BEVERLY, Mass. – Five seniors scored all seven of Endicott's touchdowns in a 49-14 victory over MIT on Senior Night in the regular season finale for both teams. The Blue and Green improved to 8-2 overall on the season with a 6-1 divisional record, placing them second behind Salve Regina in the NEFC Boyd Division standings.
Salve Regina, with a 6-1 record in NEFC Boyd Division play this season as well, holds the tiebreaker over the Gulls and will move on to face Framingham State in the conference championship game next weekend. Endicott will likely host an ECAC DIII Bowl Game in two weeks against an opponent to be announced.
MIT wraps up their regular season 5-4 (4-3 NEFC Boyd), marking their first winning season since 1999 when the Engineers were 6-4 overall.
Four of Endicott's seven touchdowns came from the rushing game as senior tailbacks Jared DiBiase (Cranston, R.I.) and Mike Wheeler (Hanover, Mass.) each found the end zone twice. The duo combined for 243 yards rushing, 136 for Wheeler and 107 for DiBiase. Both players finished the regular season with three games of at least 100 yards rushing or more and combined for nearly 1,600 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns.
Up 14-0 after DiBiase's second touchdown early in the second quarter, Endicott used an Andrew Holfinger interception to get the ball back on the MIT 10-yard line. Two plays later, sophomore quarterback Drew Frenette (New Bedford, Mass.) found senior Mike Murphy (Chelmsford, Mass.) for five yards to the corner of the end zone to put Endicott ahead 21-0.
The Gulls defense forced a three-and-out and after runs of 13 and five yards by Wheeler, Frenette connected with senior Cameron Lett (Waltham, Mass.) up the middle of the field. Lett fought his way 45 yards across the goal line for his fifth touchdown of the season.
MIT got the ball back with 10:13 remaining in the first half and conducted a 10-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a Peter Williams (Portland, Ore.) five yard scramble for an Engineers touchdown to cut the Gulls lead down to 28-7. All 10 plays were on the ground as Williams ran for 38 yards on the drive.
Endicott, however, would go into halftime up 42-7 as they successfully found the end zone on their final two drives, both on rushing touchdowns by Wheeler.
In the third quarter, Endicott started a drive with 6:00 on the clock and kept the ball for over 10 minutes, capping off the 19-play, 95-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run by senior Jimmy Nguyen (Methuen, Mass.) to go up 49-7. For Nguyen, it was the first touchdown of his career at both the collegiate and high school level as he ran for 15 yards on the final three plays to get in the end zone.
MIT would score the final touchdown of the game as sophomore running back Justin Wallace (Palatine, Ill.) ran the ball in from three yard out to cap off the scoring at 49-14.
Frenette finished the game 18-of-20 for 205 yards and two touchdowns. Frenette completed 18 straight passes in the first half and his 90.0% completion percentage set a new Endicott record. Lett led the team with 97 yards receiving.
Defensively, junior lineman Marcell Cooper (Dorchester, Mass.) had a team-high 13 tackles, eight solo, while senior linebacker Craig Lussier (Dracut, Mass.) added 11 takedowns. Holfinger added a forced fumble and sack to go along with his interception and defensive back Davas Wright (Fall River, Mass.) had two pass breakups in the win.
The Engineers were led by Wallace who had 84 yards on the ground with one score. Williams threw for 129 yards while rushing for 47 and a touchdown. Sophomore tailback Brad Goldsberry (Elizabeth, Colo.) finished five receptions 42 yards.
MIT junior linebacker Jake Laux (Dousman, Wis.) had a game-high 16 tackles, 10 of which were solo. Matt Merlino (Vancouver, Wash.) and Rhys Borchert (Pocatello, Idaho) were also in double figures for tackles with 13 and 10, respectively.