DUDLEY, Mass. (Oct. 8) – The Endicott College football team racked up 418 yards of offense en route to its sixth-straight win of the season, a 51-14 NEFC Boyd Division victory over Nichols at Vendetti Field Saturday afternoon. The Gulls received three TDs on 16-of-22 passing and 162 yards from senior QB Phil Konopka (Shelton, Conn.) and improve to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in Boyd Division action. Nichols falls to 0-6 overall and 0-3 in league play.
Endicott led, 28-0, in the second quarter before Nichols got on the board, and outscored the home team, 16-7, in the second half using three field goals, including a 46-yarder from Dylan Rushe (Palos Verdes, Calif.) in the fourth to seal the game. Rushe finished the day with two field goals and a 6-6 PAT kicking effort to go with 398 yards on eight kickoffs and two punts averaging 29 yards.
On the ground, Mike Lane (Medfield, Mass.) logged 131 yards on 30 carries, scoring the first TD of the game less than seven minutes in to cap a 13 play, 71-yard drive on Endicott's first possession after forcing the Bison to punt on their opening drive. The Gulls opened the scoring drive with three consecutive first downs, and after a Konopka pass was overthrown in the endzone, Lane sealed the deal with a 12-yard run.
A Bill Hickey (Walpole. Mass.) interception set up the Gulls' next scoring drive, as Konopka found Ryan Carino (Stratford, Conn.) for passes of 11 and 12 yards, scoring with a fade to the right corner of the end zone for a 14-0 lead with 2:32 left in the quarter.
The Gulls opened the second quarter with another scoring drive, marching 80 yards on eight plays in less than three minutes, capped by a 13-yard play action pass from Konopka to Taylor Allen (Westboro, Mass.) the back of the endzone.
A Mike Rubalcaba (Barre, Vt.) interception set up the Bison at their own 33, but Nichols quickly found themselves at fourth-and-five at their own 38 and decided to punt. The snap sailed over Bison punter Tyler Nordbeck's (Norton, Mass.) head and was recovered by Mike Wheeler (Hanover, Mass.), who raced it back 13 yards for a touchdown five minutes later as Endicott expanded its lead to four possessions.
Nichols got on the board, however, on the Bison's next drive. After recouping from a delay of game penalty at the Endicott 39, David Gonzalez (Springfield, Mass.) caught a direct line from Jacob Shoup (Boca Raton, Fla.) before breaking a tackle and racing it down the near sideline for a 44-yard TD and a 28-7 score. Gonzalez finished with 77 yards on four catches.
Late in the half Tyler Pochebit (Portland, Maine) blocked a Nordbeck punt, recovered it and ran it back seven yards to extend the Gulls' lead to 35-7.
Tremayne Barnes (West Haven, Conn.) ran back the ensuing kickoff 48 yards, aided by a key block from Alex Tavares (Pawtucket, R.I.), and Shoup followed with a 28-yard connection with Gonzalez. But a Craig Lussier (Dracut, Mass.) sack stalled the Bison at the Endicott 11 and a Bill Crory (Townsend, Mass.) field goal missed right to send the teams into the break with Endicott leading, 35-7.
Lane rushed seven times for 19 yards to set up Konopka for a four-yard scoring pass to Ryan Carino on Endicott's final touchdown drive of the game early in the third quarter.
On the final three Gulls' possessions, they recorded three field goals, starting with a 10 play, 69-yard drive capped by a 28-yarder from Rushe with 1:33 left in the third.
As Christopher Kerrigan (Hyde Park, Mass.) returned the ensuing squib kickoff 10 yards to the Bison 36, Irie Perry (West Palm Beach, Fla.) ran it eight yards and then converted on fourth down with a six-yard push to end the frame. The Bison continued their momentum, driving 64 yards with the benefit of a roughing the passer penalty before John Sindone (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) caught a 19-yard scoring pass from Dan Snyder (Stoughton, Mass.), breaking a tackle as he crossed into the endzone.
Endicott capped the game's scoring with field goals on its final possessions, scoring on a 46-yarder from Rushe and a 31-yard attempt from Shawn Clukey (Derry, N.H.) with less than a minute remaining.
Kevin Eagan (West Hartford, Conn.) led Endicott with 10 tackles, including three for a loss, recording nine in the first half. Peter Curto (Braintree, Mass.) paced the Nichols defense with 10, while Kerrigan and Paul Craig (New London, Conn.) each had nine, including seven solo for Kerrigan. Nordbeck finished with 214 yards on five punts, averaging 42.8 yards.
Both teams continue Boyd Division action next weekend. Endicott hosts Plymouth State at 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 15. Nichols travels to UMass Dartmouth for a 1 p.m. game the same day.