up
MMA Mariners collect important Bogan Division win
Beat Westfield 42-21; Bower surpasses 5,000 yards rushing

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by Craig Dagan, MMA Sports Director

Junior running back Nick Bourassa ran for 156 yards and three scores but fullback Jim Bower stole the show as Maine Maritime ran to a 42-21 victory on Saturday afternoon, October 9 over Westfield State University in a Bogan Division, New England Football Conference (NEFC) contest. With 6:20 to go in the third quarter, Jim Bower (22 rushes for 146 yards) ran the ball for 10 yards to the Westfield one-yard line. With the rush, Bower became the third MMA running back in the program’s storied history to surpass the 5,000-yard plateau for rushing yards in a career. Bower finished the game with 5,080, leaving him in 17th place on the Division III career rushing yards list, one place behind former Mariner running back Kirk Matthieu (5,107 yards).

With the win, MMA improves to 4-1 and 2-1 in the Bogan Division while Westfield State drops to 2-4 and 1-2.

Maine Maritime took a 7-0 lead on its first possession of the game when Nick Bourassa (15 yards-per-carry) ran the ball in from 15 yards out. The drive took just 2:46 off the clock and covered 61yards. Todd Murphy’s 37-yard rush set up the Bourassa touchdown.

MMA struck again just 1:21 later when linebacker Christopher Brawn intercepted a Dylan Smith pass and ran it back 56 yards for a touchdown. MMA missed the extra point but led 13-0.

After a three and out on MMA’s next possession, the Owls had their first scoring opportunity of the day. Luke Johnson had five consecutive carries that brought Westfield State to the MMA 32-yard line before Dylan Smith threw his second pick of the day which was intercepted at the MMA 14-yard line by Dennis Michalos.

Both teams remained scoreless until the Owls cracked the scoreboard at the 9:09 mark of the second quarter. The nine-play, 67-yard drive was capped off by a Luke Johnson (25 carries for 104 yards) one-yard plunge to put the visitors within reach at 13-7.

The Mariners quickly answered going 64 yards on eight plays on their next possession. Nick Bourassa finished off the drive with a 10-yard run over the left tackle to put MMA back up by two scores at 21-7.

The Owls once again turned to Johnson and threatened to score before another MMA interception. Johnson put the Owls in scoring position after a 27-yard run that left the Owls on the MMA 26-yard line. Smith went to the air again and was intercepted at the MMA four-yard line by Franklin Sawyer.

On MMA’s next play from scrimmage, Nick Bourassa took the ball 96-yards down the left sideline for the touchdown. The extra point attempt by Michael Brennan was good and MMA took a 28-7 lead into halftime.

The third quarter began with interceptions by both teams, one by MMA’s Christopher Brawn (second of the day) and one by Westfield’s Gregg Jackson. The Owls capitalized on their turnover and converted the interception into an Evan Bernache touchdown reception from Tyler Dow. The pass covered 18 yards and pulled the Owls to within 14 points and 28-14.

The Mariners responded once again on their next possession, after Alex Grant recovered and attempted an on-side kick by the Owls, and ran it back to the Westfield 16-yard line. Three plays later, Bower broke the goal line for the first of his two touchdowns on the day, giving MMA the 35-14 lead.

Both teams exchanged scores in the fourth quarter with MMA getting a touchdown from Bower and then Justin Karrat crossing the goal line from four yards out for Westfield State. The number one scoring team in the nation (MMA) surpassed the 40-point mark for the 5th consecutive time this season and won the game by the final score of 42-21.

The Mariners came into the game as the number one rushing offense in the nation and collected 435 more rushing yards on 62 carries. Tyler Dow led the Westfield passing offense with 180 yards in the air on 25 attempts and a touchdown but was hampered with three interceptions.

The Mariner defense gave up 383 yards of total offense but made big plays when they needed to. MMA tied a school record with six interceptions in the win. Joel Chadbourne led the Mariners with seven tackles, but Chris Brawn was the star on the defensive side of the ball, collecting five tackles and two interceptions on the day. Matt Pellerin played well in the win, collecting five tackles, a sack, and two tackles for loss.

The Westfield State defense was led by Justin Ehrhardt who collected 10 tackles in the loss. Dan Dowling was outstanding as well, collecting nine tackles with two of them being for losses. The Mariners will be back in action next week when they travel to Framingham State for a 1 p.m. kick-off. The Owls will be back in action next Saturday when they host the United States Coast Guard Academy.

The Maine Maritime Academy women’s soccer team fell to Thomas College 1-0 in double overtime in a North Atlantic Conference match-up on Friday evening. Thomas College improved to 5-7 overall and 1-2 in the NAC while the Lady Mariners fell to 3-7-1 overall and 1-3-0 in conference play.

Both teams played to a scoreless tie until the 107th minute, when Thomas’s Jasmine Ryan collected a loose ball inside the box and slid it past the MMA keeper, resulting in a dramatic victory for the Terriers.

Lacey Jackson took the loss for MMA while Kate Thibodeau collected the win, making four saves on nine MMA shots. The Terriers outshot MMA 22 to 9.

In men’s soccer, Thomas College Terriers broke a 1-1 tie in the 53rd minute and went on to beat the Maine Maritime Academy Mariners 3-1 in a North Atlantic Conference match-up on Friday evening. Thomas improved with this win to 5-4-2 overall and 2-1 in the NAC while the Mariners fell to 3-6-2 overall and 0-3-1 in the NAC.

The Terriers started the scoring in the 23rd minute when Casey Castle finished a cross from Dylan Keller, putting the visitors up

1-0. MMA answered early in the second half on an Abdullah Alkhayyat score from Alex Pederson, knotting the score at 1-1.

Thomas took the lead for good three minutes later when they were awarded a penalty kick after a MMA foul in the box. Matt Ford converted the kick and Thomas led 2-1. The Terriers finished off the scoring late in the half when a loose ball was knocked around the box and deflected off of a MMA player giving Thomas the own goal and the 3-1 lead.