Story and photo courtesy of Bentley Athletics
– Graduate student Bryant Johnson (Hopedale/Milford HS) threw touchdown passes of 38, 7 and 41 yards, and also ran for a score, as Bentley University put the finishing touch on the 2011 football season with a 41-26 Northeast-10 Conference and Senior Day win over visiting Assumption College Saturday afternoon.
Johnson, in his final collegiate appearance, topped the 8,000 mark in career yards of total offense (finishing at 8,189) while boosting his career TD pass count to 66. The 2010 NE-10 MVP amassed 355 yards in total offense against the Greyhounds as he completed 20 of 29 passes for 295 yards and ran for another 60 on 11 carries.
After struggling for the first 18 minutes of the game, Bentley scored three touchdowns in the final 11:11 of the second quarter to open a 21-7 lead. Senior tailback Bobby Tarr (Byfield/Bishop Fenwick HS), one of five players in the game to top the century mark in either rushing or receiving yards, broke a 76-yard run to even the game at 7-7, and Johnson gave his team the lead for good with 3:37, teaming up with junior Bill Kiley (Quincy/Boston College HS) on a 38-yard TD pass.
Bentley regained possession two plays later on an interception by sophomore Anthony Carter (Marlborough/Marlborough HS), and Johnson moved the Falcons 65 yards in eight plays, including a seven-yard scoring strike to junior Mike Sumrell (Dorchester/Belmont HS) with 44 seconds left on the first-half clock.
A pair of field goals, including a 32-yarder on the final play of the first half, by Assumption junior Brian Nowak (Wayland) cut the differential to eight, 21-13 with just under five minutes left in the third.
Bentley freshman Brad Keirstead (Waltham/Waltham HS) returned the ensuing kickoff the distance for an apparent score, but it was negated by one of a bevy of penalty flags in the game (each time was penalized 10 times). However, the Falcons took possession near midfield, and after moving the chains once, Johnson connected with grad student Wade Critides (Wayland/Wayland HS), the NE-10 receiving leader, on a 41-yard scoring pass to make it a 15-point game, 28-13, with 2:38 left in the third.
Assumption battled back again with two TD passes from sophomore Gabe Homiski (Preston, Conn.) bringing the Hounds to within two. He hit freshman Ben Kiley (Newton) on an 11-yarder on the final play of the third and found sophomore tight end Scott Simonson (Red Bank, N.J.) on a fourth-and-goal from the two with 9:29 left.
The visitors went for the two-point conversion twice, with the second attempt awarded after a pass interference call on the first. However, the rushing attempt from sophomore Matt Pedone (Holden) was denied, and Bentley remained in front by two points.
The Falcons added insurance to their lead by scoring twice in the next three minutes. Johnson went up the middle, taking the ball in from the 19 with 8:01 on the clock, and sophomore linebacker Taylor Tavarozzi (Kensington, Conn./Berlin HS) returned his first career interception 60 yards for Bentley’s final TD, this one coming with 6:33 remaining.
Tarr had his fifth 100-yard game of the season, finishing with 132 on only 13 carries, and both Critides and Kiley reached the century mark in receiving yards. Critides caught eight of 136, becoming the third player in the program’s history to top 2,000 career receiving yards, and Kiley pulled in six for 105.
Pedone led all rushers with 173 yards on 20 carries, including a 70-yarder to account for the only scoring of the opening quarter. Homiski finished 22 of 47 for 251 yards through the air, with junior Paul Perez (Brooklyn, N.Y.) leading the Assumption receivers (8 for 128).
Despite a first quarter that included five punts, the two clubs combined for 917 yards of total offense, including 494 by Bentley. The Falcons complemented Johnson’s 295 passing yards with 199 on the ground, and had 19 first downs, two fewer than the Hounds.
Sophomore linebacker Blaine Hopwood (New Bedford/New Bedford HS) had eight tackles and 1.5 tackles for losses to pace the Falcon defense, and senior defensive end Matt Welch (Woburn/Woburn HS) was credited with four QB hurries, a pass break-up and a half-sack.
Bentley finishes the 2011 season at 6-4 overall, including 5-3 NE-10, while Assumption will take records of 4-5 overall and 3-4 NE-10 into next week’s game against Stonehill.