Bears Drop Heartbreaker in Final Seconds Again
FITCHBURG, Mass.--(10/1/11)--For the second time this season Coast Guard lost a road game on a touchdown pass in the final seconds. This time is was a 37-yard strike from Brian McDonald to Jeremy Kimber with 13 seconds left leading Fitchburg State to a 28-21 win over the Bears in a New England Football Conference (NEFC) Bogan Division game.
Coast Guard lost the season-opener 35-28 at Merchant Marine on a 32-yard touchdown pass with eight seconds left. The Bears drop to 1-3 on the season and 1-1 in the NEFC Bogan Division while Fitchburg State snaps a three-game losing streak improving to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the Bogan Division.
The Bears, just as they had in the season opener, rallied to tie the game on a touchdown run by senior quarterback Jarrod Owens. This time, trailing 21-13, Owens scored on a two-yard scamper, and senior Eric Gerken caught the two-point conversion from Owens to tie the game with 2:48 left.
The Coast Guard defense, got a huge turnover, its only forced turnover in the game, a forced fumble by junior safety Dante Adams and fumble recovery by senior Steve Lozier on the Fitchburg 20-yard line with 4:04 left in the game to set up the game tying score.
The Bears shot themselves in the foot throughout the game as they turned the ball over three times, including the first two interceptions of the season, missed an extra point, missed a field goal and had a key late-hit penalty in the fourth quarter which extended a drive and led to a Falcons touchdown.
Gerken, the leading receiver in the NEFC, had another outstanding game for Coast Guard as he had ten or more receptions and over 100 receiving yards for the third straight week. He finished with ten catches for a career-high 150 yards and two touchdowns. He leads the team with 42 receptions for 515 yards and five touchdowns in the first four games of the season
Coast Guard outgained Fitchburg State 347-285 and had more first downs (21-15). The Bears had 272 of those yards in the air.
Junior linebacker Curt Barrett led the Bears defense with ten tackles, 3.5 for loss while senior defensive lineman Paul Hahn-Rauch added nine tackles in the loss.
On the afternoon, Fitchburg State mustered 285 yards of total offense, including 157 on the ground and 128 in the air. Kimber led all Falcon receivers with five catches, 91 yards and two scores, while freshman running-backs Steph'fon Teague and Farren Davis rushed for 98 yards and 88 yards respectively.
Owens finished 23-of-37 for 272 yards with two touchdowns and 40 yards rushing. He also threw a pair of interceptions, his first two of the season.
Coast Guard came out gunning, taking a 7-0 lead just 1:49 into the contest as Owens connected on a 29-yard strike to Gerken, but Fitchburg State responded ten minutes later as Teague found pay dirt on a nine yard run to knot the score at 7-7.
The Bears answered on their next series as the pair of Owens and Gerken connected again, this time for a 16-yard strike to cap a seven play, 59 yard drive. Gerken sparked the Coast Guard scoring drive with three catches for 39 yards, while freshman Collis Brown and junior tight end Casey Paris added a pair of catches in the series. The Bears missed the extra point.
The score remained at a 13-7 standstill until midway through the third quarter when Fitchburg State grabbed its first lead of the contest on a McDonald one-yard touchdown plunge. The score capped a six-play, 71 yard drive for the Falcons, including 61 yards rushing from Davis.
In the fourth, the Falcons padded their lead, taking a 21-13 advantage on Kimber's first TD snag of the day. McDonald hit Kimber on a 10-yard fade, beating double coverage in the back of the end-zone for the score.
After a three and out by Coast Guard, the Bears turned to their defense forcing a Falcon fumble on the Fitchburg State 20 and setting up first and ten for the game-tying score. A 13-yard rush by sophomore Tyler Hames put the ball at the Falcons two yard line before Owens found the end-zone with a two-yard blast.
With the score tied at 21-21, Fitchburg State was forced to a four and punt, but a beautiful punt by Lenny Masciangioli forced the Bears back to their own one yard line. The Falcons held strong, limiting Coast Guard to only five yards in the series and forcing a punt. Sophomore Luis Cruz brought the punt back to the Bears 37, setting up Kimber's game-ending heroics.