FRAMINGHAM, MA -- The Framingham State University RAMS Football team needed a blocked field goal attempt by Jared Martino in the final seconds to hold on for a 9-8 victory over Westfield State University in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference action at Bowditch Field in Framingham, Mass.
After a scoreless first half, the Rams got on the board on the opening drive of the second half when Matthew Farley converted a 27-yard field goal.
The Owls took the lead in the closing minute of the third quarter when Fernandez completed a 22-yard touchdown pass to Michael Foley. The Owls went for two and converted to lead 8-3.
Oyaronbi recovered an Owl fumble early in the fourth quarter to set up the Rams scoring drive. After a rush for one yard, Nichols lateraled to Ford who found Lara down the sideline for a 54-yard gain into Owl territory. Nichols and Ford connected for 22 yards moving the ball into the redzone. Ford capped the drive with a three-yard touchdown run. The Rams went for two and failed giving them the 9-8 lead with 6:59 to play.
On the final possession of the game for the Owls that started with 3:57 on the clock, Westfield converted a 4th and 3 at the Framingham 40 with 1:28 to play, keeping the drive alive. Passes of seven and 18 yards by Fernandez moved the ball down to the 15-yard line. The Owls opted to run the clock down to under 10 seconds and attempted a 32-yard field goal that was blocked by Martino with two seconds remaining.
Martino was named the recipient of the 2023 Calder Award which is presented annually to the MVP of the Homecoming Game in memory of former Ram John Calder. Martino blocked a 32-yard field goal attempt by the Owls with just two seconds left on the clock to secure the victory. Martino recorded 10 tackles in the game including seven solo stops with 3.5 for a loss.
Chase Buono finished the game with eight stops for the Rams and Kevin Paniagua added six with a sack, while Adeboye Oyaronbi chipped in with five tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
The Rams defense held the Owls to just 194 yards of total offense in the game including just 32 yards rushing while forcing three turnovers. The Rams amassed 329 yards of offense in the game including 215 yards rushing.
Devaun Ford paced the ground game rushing for 158 yards on 24 carries with a touchdown. Ford also completed one pass for 54 yards in the game.
EJ Nichols picked up 57 yards on the ground and completed eight passes for 60 yards. Manny Lara made four catches for 62 yards.
Gabriel Fernandez completed 12-of-29 for the Owls for 162 yards with a touchdown, while Tyler Cooley led the defense with six stops and a fumble recovery.
The Rams are back in action next Saturday September 30th, 2023 when they travel to Plymouth State at 12 p.m.
Special thanks to Kathy Lynch, Assistant Director, Athletics Sports Information at Framingham State University for contributing this story.