Football gets first win on Senior Day

Senior Day

LEICESTER, Mass. --- The Becker College football team won 31-17 over visiting University of New England in Commonwealth Coast Conference Football play on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field on the Becker campus in Leicester.

November 3, 2018
Alumni Field, Leicester
Score: Becker 31, UNE 17
Records: Becker (1-8, 1-4 CCF) | UNE (1-7, 1-5 CCF)

• Becker junior quarterback Jake McHugh (Lynnfield, Mass. / Lynnfield) threw for 181 yards and two touchdowns.
• Becker senior linebacker Michael Bianco (Manorville, N.Y. / Eastport-South Manor), playing in the final home game of his storied career, lined up at running back for the very first time for the Hawks, and he made the most of the opportunity with 180 rushing yards on 24 attempts. Bianco also tallied a touchdown, his first as an offensive player. On defense, the 2017 CCF Defensive Player of the Year record four and a half tackles and one interception.
• Becker offensive lineman Daniel Whittenburg (Eastford, Conn. / Woodstock Academy), likewise getting snaps in the backfield for the first time ever, ran for 51 yards and a touchdown on the day.
• UNE sophomore quarterback Brian Peters (Darien, Conn. / Darien) threw for 217 yards and one touchdown while rushing for another.
• Eight Hawks were recognized as part of Senior Day, playing in their final home games in a Becker uniform. (see below)
• It is the first win for Becker since October 28th, 2017, a 14-13 win at Nichols College.

• After both teams exchanged punts to open the game, Becker was poised to retake possession with good field position when UNE sophomore punter Kevin Heintz (Brewster, N.Y. / Brewster) went back to punt from the Nor'easter 36. But Becker freshman punt returner Elijah Hill (Tampa, Fla. / Hillsborough) lost the ball in the heavy fog and fumbled the return, allowing UNE freshman linebacker Brady Lamontagne (Kennebunk, Maine / Kennebunk) to swoop in and recover it at the Becker 33 as the Nor'easters got the ball back in superb field position.
• After the Hawk defense held on three straight plays, the Nor'easters broke through when Peters hit sophomore wide receiver Haelin Roberts (Edmonds, Wash. / Meadowdale) for a 26 yard gain to the Becker one-yard line. On the very next play, Peters pushed it in himself for the touchdown, as UNE went ahead 7-0.
• On the ensuing kickoff, Becker freshman defensive back Materrence Holloway (Tampa, Fla. / Hillsborough), in only his second kick return of the season, received the ball at the five and busted out for a 37 yard return to give the Hawks excellent field position from their own 42.
• It took McHugh four plays to guide Becker to the end-zone, as he found junior wide receiver Edwin Velasquez (Jupiter, Fla. / Jensen Beach) for a 16 yard touchdown completion, tying the game at 7-7. It was McHugh's third touchdown pass of the season and the first since October 13th.
• On the ensuing UNE drive, Peters was facing a second-and-21 after a penalty when he made a completion to Roberts who sprinted past the Becker secondary and broke through for a 67 yard touchdown reception. The Nor'easters regained the lead, 14-7.
• Becker went to the ground on their next drive, reaching all the way down to UNE's 16. But a field goal attempt by Becker sophomore kicker Mac Kimball (Bow, N.H. / Bow) went wide left as the Nor'easters got the ball back to bring the first quarter to a close.

• After a UNE punt, Becker took control from their own 40. The Hawks chipped their way down the field with short passes and rushes. That would setup McHugh to go deep to freshman wide receiver Marc O'Neal (Dayton, Ohio / Archbishop Alter) for a 31 yard completion to the Nor'easter two-yard line. On the very next play, Bianco punched it in to tie it up, 14-14.
• On the ensuing kickoff, the Hawks went for the on-side and recovered when junior linebacker Robert Pellerin (Gorham, Maine / Gorham) pounced on a ball that went off a defending player and gave Becker possession from the 50 yard line.
• With a short field to work with, the Hawks gritted their way down but faced a fourth-and four from the UNE 20. That's when McHugh turned to O'Neal as the rookie beat the defense for a 20 yard touchdown reception to give Becker their first lead of the game at 21-14.
• On UNE's ensuing drive, the Nor'easters marched down the field and had a first and goal from the Becker three yard line. Making one of their best stands of the year, the Hawk defense stopped the visitors cold, forcing them to settle for a 20 yard field goal to make the score 21-17.
• After Becker was forced to punt on their next drive, UNE got the ball back with 33 seconds left until halftime. Once again, the Hawk defense held, as the Nor'easters were forced to punt it away with no time left.

• UNE opened the second half be receiving the kickoff, and they capitalized on two Becker penalties to reach the Hawks' seven yard line. The Hawk defense, playing with the lead for one of the few times this season, once again shut down their opponents, forcing them into a failed field goal attempt.
• On Becker's first opportunity of the second half, the Hawks ground out a 13 play, 5:39 drive, turning almost exclusively to the running game. Becker had a first and goal from the UNE nine yard line, but this time it was the Nor'easters who would make a stand, as freshman linebacker Keegan Stanton-Meas (Portland, Maine / Deering) broke up the third down pass. Becker was forced to settle for a 32 yard field goal from Kimball to take a 24-17 lead.
• After a UNE punt, Becker drove to the Nor'easter 27 yard line. But McHugh was picked off on fourth down by freshman defensive back Sean Emmert (Rochester, N.Y. / McQuaid Jesuit) as the visitors regained the ball. UNE punted it away as the third quarter came to an end.

• On their first drive of the fourth quarter, the Hawks were facing third down from midfield when McHugh again made a key completion, finding Velasquez who broke two tackles and picked up 24 yards for the first down. But three plays later, with a first down at the UNE 13 and poised to build on their lead, Bianco fumbled the ball and gave it right back to Nor'easters when UNE sophomore defensive back DJ James (Turner, Maine / Leavitt) recovered.
• The Nor'easters went three-and-out on their next drive, as Becker junior linebacker Christian Perkins (Melrose, Mass. / Melrose) made a key tackle to stop UNE a yard short of the first down.
• After Becker punted the ball back, UNE got the ball back at their own 30, still down a touchdown. The Hawk defense completely stopped the Nor'easters, and a deep pass attempt on fourth down gave the home team the ball back at the UNE 37 with a chance to put the game away.
• With a chance to get their first win of the season, the Hawks went without a quarterback on the drive as they snapped the ball directly to Whittenburg on six straight plays. The offensive lineman rumbled his way into the end zone, as Becker went ahead 31-17.
• Down two scores with 2:20 left in the game, UNE was forced to go with the long ball. On fourth down, Bianco picked off the pass to put the game away for good for Becker.

• Time of Possession was 35:18 to 24:42 in favor of Becker.
• Becker sophomore linebacker Jared Zieman (Bethel, Conn. / Bethel) posted a team-high seven solo tackles for the Hawks, including two for a loss.
• Becker senior linebacker Joseph Linnehan (Dedham, Mass. / Dedham) finished with four and a half tackles.
• Becker senior defensive lineman Brandon Mole (Bovina, N.Y. / Delaware Acad.) had a sack and a pass breakup in his final home game.
• Becker senior wide receiver Ryan Fernandez (Miami, Fla. / Jensen Beach) finished with four catches for 27 yards.
• James led UNE with seven tackles, a fumble forced and a fumble recovery.
• UNE freshman defensive back Kuomar Fitzgerald (West Orange, N.J. / Morris Catholic) finished with 6.5 tackles and a sack.

Prior to the game, the Becker College athletics department and the football and cheerleading programs recognized their graduating seniors in a Senior Day ceremony. All 11 of these student athletes have made incredible contributions not only on the field but for the entire Becker community as a whole. Although their collegiate careers may be coming to an end, they will forever be a part of the Hawks family.

From the cheerleading team:
• Paige Pellerin (Holden, Massachusetts)
• Xena Raymond (Woonsocket, Rhode Island)
• Kailey Roy (Attleboro, Massachusetts)

From the football team:
• Bianco
• Fernandez
• Linnehan
• Running back Kenneth McMurphy (Gilbert, Ariz. / Perry)
• Junior Bayley Makloski (Fort Collins, Colo. / Fort Collins)
• Mole
• Offensive lineman Nicholas Rogerson (Pomfret, Conn. / Woodstock Academy)
• Whittenburg

The Hawks will complete their 2018 season next Saturday when they travel to Western New England University for a 1:00 p.m. game. The Nor'easters will likewise be in action when they host Alvernia University in their finale, that coming at 12:00 p.m.

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