WALTHAM, Mass. – Bentley University erupted for four touchdowns in a span of 6:10 around halftime, including pick-sixes from both junior linebacker Brandon Brown (Oxen Hill, Md./Suitland HS) and senior corner Junior Chery (Waltham/Waltham HS), and went on to top Merrimack College 41-22 in Northeast-10 Conference football action at Bentley Friday night.
Bentley stayed perfect in the conference (2-0) and improved to 2-1 overall while Merrimack fell to 1-2 (1-1 NE-10).
The Falcons' scoring barrage began with sophomore wide receiver Drew Mahoney (West Suffield, Conn./Suffield Academy) pulling in the second TD pass of the night thrown by senior CJ Scarpa (Andover/Andover HS). That was a two-yarder to finish a 13-play, 75-yard drive and give the home team a 17-7 lead.
Less than two minutes later, junior Michael Fawehinmi (Lynn/St. John's Prep HS) blocked a punt and classmate Aaron Chretien (Commerce Township, Mich./Walled Lake Northern HS) took it 18 yards to the Warrior three. The very next play, senior running back Matt Montalto (West Yarmouth/ Dennis-Yarmouth Reg. HS) ran it in for a 24-7 lead with 1:25 remaining until intermission.
Bentley wasn't done with its first-half scoring however. On the very first play after the kickoff, Brown picked off a Merrimack pass at the Warrior 35 and took it the distance for another Falcon score and a 31-7 lead.
The opening possession of the second half ended the same way, with a Bentley pick-six. This time, Chery took it in from the 40 to give his team a commanding 31-point bulge, 38-7.
Merrimack battled back to make it a two-possession game with 10:21 remaining in the contest. Senior Armond McRae (Nashua, N.H.), on a direct snap, scored a one-yard TD in the third quarter and senior QB Nick Davis (Oxnard, Calif.) teamed up with junior Justin Mount (Westford) on a five-yard scoring pass in the fourth. He also found junior tight end Dillon Salva (North Brunswick, N.J.) on the two-point conversion attempt, making it 38-22.
Later in the fourth, Bentley freshman Grant Buchanan (Holliston/Holliston HS) finished a 13-play clock-eating drive with a career-best 37-yard field goal, securing the victory with 1:34 to play. It was his second three-pointer of the night after a 22-yarder a minute into the second to make it 10-0.
The first Falcon score came with 1:08 left in the opening stanza, a four-yard pass from Scarpa to grad student Chris Calvanese (Norfolk/Xaverian Brothers HS). It was Scarpa's fifth completion on the 12-play drive.
Sophomore Nick Athy (Holliston/Holliston HS) also had an interception for Bentley, which has now received eight picks from six different players already this season.
Senior linebacker Bryan Hardy (Barnstable/Barnstable HS) led the Falcons in tackles, making a season-best 15.
Scarpa finished 18 of 30 through the air for 144 yards, distributing the ball to seven different receivers. Mahoney led the way in receptions, finishing with six for 62 yards. On the ground, junior tailback and Davidson transfer Jeff Keil (Tampa, Fla./Wharton HS) gained 78 yards on 12 carries in his Bentley debut, including a 45-yarder on the final play of the first quarter.
Davis struggled most of the night, misfiring on 18 of 27 passes and throwing for only 98 yards. Junior running back Derrick Villard (Cromwell, Conn.) had a solid night for the Warriors, gaining 104 yards on 12 carries.
Statistically, the game was closer than the score with Bentley finishing with one more first down (19-18) and 11 more total yards (315). Return yards greatly favored the Falcons, 211-119, and Bentley had the game's only two sacks.
Next week, Bentley will travel to Long Island for a Saturday afternoon encounter with LIU Post.