Malafronte, Garcia and Pacheco Guide Defense in Football’s Third Shutout

Dereck Pacheco

WORCESTER -- Sophomore Sean McAllen (Prospect, CT) ran for 182 yards on 23 carries with two touchdowns to go with a receiving TD while senior Lou Garcia (Springfield, MA) hauled in a pair of interceptions, including a pick-six, as the WPI football program earned its first-ever win in the NEWMAC era with a 45-0 triumph over visiting Maine Maritime Saturday afternoon in Alumni Stadium.

With the win, WPI improves to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in conference play and collects its third shutout of the season. It is the most in a single season since the 1955 team posted four.

The game was part of a tripleheader honoring the football, field hockey and men's soccer teams that made the 1992 NCAA tournament.

        Members of the 1992 Football team

McAllen, who eclipsed 100 yards for the third time this season, and fifth of his career,  hauled in a seven-yard pass to complete a 13-play, 70-yard opening drive at 10:05. With 2:26 left in the first, junior Alex Domond (Cambridge, MA) caught his first score of the year, a four-yard reception, in the back corner of the end zone to finish off a 11-play, 56-yard march down the field.

Garcia grabbed a pick 1:28 later. McAllen eventually converted the turnover into six more for the Engineers, this time with a seven-yard run 3:02 into the second following a nine-play, 45-yard drive. With 1:31 left in the half, junior Blayne Merchant (Sanderson, FL) collected an interception to interrupt a lengthy Maine Maritime drive.

Looking to get on the board before the intermission, Mariner junior John Bennett (Chelsea, MA) turned a 21-yard pass into a 15-yard interception return. Maine Maritime made it to the 25 yard line when WPI junior Collin Saunders (Westwood, NJ) returned a pick 21 yards to close out the half.

The Engineers first drive of the new half was stalled at the 23, setting up a field goal by junior Spencer Herrington (Clearfield, PA). Garcia made his presence felt once again with a 23-yard pick-six on the next drive for the 31-0 advantage. After a Maine Maritime three-and-out, McAllen ran in a 56-yard score with 4:53 left in the third.

The first drive of the fourth belonged to sophomore Connor Field (Granby, CT), who accumulated all 71 yards for the Engineers. Field picked up nine before a 56-yard storm front. He went on to finish the series with three microbursts totaling six yards.

Senior Blake Rice (North Branford, CT) completed 12 of 22 passes, including two for scores. Field finished with a career-best 100 yards and a touchdown. Domond led the receivers with 25 yards on three catches and a TD.

Junior Sam Malafronte (Abington, MA) posted nine tackles as sophomore Sam Casey (Winchester, MA) chipped in with eight. Merchant and Saunders each registered seven tackles. All of senior Dereck Pacheco's (Barnstable, MA) three stops were for-loss and junior Luca Cerasani (Abington, MA) chipped in with one. Junior Brian Mahan (Ashland, MA) tallied three pass breakups.

MMA senior Corey Creeger (Biddeford, ME) passed for 115 yards on six throws. Senior James Ferrar (Cumberland, ME) rushed for 46 yards on 12 attempts and freshman Dominic Casale (Freeport, ME) accounted for 39 yards in receptions

Junior Derek Breunig (Westbrook, ME) paced all defenders with 11 tackles as Bennett contributed with 10. Freshman Aidan Plumpton (Northwood, NH) followed with eight, including one for-loss.

WPI enjoyed a 470-214 margin in total offense, including 372-99 on the ground. Time of possession was also in the Engineers favor, albeit slightly, 31:58-28:22.

The Crimson and Gray head to Catholic Saturday for a 1pm kickoff. Maine Maritime (0-4, 0-2) returns to the Commonwealth Saturday for a noon start at MIT.