CASTLETON, Vt. – The Endicott football team earned their first victory of the 2013 season on the road as the Gulls handed ECFC opponent Castleton State a 43-7 loss on their own field Saturday afternoon. The Blue and Green got 19 points from senior kicker Dylan Rushe (Palos Verdes, Calif.) on five field goals and four extra points which nearly tied a NCAA Division III record (20 points, six FGs).
Endicott (1-1) also got seven turnovers from their defense, including three interceptions and three fumble recoveries, and nearly 450 yards of total offense. The Gulls will continue their non-conference schedule on Saturday, September 21st at home against Kean University at Endicott Stadium.
Rushe drilled three field goals of over 40 yards and two more from inside 30 yards. His five field goal set career-high, previously set at four back on September 3rd, 2011 againstFramingham State, and his 19 overall points broke his personal record set back in the same game. Rushe's four extra points came after two touchdown passes by junior quarterback Drew Frenette (New Bedford, Mass.), a touchdown run for sophomoreSpencer Walsh (Malden, Mass.), and an interception return by senior linebacker Kyle Connolly (Berlin, Conn.).
The Gulls defense held Castleton State to just 10 total first downs, under 250 yards of total offense, and forced seven turnovers. Endicott seniors Curtis Manuel (Beverly, Mass.) andNick Kozlowski (Beverly, Mass.) led the team with seven tackles each while freshman defensive end Craig Anderson (Franklin, Mass.) added six takedowns including a sack. Junior defensive back Jake Cox (Wrentham, Mass.) intercepted Spartans quarterback Tyler Higley twice for 21 return yards. Connolly recorded the other interception, a pick-six for 22 yards to the Castleton State end zone to cap off the scoring in the fourth quarter. Kozlowski forced a fumble which was recovered by senior defensive lineman Marcell Cooper(Dorchester, Mass.).
Rushe's 42-yard field goal at the 8:05 mark of the first quarter accounted for the first points of the game, but Castleton State quickly responded as Higley found wide out Kevin Alberque for a 46-yard touchdown to put the Spartans ahead 7-3 midway through the opening quarter. Rushe hit another field goal, this time from 27 yards out, before the end of the first to make the score 7-6 going into the second quarter.
Endicott continued to rely on Rushe to get points as his 25-yard boot through the uprights capped off a nine-play, 84-yard drive. The Endicott defense forced a three-and-out and with the ball, the offense needed just four plays to reach the end zone for the first time on the day. Senior tight end Greg Dellorco (Franklin, Mass.) caught a 35-yard pass from Frenette to put the Blue and Green on top 16-7. Later in the quarter, Rushe nailed a 42-yard field goal as Endicott took a 19-7 lead going into halftime.
On Endicott's first possession of the second half, Frenette passed for 43 yards and Walsh rushed for 34 yards in a drive that resulted in a touchdown catch for sophomoreJamison Craft (Phillipston, Mass.). Craft's 19-yard touchdown reception gave the Gulls a 26-7 advantage. Later in the third quarter, Frenette would connect with receiver Alec Matys (Woburn, Mass.) to put Endicott on the one-yard-line and Walsh finished the drive by punching it in the end zone.
In the fourth quarter, Rushe added his final field goal from 44 yards out and Connolly intercepted Higley for a pick-six with 2:14 left in the game.
Frenette finished the game 23-of-32 for 272 yards and two touchdowns in his season debut. Walsh rushed for 138 yards on 26 carries (5.3 per carry) with one score. Brett Egizi(Westwood, Mass.), Craft, and Matys all had a team-high four catches with 50-plus yards receiving. Craft and Dellorco had the touchdown receptions.