Endicott Readies for NEFC Title Game with Win over Western New England
BEVERLY, Mass. – The Endicott football team has one team left on their regular season schedule and their November 16th home game against Salve Regina will determine who takes the NEFC automatic qualifying bid into the NCAA Tournament. The Gulls will take a 7-2 (6-0 NEFC) record and a six-game winning streak into their showdown with the Seahawks after today's 38-21 win over Western New England.
Endicott and Salve Regina are set to kick off on Saturday, November 16th at 1:00 pm at Endicott Stadium. The Gulls are 7-3 all-time versus the Seahawks including wins in two out of their last three meetings. Their most recent game on September 22nd on the road, however, ended in a 41-24 loss.
Western New England (3-6, 2-4 NEFC) will conclude their regular season next Saturday on the road at Nichols as the Golden Bears will kickoff at 12:00 pm with the Bison.
Endicott wasted no time gaining a lead in the first quarter against Western New England, forcing a Golden Bears three and out on their first possession, then taking just three plays to find the end zone. Junior quarterback Drew Frenette (New Bedford, Mass.) completed a pass to junior receiver Nate Lewis (Acushnet, Mass.) who eluded tacklers for a 47-yard gain into the Golden Bear end zone to put the Gulls ahead 7-0.
Another three and out for Western New England handed the ball back over to Endicott. Frenette this time connected with leading receiver Alec Matys (Woburn, Mass.) for 34 yards then on third down found Matys again for a 10-yard touchdown completion. Matys' touchdown was his league leading 10th grab for a score.
After forcing a turnover on downs inside their own territory, the Gulls once again took over possession with a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter. A nine-play, 68-yard drive resulted in a Spencer Walsh (Malden, Mass.) score that tied the Endicott single season rushing touchdown record (13) set by Mike Lane '12 back in 2011. The touchdown put the Blue and Green on top 21-0.
In the second quarter, Endicott extended their lead even further as another 47-yard strike from Frenette, this time to sophomore receiver Ryan Brannigan (East Greenwich, R.I.), put the Gulls up by four touchdowns with 6:38 remaining in the first half. The touchdown was Brannigan's first of his career.
Western New England would not go scoreless in the first half as junior tailback Kevin Cook (Hamburg, N.J.), the NEFC's top rusher with 17 touchdowns, scored the first of his three touchdowns to put the Golden Bears on the board at 28-7. Cook's three yard touchdown capped off an 11-play, 78 yard drive that even included two false starts and a personal foul penalty.
Cook struck for a second time on Western New England's first possession of the second half, punching it in from one yard out as the Golden Bears turned to screen passes to help move the chains. Quarterback John Krafick (New Milford, Conn.) converted several critical third downs through the air for Western New England in the second half, helping his team pull to within 10 points with 4:52 remaining in the third quarter after Cook's third touchdown.
The fourth quarter saw a defensive battle from both squads and special teams excellence from Endicott. Thanks to Gulls tacklers like seniors Nick Kozlowski (Beverly, Mass.), who tied a program record with 19 tackles in the game, Jason Silva (Palatine, Ill.), who added 18 takedowns out of the defensive backfield, and Andrew Holfinger (Sterling, Mass.), whose 16 tackles included three for a loss, Endicott was able to stifle any offensive momentum by Western New England. Gulls senior punter Dylan Rushe (Palos Verdes, Calif.) pinned the Golden Bears deep into their own end to the tune of six times inside the 20 yard line including twice on the one yard line. Rushe also added a 27-yard field goal to make it a 31-14 game and keep Endicott ahead by more than two scores.
Endicott sealed their win over Western New England starting with an interception by senior cornerback Davas Wright (Fall River, Mass.) which led to a Walsh 24-yard sprint into the end zone to break the single season rushing touchdown record. Endicott took a 38-21 lead and held on for the win.
Frenette finished the game 17-of-32 for 323 yards and three touchdowns. Matys led the team with six catches for 90 yards while senior tight end Greg Dellorco (Franklin, Mass.) totaled 72 yards on just two grabs. On the ground, Walsh finished under 100 yards (92) for the first time since week three but continued his stretch of six multi-touchdown games in-a-row.
Defensively, Wright and senior safety Andrew Lawson (Framingham, Mass.) recorded interceptions while Jake Cox (Wrentham, Mass.) and Tyler Calitri (West Hartford, Conn.) each had two pass break ups. Senior nose guard Marcell Cooper (Dorchester, Mass.) and freshman defensive end Craig Anderson (Franklin, Mass.) also had double digit tackle games with 14 and 12, respectively. Anderson also had 1.5 sacks in the game.
Western New England's Cook finished with 161 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Junior wide out Adam Dunne (Holyoke, Mass.) caught a game-high eight balls for 109 yards but could not find the end zone. Krafick threw 29 completions on 54 attempts for 267 and two picks behind center. Defensively, the Golden Bears were led by sophomore Nathan Fleming (Windham, Conn.) and freshman Isaiah Berrios (Plattekill, N.Y.) who each had seven tackles. Fleming added a half sack and one tackle for a loss.