Western New England College ends best season ever with victory over Nichols on Senior Day
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Justin Walz at Picture Day 8-23-09
(Groton, CT) ran for two touchdowns and passed for another in his final game as Western New England College ended the best season in school history with a 31-10 victory over visiting Nichols in a New England Football Conference (NEFC) Boyd Division contest Saturday afternoon (Nov. 7).

The Golden Bears completed their remarkable campaign with a 6-4 record and five-game winning streak, setting new school marks for most wins and consecutive victories. WNEC started playing varsity football in 1981 and compiled five wins several times, the last coming in 2004.

Freshman free safety Phil Tsopanides (Fairfield, CT) played a key role with two interceptions, including a 54-yard return for a touchdown with 14 seconds left before halftime that gave the Golden Bears a 21-10 advantage.

Walz was among 15 players honored before the game during the Senior Day celebration.

He then went out and completed 15-of-25 passes for 148 yards with an interception and added 73 yards on the ground.

Walz ran one-yard to give Western New England College a 7-0 lead just 3:55 into the game.

Nichols scored 10 unanswered points when freshman Dave Wyrick (Avon, CT) kicked a 37-yard field goal with 54 seconds left in the opening period and sophomore quarterback Sean Smith-Vaughn (Cumberland, ME) fired a 37-yard score to freshman fullback Anthony Terenzi (Londonderry, NH) at the 10:21 mark of the second quarter.

WNEC then scored twice in 25 seconds when Walz ended an eight-play, 62-yard drive with a nine-yard scoring pass to junior tight end Dan Crane (Waterbury, CT).

On the next possession, Tsopanides intercepted a Smith-Vaughn pass over the middle at the WNEC 46 and ran down the left sideline for his first college touchdown.

Senior Jake Field (Bedminster, NJ) kicked a 22-yard field goal in the third period and Walz scored on another one-yard run in the fourth quarter to complete the scoring.

Nichols out-gained Western New England College by a 423 to 354, but committed five turnovers, which led to the last four Golden Bears' touchdowns. Two interceptions came in the end zone.

The first took place when junior linebacker Justin Bailey (Northborough, MA) intercepted a pass by Wyrick on a fake field goal attempt late in the second quarter. Tsopanides then made his second pick five yards deep in the end zone and returned it 40 yards to the WNEC 35. That led to Walz' final run for a touchdown with 10:02 left in the game.

Smith-Vaughn was 31-for-54 passing for 344 yards with two interceptions. Senior receiver Mike Seiger (Pittsfield, MA) had nine catches for 139 yards. Terenzi finished with a game high 60 yards rushing.

Western New England College freshman running back Mike Graham (Norwalk, CT) added 64 yards on the ground on only four carries, including a nifty 55-yard run that led to the final touchdown.

Bailey recorded 12 tackles while junior linebacker Dylan Chandler (Durham, ME) had nine stops. Tsopanides also added seven tackles and had two pass breakups.

Nichols junior linebacker Evan Greathead (Pepperell, MA) had 11 tackles. The Bison ended the year with a 4-6 record, including a 3-4 mark in the Boyd Division.

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