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Big return lifts Bengals; ECC rolls

Dale Stewart (Niagara Falls) returned a kickoff 100 yards and Rey Jordan (McKinley) intercepted two passes deep in Buffalo State territory in the fourth quarter to help the Bengals to a 28-16 Empire 8 Conference victory at Utica College. It was the fourth straight win for the Bengals (5-3, 3-2 Empire 8), who are in a three-way tie for second in the conference behind Cortland (5-1). Utica (4-4, 3-3) had defeated Ithaca last week.

In New Berlin, Sam Castronova (Williamsville South) passed for four touchdowns, two to Ryan Dougherty (Bishop Timon-St. Jude) and two to Xavier Maye (International Prep), as Erie Community College snapped a four-game losing streak with a resounding 44-3 victory over Milford Academy (4-2). Chris Davis rushed eight times for 118 yards, including a 27-yard scoring run for the Kats.

Stewart’s return equaled a Buffalo State record and helped him pile up 204 all-purpose yards, including 104 rushing.

A muffed punt return set up an 11-yard TD pass from Aaron Ertel (Depew) to Madison Wesolowski (Iroquois) in the first quarter. Utica matched that score when Pat Carroll recovered Ertel’s fumble in the end zone. A sack by the Bengals’ Khalil Sommerville (Bennett) in the end zone produced a safety and a 20-yard run by Tre Jones (111 rushing yards) gave Buffalo State a 16-7 halftime lead.

Stewart’s long return came after the second of two Utica field goals in the third quarter. A third field goal by Utica’s Thomas Woodburn made it 22-16 in the fourth quarter before Stewart scored on a 1-yard run. Jordan sealed the victory with his two interceptions. He picked off one at the Buffalo State 11 and the other in the end zone, returning it 77 yards with 2:21 left.

Buffalo State held Utica to 35 yards rushing. Ertel completed just 8 of 24 passes for 49 yards but the Bengals ran for 199. Shaq Frederick had 18 tackles and a sack and John Alessandra (Kenmore East) had 10 tackles for Buffalo State.