September 29, 2012

Homecoming 2012: Worcester State (3-1, 1-0 NEFC) at Maine Maritime (0-3, 0-1 NEFC)

Video (Will include March On)

Series History: Saturday's game marks the 23rd meeting between Worcester State and Maine Maritime. Coming off of a 39-22 win in Worcester last year, the Lancers own a 12-10 edge in the NEFC rivalry. Despite last year's outcome, the Mariners have dominated the series for nearly a decade, having taken six of the last eight meetings. The Mariners won four straight between 2004 and 2007, matching the series' longest winning streak. Worcester has twice won four in a row, first between 1994 and 1997 and again between 2000 and 2003.

The Last Meeting: Tony Tokarz piled up 249 yards of total offense ad five touchdowns to lead Worcester State past Maine Maritime 39-22 in Worcester. The Lancers snapped a two-game skid against the Mariners. Tokarz was 13-of-25 with two interceptions and 209 passing yards. He rushed in for a pair as well, including a three-yard scamper in the second quarter that put Worcester ahead for good.

Worcester's Last Game: Worcester State fended off a late comeback bid by Westfield State for a 27-20 win in the Bogan Division opener. The Lancers led by 17 late in the third quarter, before a 73-yard punt return made a game of it. Westfield put itself in great position on its own 30 yard-line to try for a game-tying drive, but the Lancers' defense held forcing a punt with 51 seconds left.

Maine Maritime's Last Game: Fitchburg State collected its first Bogan Division victory, defeating Maine Maritime Academy, 34-14 at Elliot Field. Fitchburg moved to 2-2 (1-0 NEFC) on the season, while the Mariners slipped to 0-3 (0-1 NEFC). Steph'fon Teague paced a balanced Falcons attack, posting his third consecutive 100-yard game with 112 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Billy Wetherbee rushed for 168 yards on 21 carries, including a 52-yard jaunt.

NEFC Honorees: Maine Maritime's Billy Wetherbee was named to the NEFC Weekly Honor Roll after rushing for 168 yards on 21 carries in last week's loss at Fitchburg State. Wetherbee's runs included a three-yard touchdown plunge and a 52-yard rush. He averaged 8.0 yards per carry.

Worcester State's senior signal caller, Corey Spencer, was also named to the Offensive Honor Roll completing 24 of 32 passes (75%) for 238 yards and a seven-yard touchdown. Defensive end, Bryan Narcisse, was honored after recording seven tackles (five solo and 3.5 for losses) including 2.5 sacks.

The Coaches: Worcester State's Brien Cullen enters today's game with a 153-117 record (.564). Cullen is the only coach the Lancers have had since the he brought the program to the varsity level in the fall of 1985. He has won three NEFC Championships and was named the NEFC Coach of the Year in the 1987, 1993, 1995, 2000 and 2011 seasons. In 1996, The American Football Coaches Magazine named Cullen the Division III National Defensive Coordinator of the Year. The National Football Foundation honored Coach Cullen as a contributor to football in 1997. In 2004, the ECAC football officials honored him with the Murray Lewis Award honoring his contributions to football in the region. 

Chris McKenney is in his 12th season at the helm in Castine. The most victorious coach in the Academy's history, McKenney picked up his 50th win in the 2011. Under McKenney's direction, the Mariners have med three postseason appearances, including the Academy's first-ever NCAA Championship appearance in the wake of the 2009 NEFC Championship. That season, McKenney was named the New England Football Writers Coach of the Year for Divisions II & III. In 2005, he was named the NEFC Coach of the Year. He had earned Bogan Division Coach of the Year honors in 2006 and 2008. McKenney enters today's game with a record of 53-55.

NEFC Rankings: Maine Maritme simultaneously ranks first in the NEFC in rushing (275.0 ypg) and last in the NEFC in scoring (11.7 ppg)…Worcester's Graham Asum is the NEFC's most dangerous kick returner averaging 37.9 yards per return. His season-long was a 90-yard touchdown…The Lancers' Kemani Jones has made eight trips into the end zone this season, three more than any other player in the league.

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