MILTON, Mass. – Junior Kevin Fruwirth (Agawam, Mass.) connected with senior Rob Bambini (Westwood, Mass.) on a 39-yard touchdown pass with just one second remaining in regulation as Curry College outlasted visiting Western New England University, 35-32, in New England Football Conference (NEFC) Boyd Division action Saturday afternoon in Milton. Both teams now stand at 3-3 overall, with the Colonels improving to 2-1 in division play and the Golden Bears falling to 1-2 in Boyd action.
WNE scored the only points of the first period, capitalizing on a muffed punt return by Curry. The Golden Bears recovered the ball on the Colonels' 20-yard line and used three plays to march into the end zone. The score came with 9:04 remaining in the opening frame on an eight-yard push by sophomore Mike Ozzella (Medway, Mass.).
With 11:50 left in the first half, the Colonels knotted the game at 7-7 after Fruwirth threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Jordan Shairs (Gloucester, Mass.) , capping off a six-play, 36-yard drive. WNE reclaimed the lead (10-7) on its next possession with a 41-yard field goal by sophomore Nick Fox-Edele (Springfield, Mass.).
Curry's next possession resulted in a touchdown with 4:08 on the clock after a 13-play, 65-yard drive was capped off with the first (19 yards) of four Fruwirth to Bambini connections. Four minutes later, after forcing the Golden Bears into a three-and-out, Bambini hauled in a five-yard touchdown reception, wrapping up an eight-play, 85-yard drive and giving the Colonels a 21-10 edge heading into intermission.
Just over five minutes into the second half, WNE senior Andrew Imperatore (Wyckoff, N.J.) recovered a Curry fumble on the Colonels' 34-yard line. Following the turnover, the Golden Bears' offense recorded the only points of the third quarter and trimmed the deficit to four (21-17). The touchdown came after sophomore Kevin Cook (Hamburg, N.J.) rushed seven-straight times for 32 yards, and junior John Krafick (New Milford, Conn.) used a one-yard quarterback sneak to find the end zone.
Fox-Edele booted his second field goal of the game (30 yards) and cut WNE's deficit to one (21-20) with 8:35 remaining in the fourth. On the Colonels' next possession, they extended their lead to eight (28-20) after Bambini reeled in a 39-yard scoring strike from Fruwirth. After WNE was forced to punt on its next drive, Golden Bears' sophomore Walter Lewis (Torrington, Conn.) recorded an interception and was tackled at the Curry 33. The interception set up a two-play scoring drive that culminated with a seven-yard sprint by Ozzella. After WNE failed on a two-point conversation, the Colonels still led 28-26 with 3:18 left in regulation.
Curry turned the ball over on downs on its next possession, leaving 1:45 on the clock with the Golden Bears on their own 32-yard line. WNE used six plays to march 68 yards downfield to take a 32-28 lead with 37 seconds remaining. The drive was capped off with another one-yard touchdown rush by Krafick.
After fair catching a short kickoff, the Colonels began their final possession on their own 35-yard line. On the drive, Fruwirth completed two passes to junior Skubie Mageza (Revere, Mass.) for 17 total yards and one pass to Shairs for nine yards before connecting with Bambini for the 39-yard game-winning touchdown with one second left on the clock.
Curry held significant edges in first downs (24-15), total offense (457-299) and time of possession (35:41-24:19).
Fruwirth was 30-of-50 for 392 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. Bambini pulled in 14 receptions for 177 yards and four touchdowns, while Mageza reeled in seven catches for 157 yards. For the Golden Bears, Krafick was 14-of-29 for 125 yards with two interceptions. He also recorded 53 net rushing yards on five carries with two touchdowns. Cook had a game-high 107 net rushing yards on 25 carries.
On defense, juniors Jeff Claffey (Medway, Mass.) and Sam Calley (Weymouth, Mass.) led the Colonels with five solo tackles apiece. Sophomore Jose Rodriguez (Taunton, Mass.) chipped in with five total tackles (4 solo) and also recorded an interception. WNE was led by junior Nathan Fleming (Willimantic, Conn.) with a game-high 12 total tackles (9 solo), including one tackle for loss (-2 yards). Senior Corey Brown (Worcester, Mass.) and sophomore Kyle Jones (Winsted, Conn.) added six total tackles each. Jones also had two tackles for loss (-3 yards).
Both teams return to action next Saturday, as Curry travels to Salve Regina for a 12:00 p.m. contest, while the Golden Bears host MIT at 1:00 p.m.