Story and photo courtesy of Bentley Athletics
WALTHAM, Mass. – Junior Danny Guadagnoli (Framingham/Framingham HS) threw three TD passes in the final 15:15, including a go-ahead 54-yard screen to senior tailback Bobby Tarr (Byfield/ Bishop Fenwick HS) midway through the fourth, as Bentley University scored 20 unanswered points to best visiting Assumption College, 20-13, Saturday afternoon at Bentley.
Guadagnoli finished 16 of 26 for 299 yards, and Tarr amassed 197 all-purpose running yards in his final collegiate game. He rushed for 81 yards, pushing his lifetime total to 2,091 (fifth all-time at Bentley), and had the best receiving game of his career, with three for 116 yards, all on screens. Putting that into perspective, he only had 90 receiving yards in four years prior to that.
The win, coming as part of Northeast-10 championship weekend, elevated the third-seeded Falcons to 8-2 on the year, the second time in Thom Boerman’s four seasons at the helm they’ve had eight victories. Assumption, the number six seed, finished at 3-7, and amazingly had a double-figure lead in five of those losses.
This one was nearly an exact copy of the week three game between the Falcons and Greyhounds out in Worcester. In that one, Guadagnoli also threw three scoring strikes in the second half for a 21-14 win after Assumption took a 14-0 lead into the halftime break.
In this rematch, the Greyhounds led 13-0 at intermission, and maintained the shutout into the final minute of the third quarter. The Falcons took possession at their own 22 and quickly went to sophomore Jeff Hill (Mansfield/Mansfield HS). He appeared to take it down the sidelines for a touchdown, but it was ruled he stepped out at the Assumption 40. Three snaps later, Guadagnoli teamed up again and this time it counted, a 28-yarder to cut the deficit to six at 13-7 with 15 seconds left in the third. Hill finished with five receptions for 88 yards, and just missed a 1,000-yard receiving season, coming up five yards shy.
After an 11-play Assumption possession ended with a punt, Bentley again took over at its own 22. This time, it took six plays to reach the end zone, with Tarr catching his third screen of the day and breaking loose for a 54-yard touchdown to even the score at 13. Senior Will Lockwood (Menlo Park, Calif./Sacred Heart Prep) added the PAT to put the Falcons in front by one.
Bentley extended its lead with 2:50 remaining, Guadagnoli connecting with senior Bill Kiley (Quincy/Boston College HS) on a 42-yard scoring play, making it a seven-point differential. It stayed that way as Lockwood’s extra point attempt was off the mark.
Any hopes Assumption had of a late comeback were thwarted when senior corner Steve Stewart (Wilmington/Wilmington HS) celebrated Senior Day with his third interception of the season. Three straight five-yard rushes by Tarr helped the Falcons run out the final 2:21.
Bentley had chances to get on the scoreboard in the first half, but lost the ball twice on turnovers and was stopped on fourth down twice, including at the Hound eight on a fourth-and-one.
A 54-yard pass from junior Bobby Jordan (Cromwell, Conn.) to sophomore Eddy Frazier (Worcester) produced the game’s first scoring just five minutes into the game. The point-after kick bounced off the upright, a miss that certainly played a role down the stretch.
The Hounds added to their lead in the final minute of the first half, Jordan finishing a 10-play, 84-yard drive by completing a 10-yard pass to junior Rob Handy (Freehold, N.J.). For the day, Jordan was 19 of 38 for 228 yards.
Bentley outgained the Hounds, 415-288, including 161-38 in the decisive fourth quarter. The Falcons controlled the ball for nearly 33 minutes and limited AC to four first downs on 14 third-down attempts.
Bentley’s defense featured a game-high nine tackles by freshman linebacker Quincy Giles (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral HS), eight tackles from junior LB Blaine Hopwood (New Bedford/New Bedford HS) and a solid effort from senior defensive end Andrew Sklar (Ivyland, Pa./Perkiomen Prep), who had seven tackles and 2.5 sacks.
In addition to the Stewart pick, Bentley had two other takeaways, the fourth interception of the year for senior safety Steve Hopkins (Waltham/Waltham HS) and a special teams fumble recovery by freshman Craig Hanley (Walpole/Walpole HS).