BEVERLY, Mass. – On Homecoming Weekend, the Endicott football was able to overcome a shaky first half performance by outscoring their NEFC opponent, Maine Maritime, 32-0 in the third and fourth quarters combined en route to a 53-28 victory over the Mariners on Saturday afternoon.
The Gulls (3-2, 2-0 NEFC) saw sophomore running back Spencer Walsh (Malden, Mass.) accumulate 221 yards of total offense, 191 on the ground with two touchdowns and 30 yards receiving with another score, while junior quarterback Drew Frenette (New Bedford, Mass.) connected on 24-of-34 pass attempts for 324 yards and five touchdowns with one pick.
Frenette spread his passing yards around to eight different receivers but found sophomore Alex Matys (Woburn, Mass.) for eight grabs, 92 yards, and three touchdowns. Four other receivers surpassed 40 yards through the air while Walsh and sophomore Jamison Craft (Phillipston, Mass.) both had receiving touchdowns.
Endicott will look to head into their bye week with three straight victories as they take on NEFC foe Nichols on Saturday, October 12th at 1:00 pm. The game will be played at Vendetti Field in Dudley, Massachusetts.
Maine Maritime (0-4, 0-2 NEFC) held a 28-21 halftime lead thanks mostly to hard-nose running from senior fullback Billy Wetherbee (Veazie, Maine) and senior running back Ryan O'Neal (Higganum, Conn.). Wetherbee carried the ball 34 times for 171 yards and O'Neal broke off big runs and eclipsed the 100-yard mark with two touchdowns in the opening half. The Mariners would finish with 366 yards rushing as 69 of their 75 offensive plays were handoffs or pitches.
The Mariners look to get their first win of the season in two weeks as they hit the road to take on NEFC opponent Coast Guard on October 19th at 1:30 pm.
The Endicott defense was held on the field for over 36 game minutes as Maine Maritime was able to converting 5-of-15 third down conversions as well as all four fourth down attempts. The Gulls, however, were able to get the offense back on the field with three timely fumble recoveries and good tackling from all 11 players on the field. Seniors linebacker Nick Kozlowski (Beverly, Mass.) and senior defensive lineman Marcell Cooper (Dorchester, Mass.) each had a team-high 13 tackles with defensive back Andrew Lawson (Framingham, Mass.) and defensive lineman Kevin Pressey (Fairfield, Maine) adding 12 and 11 takedowns, respectively. Cooper added a tackle for a loss, two forced fumbles, and a pass break up at the line of scrimmage.
Maine Maritime's defense was led by senior defensive lineman Frank True (Harpswell, Maine) who had nine tackles, six of which were solo. Chase Hutchinson (Dover-Foxcroft, Maine) and Andy Martel (Standish, Maine) each added eight tackles each.
After winning the coin toss and electing to receive, Maine Maritime stunned Endicott's Homecoming crowd by scoring on their first drive as O'Neal found a hole in the line for a 36-yard touchdown run just 2:47 into the game. The Gulls on their first possession moved down the field quickly but on a 1st-and-10 play on the Mariner 10-yard line, Frenette was picked off by freshman safety Cody Chapman (Bangor, Maine) to end Endicott's early momentum. The turnover, however, would not hurt Endicott as a forced fumble by Gulls freshman defensive end Craig Anderson (Franklin, Mass.) and recover by senior Luke Somers (Hampstead, N.H.) gave the ball right back to the Blue and Green.
Later in the first quarter, Endicott would cough up the ball in Maine Maritime territory for a second time as Mariner freshman lineman Christopher Ford (Pembroke, N.H.) caused a Walsh fumble which was recovered by Chapman. Maine Maritime rushed for eight straight plays including third down conversions on the Endicott 25 and inside the 10-yard line which led to O'Neal's second touchdown of the game to make it 14-0.
At the start of the second quarter for the Gulls, already down to the Maine Maritime 12-yard line, Frenette threw a 12-yard completion to Matys for the first points of the day for the Blue and Green. On the ensuing drive for the Mariners, however, O'Neal used a 41-yard run down the Endicott six-yard-line to set up another Maine Maritime score. Wetherbee rushed down to the goal line but the ball popped loose only to be recovered by Mariners receiver Justin Lovey (West Gardiner, Maine) who found the end zone. Maine Maritime took a 21-7 lead with 11:58 left in the first half.
Frenette connected with Matys on a 21-yard route to make it 21-14, Maine Maritime fired back with a 7:33 drive that ended in Michael Fahey (Union, Conn.) touchdown pass to Lovey to go back up by two touchdowns, and Frenette brought the Gulls right back down the field for another score to go into halftime trailing 28-21.
In the second half, Endicott pulled to within one point after Matys third touchdown of the game and the extra-point sailed wide left. The Gulls defense produced a big turnover inside their own 10-yard line on the next Maine Maritime drive as junior defensive lineman Nick Almeida (Somerset, Mass.) forced a Wetherbee fumble which was picked up by Eric Dwinell (Amherst, N.H.). Endicott scored a touchdown off that turnover when Walsh fought through the Mariner defense for an 11-yard touchdown with 2:30 remaining in the third quarter. With that score, the Blue and Green held their first lead of the game at 33-28.
The Endicott defense stopped Maine Maritime on three downs to force a punt which led to a highlight reel return for freshman Jake Pelletier (Trumbull, Conn.) who found open space down the sideline for a 72-yard score to make it 40-28 Endicott. The return was the longest in Endicott history since Orlando Johnson '06 went for 74 yards back in 2006 against Curry.
In the fourth quarter, Endicott tacked 13 more points on a 30-yard touchdown pass, Frenette's fifth of the game, to Walsh and a 29-yard rushing touchdown for Walsh with 4:38 left in the game.