October 5, 2010

First time for everything

More news about: Castleton State | Endicott | SUNY-Maritime
Taylor Allen
Taylor Allen hurdled a Curry defender Saturday en route to a 17-yard reception.
Photo for Endicott by Spartan Sportshots

It's not often that a quarterback throws for more than 400 yards two weeks in a row. Or that a back eclipses the 300-yard rushing mark. Or that anyone in the New England Football Conference beats Curry.

But all of those things happened on a beautiful Saturday filled with homecomings and thrilling comebacks.

Endicott slayed the giant. The Gulls beat perennial power Curry for the first time in the eight-year history of the program. They did it in front of a homecoming crowd that Endicott coach J.B. Wells figures contained about 100 former players who were on teams that never beat Curry.

"After the game they told me that they felt like they had just beaten Curry. I told them, 'You did. You're alumni,'" Wells said.

The Gulls trailed Curry 24-13 at one point. This marked the second straight week that quarterback Phil Konopka led a late comeback.

Konopka threw two touchdown passes to Ryan Carino. Mike Fimiani was also a big piece of Konopka's big day that included 297 yards passing with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Fimiani had six of the catches. Konopka, Carino and Fimiani are roommates. It's been a pretty happy home this year.

"Carino and Konopka are from the same neck of the woods in Connecticut. They went to different high schools, but they literally live right around the corner from one another," Wells said.

That means working out together and running routes in the summer. It's transferring to contending in the Boyd Division of the NEFC where the Gulls are 2-0.

"These guys believe they can win any game," Wells said.

"We put the game on Konopka's shoulders a little bit and he responded."

One TD pass to Carino went for 56 yards, but it was actually a short toss with Carino doing plenty of work after the catch, breaking tackles.

It's been quite a year for the junior quarterback, but Wells says you haven't seen his best. "He has just barely scratched the surface," Wells said. "He works hard at it and he is going to get a lot better."

Part of the equation for the success, Wells said, is quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator Tony Volpone. "The two of them have a good relationship," Wells said. "It's a partnership."

Wells likes what is happening on both sides of the ball. "Our defense played great against Curry," he said. "Curry had to earn everything it got."

"And it's tough to get a bead on our offense. It's not any one guy. Curry did a good job against the run but our back Mike Lane got some yards rushing and made a catch. He still had a 100 yards of total offense."

Curry is still Curry, said Wells.

"They are the top dog until somebody takes that place."

Now, it's another home game against a Nichols team that has struggled to win, but has played its opponents tough.

"The coaches talked after the game about the fact we can't get sucked into a trap game," Wells said.

"Mount Ida is a good example. They were coming off that huge, emotional win against Norwich and they got beat by Castleton.

"Bill Carven (the Nichols coach) is a good coach and they run the ball well. Anytime you do a good job of running the ball, you have a chance to win.

"We told our players they could enjoy the win for 24 hours. Then, we have to shut it down and get ready for the next opponent."

Two weeks ago Castleton State quarterback Shane Brozowski threw for 413 yards in a victory at Gallaudet and all the nation saw was his interception.That's because the Bison's Tony Tatum and Shelby Bean combined for an incredible pick that began when Tatum was airborne out of bounds and tipped the ball to his teammate for an amazing play that was shown on ESPN and all sorts of websites.

But Brozowski did not throw a single pick in Saturday's 38-34 comback victory over Mount Ida and this time he threw for 461 yards in front of a frenzied homecoming crowd of 3,445.

Ida's Johrone Bunch was amazing enough with a workhorse performance. He carried 49 times for 340 yards and three touchdowns.

Brozowski also ran for two scores, including the game-winner with 32 seconds left. He was back in the pocket, saw an opening and sprinted 16 yards to the end zone.

"The middle of the field was wide open," Brozowski said. "My line gave me great protection the whole drive."

Castleton trailed by 10 points when Ida scored with 6:28 remaining.

"This is storybook. This isn't supposed to happen," said Rich Alercio, head coach of the second-year Castleton program.

Running wild
Maine Maritime rebounded from last week's loss to Fitchburg State by running over Worcester State 61-32 in a key NEFC Bogan Division game as fullback Jim Bower steamrolled his way to 239 yards and three touchdowns.

Norwich also did it on the ground in a 64-7 win against Becker. The Cadets rushed for 557 yards with quarterback Kris Sabourin, Andrew Fulford and Danny Triplett all eclipsing the 100-yard mark and Kyle Marzeoti running for three touchdowns in an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference game.

Gallaudet: Now here's a video
Gallaudet got plenty of national attention in the loss to Castleton with the now famous interception. This was even better. This time it was a victory as the Bison got past Husson 13-6 with Mike Gimeli rushing for 148 yards and quarterback Jimmy Gardner picking up another 130. Gallaudet did not complete a single pass.

A Bear of a defense
The Western New England Golden Bears are off to the best start in their 30-year history and they did it with defense, beating Salve Regina 10-5. WNEC is 4-1 and,most importantly, 2-0 in the Boyd Division.

Westfield State also did it 'D' as the Owls blanked Bridgewater State 15-0. Luke Johnson rushed for 132 yards and a score.

Long time coming
The Bates Bobcats beat Tufts 21-20 in a New England Small College Athletic Conference game and it was their first win over the Jumbos since 1985, a span of 24 games.

It was a 19-yard field goal by Gavin Segall-Abrams that lifted the Bobcats to the win with 3:14 remaining. Ryan Katon threw two TD passes for Bates.

Now, Bates gets to play its home opener while dedicating renovated Garcelon Field.

Williams will be trying to ruin the party and stretch its record to 2-0.

Williams stayed perfect by beating Trinity 29-21. It was special for the Williams seniors who had never beaten the Bantams.

Pat Moffitt threw four interceptions for Willliams but he also tossed four touchdowns and was 22 of 37 for 389 yards.

Trinity quarterback Craig Drusbosky had some pretty big numbers himself, going 28-of-55 for 256 yards and two touchdowns.

Mules kick Middlebury

Colby surprised Middlebury, 38-27, with Nick Kmetz throwing two touchdown passes to Patrick Burns. Middlebury's Donnie McKillop threw for 312 yards and two scores but was picked off twice by Derrick Beasley.

Corsairs maroon MIT
UMass-Dartmouth's Eric Pacy rushed for both touchdowns as the Corsairs beat MIT 14-7.

'V' for victory and Vetras at Amherst
Alex Vetras threw for a career-high 340 yards and three touchdowns as Amherst romped over Bowdoin 28-7.

Amherst is 2-0 while outscoring the opposition 82-7. The Lord Jeffs have also won 10 straight games. They and Williams are the only two unbeaten teams in the NESCAC.

'Shea' it ain't so
They won't soon forget Wesleyan's Shea Dwyer at Hamilton. He rushed for a school-record 213 yards and five touchdowns in the Cardinals' 35-21 win. Dwyer leads the NESCAC in rushing with 166 yards per game. He is averaging 7.7 yards per carry.

Gerken great for CG
Eric Gerken had a Coast Guard record 167 yards in punt returns with 85 of them coming on one return for a touchdown. He also had 277 all-purpose yards and both Bear touchdowns. Not enough? He had 10 receptions for 110 yards, both career highs. Certainly, a homecoming he will never forget as Coast Guard beat Fitchburg State 19-7.

Privateers 5-0
Fullback Jamie Spanopoulos rushed for two touchdowns as SUNY-Maritime's magical season coninued.

A program-best record of 5-0 is heady stuff, but coach Clayton Kendrick-Holmes sure knows how to temper it.

"It's great to be 5-0, but the worst we could be is 5-5 and that's not a very good season," he said.

The Privateers have had their No. 1 quarterback go down, but they have not missed a beat, doing it with different guys each week. This time it was a 43-20 win at Anna Maria.

"Somebody called our offense spider-like and I think that's a pretty good description. We have a ton of guys who run the ball and a ton of guys who catch the ball," Kendrick-Holmes said. "We don't have a featured guy. That's the way it is with the triple option.

"The guys don't care about their stats. They would just rather win."

Since Joe Dickey has been pressed into service as the quarterback he has responded as Kendrick-Holmes thought he would.

"Joey is a good athlete," Kendrick-Holmes said. "We had moved him to running back because I didn't want him standing next to me (as the backup quarterback)," Kendrick Holmes said. "We have full confidence in him."

Anniversary victory
It was on the same week back in 1970 that Plymouth State started football in the grandest way possible. Alan Wool, the first Panther to touch a football in a game, took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown. That was against Nichols.

Guess who was in town Saturday for the 40th anniversary celebration of Plymouth State football?

It was Nichols and the Panthers shut them out 17-0 with members of the 1970 team on hand and honored at halftime.

Leone, McCarthy combo big for Rams
Kurt Leone fired five touchdown passes to Kevin McCarthy as Framingham State moved to 2-0 in the Bogan Division where the Rams are looking more and more like a contender.

Picked for only sixth place in the division by the coaches in the preseason poll, the Rams throttled Mass. Maritime, 48-20.

McCarthy had 12 catches for 212 yards, a performance tha earned him NEFC co-offensive player of the week honors along with Konopka.

Leone was 28-of-31 for 320 yards. 

The Big Games
Who would have ever thought it? The big game this week in the ECFC features Castleton hosting SUNY-Maritime in the showdown for first place between teams 2-0 in the league.

"It's going to be a neat environment," said Kendrick-Holmes of his first trip to Spartan Stadium.

"I wish Castleton wasn't getting so good so fast. But I'm happy for them."

The big one in the NESCAC has Amherst bringing its 10-game winning streak into Middlebury. The Lord Jeffs will have to weather the aerial assault of record-setting Donnie McKillop to get the next one. The 1-1 Panthers can hardly afford another loss.

The NEFC has red-hot and 4-1 Western New England going on the road to take on a Curry team reeling from a rare league loss. This will be a key game in the Boyd Division race.

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Tom Haley

A seven time Vermont sportswriter of the year, Tom Haley has been with the Rutland Herald since 1987. He was inducted into the Castleton State College Hall of Fame in 2004 and received the Contributor to Football Award from the National Football Foundation's Vermont Chapter.

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