BUZZARDS BAY, Mass – On Saturday, November 16th at Clean Harbors Stadium, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Buccaneers will host the Bridgewater State University Bears in the 41st Annual Cranberry Bowl game, presented by A&A Metro Transportation. This football game kicks off the bowl season in New England every year. The winner takes home the prestigious "Cranberry Scoop" as the champion of the annual match-up. Bridgewater leads the series, 29-10-1 having won last year's matchup 21-7. The Bears also lead the all-time series, 32-12-1, as the two teams met five times prior to the arrival of the Cranberry Bowl beginning in 1974. This year's game also carries a little more importance as the winner will also secure third place in the MASCAC standings.
The Cranberry Bowl came about in 1979 thanks to former Bridgewater State coach Peter Mazzaferro who petitioned the Edaville Railroad in Carver to aid in promoting the local rivalry between the two colleges. Edaville Railroad donated the prestigious "Cranberry Scoop" which is the trophy given to the winning team each year. The original "Scoop" was retired after the 2005 season and since replaced by a newer version donated by Ocean Spray, who served as the game's sponsor from 2006 to 2018. The Cranberry Bowl has traditionally been a hard-hitting affair with team records just a meaningless statistic because whoever wins, captures not only the Cranberry Scoop, but also the bragging rights for the Southeastern Massachusetts football area.
The Lee Harrington Trophy is given to the game's MVP and is named after former Bridgewater State Dean and Mass. Maritime President, Lee F. Harrington. Last season, Bridgewater senior wide receiver Jack Lavanchy was named MVP after catching five balls for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Former BSU standout quarterback Mike McCarthy is the only three-time winner of the award as he earned the accolade in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
The game has been the season opener for both teams as well as the season finale. It has been played in September, October and November. It has featured close games and lopsided victories, but it has always held a special place in the hearts of the players, coaches, students, administrators and fans of both colleges.
Coming in to this year's game, the Bears are currently in third place in the MASCAC with a 5-2 conference record, 5-4 overall. The Buccaneers currently sit in fourth place in the conference with a 4-3 conference record, 6-3 overall. The 6-3 mark is a program best since 1999 when the team finished 8-2. The six wins is also the most wins for the Buccaneers under 15th year head coach Jeremy Cameron. If all goes according to plan, the winner of this year's Cranberry Bowl game will finish their season in third place in the conference.
On offense for the Bears, senior captain and quarterback Stefano D'Emilia (Bridgewater, Mass) has completed 155 of 253 passes (61.3%) for 2,013 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The senior signal called has also run the ball 47 times for 69 yards and five touchdowns. D'Emilia's 20 touchdown passes are good for third in the conference while his 2,013 passing yards are fourth in the MASCAC heading in to Saturday's game. On the ground, senior running back Nick Santavicca (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) has run the ball 133 times for 612 yards and seven touchdowns, leading the Bears in all of those categories. His rush yard total is fifth best in the conference while he is tied for third in touchdowns. Junior wide receiver T.J. Hairston (Watertown, Mass) leads Bridgewater with 46 catches on the season for 555 yards and four touchdowns. Though he leads the team in receptions and yards senior wide out William Watts (Pembroke, Mass) leads the team in touchdowns with five. Watts has caught 35 balls for 497 yards. Hairston's 555 yards Is fifth best in the league while Watts 497 yards is eighth best. Both are also top ten in terms of receiving numbers in conference.
On the defensive side of the ball for Bridgewater sophomore Steven Silvia (Dighton, Mass) leads the team in tackles with 67, tied for seventh in the MASCAC. Sophomore defensive lineman Dimitri Dorinvil (Brockton, Mass) has 4.5 sacks on the season to lead the Bears. Senior defensive back Chris Easter (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) is the team leader with three interceptions on the season, tied for fourth best in the conference. Senior captain Chris Gemayel (Dedham, Mass) has posted 12.5 tackles for loss this season, tied for sixth best in the league.
Sophomore kicker Thomas Fay (Raynham, Mass) has converted 30 of 37 extra points this season but has missed all four of his field goal attempts. D'Emilia has handled the majority of the Bridgewater punting duties, punting 26 times for 975 yards, an average of 37.5 yards per punt.
For the Buccaneers on offense, senior quarterback Matt Long (Weymouth, Mass) has done it all for the Buccaneers this season. In the run game he has run the ball 171 times for 892 yards, tops in the conference, and has scored 19 rushing touchdowns. The 19 scores on the ground is not only tops in the conference, 11 ahead of the next player, but is also the third most in the entire nation for division III football. In the passing game, Long has completed 84 of 178 passes for 1,054 yards and three touchdowns while also throwing four interceptions. Senior quarterback Ty Ebdon (Gales Ferry, Conn) has come in in big spots for the Bucs this season, completing 21 of 29 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Will Bennett (Sandwich, Mass) has also gotten in on the passing game completing 3-of-3 passes on the year for 50 yards and a touchdown. Behind Long in the backfield sophomore running back Conner Reynolds (Norton, Mass) has carried the ball 96 times for 346 yards and a touchdown. Freshman running back Ja'iel Johnson (Dodge City, Kan) has gotten in the mix running the ball 50 times for 151 yards and a score this season as well. Though Bennett did throw a touchdown pass he is better known for his abilities as a receiver. He has caught 27 balls for 571 yards, fourth most in the MASCAC, and two touchdowns. Senior receiver Ryan McNally (Sandwich, Mass) has caught 23 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns this season.
On defense, junior linebacker Jack Fontana (Grafton, Mass) leads the team and the MASCAC in tackles with 88. Defensive line duo senior Kyle Johnston (Raynham, Mass) and junior Colin McCabe (Dartmouth, Mass) have made 11.5 and 9.5 sacks respectively this season for the Bucs which is good for first and second in the league. Johnston's 11.5 sacks is tied for fifth in the nation while Colin's 9.5 is good for 13th among all division III teams. Johnston is second in the conference with 16.5 tackles for loss while McCabe is fourth with 14.5. Cornerback Austin Stahmer (Wareham, Mass) leads the conference with five interceptions on the season which is also the third highest mark in the nation.
Kicker/punter George Lampros (Bridgewater, Mass) has converted 29 of 30 extra points this season and has made four of his six field goal attempts with a long of 32 yards. His consistent performance in 2019 has earned him MASCAC Special Teams Player of the Week honors five times. In the punting game Lampros has punted the ball 26 times for 1,103 yards, an average of 42.4 yards with a long punt of 62 yards. Long has also punted for the Bucs this year, 39 times for 1,564 yards, an average of 40.1 yards. He has had a long punt of 66 yards and pinned opponents inside their own 20 yard line 17 times. In the kick return game, J. Johnson is one of only two players in the conference to have returned a kick for a touchdown. He had 11 returns for 310 yards and the 87-yard touchdown on the season.
Coming in to the game, the Bears lost their matchup last week to Framingham, 40-20, after having won five in a row. The Buccaneers beat UMass-Dartmouth a week ago, 28-14, after having lost three of their previous four games.
Needless to say, both of these teams are very evenly matched and have a number of playmakers in all three phases of the game that will make the 41st Annual Cranberry Bowl an instant classic when the teams kick off at 12pm from Clean Harbors Stadium in Buzzards Bay on Saturday.
Below is a year by year list of results from each Cranberry Bowl. For more statistical information on each team you can go to mmabucs.com or bsubears.com.
Cranberry Bowl Results (1979 - 2018)
1979 Mass. Maritime 8, Bridgewater State 3
1980 Mass. Maritime 10, Bridgewater State 7
1981 Mass. Maritime 28, Bridgewater State 7
1982 Bridgewater State 23, Mass. Maritime 14
1983 Bridgewater State 19, Mass. Maritime 8
1984 Mass. Maritime 10, Bridgewater State 3
1985 Mass. Maritime 10, Bridgewater State 6
1986 Bridgewater State 14, Mass. Maritime 14
1987 Mass. Maritime 18, Bridgewater State 17
1988 Bridgewater State 20, Mass. Maritime 3
1989 Bridgewater State 34, Mass. Maritime 14
1990 Bridgewater State 49, Mass. Maritime 7
1991 Bridgewater State 16, Mass. Maritime 13
1992 Bridgewater State 34, Mass. Maritime 13
1993 Bridgewater State 41, Mass. Maritime 13
1994 Bridgewater State 33, Mass. Maritime 12
1995 Bridgewater State 25, Mass. Maritime 21
1996 Mass. Maritime 9, Bridgewater State 7
1997 Bridgewater State 33, Mass. Maritime 14
1998 Bridgewater State 28, Mass. Maritime 16
1999 Bridgewater State 41, Mass. Maritime 23
2000 Bridgewater State 41, Mass. Maritime 22
2001 Bridgewater State 28, Mass. Maritime 20
2002 Bridgewater State 48, Mass. Maritime 18
2003 Bridgewater State 45, Mass. Maritime 28
2004 Bridgewater State 33, Mass. Maritime 7
2005 Bridgewater State 42, Mass. Maritime 6
2006 Bridgewater State 34, Mass. Maritime 19
2007 Bridgewater State 38, Mass. Maritime 31
2008 Bridgewater State 34, Mass. Maritime 7
2009 Bridgewater State 20, Mass. Maritime 7
2010 Mass. Maritime 23, Bridgewater State 7
2011 Bridgewater State 38, Mass. Maritime 35
2012 Bridgewater State 31, Mass. Maritime 21
2013 Bridgewater State 45, Mass. Maritime 20
2014 Mass. Maritime 31, Bridgewater State 21
2015 Bridgewater State 64, Mass. Maritime 42
2016 Bridgewater 37, Mass. Maritime 14
2017 Mass. Maritime 21, Bridgewater State 18
2018 Bridgewater 21, Mass. Maritime 7