BEVERLY, Mass. – The Endicott football held a 17-0 first half advantage over UMass Dartmouth on Saturday and held on to win 27-14 to improve to 8-0 (5-0 NEFC Boyd). The Gulls remain on top of the NEFC Boyd Division standings heading into next weekend's showdown with Western New England, who is also unbeaten in divisional play at 5-0.
Before the game, Endicott honored 22 seniors who play in their final regular season home game of the season with a ceremony that included family and friends who have supported the players over the past four years.
The Blue and Green travel to Springfield to face Western New England on Saturday, October 29th at 1:00 pm. UMass Dartmouth (4-4, 3-2 NEFC Boyd) visits Curry next Saturday in a divisional showdown with the Colonels.
After a scoreless first quarter that saw both teams fail to score on drives that resulted in missed field goals, Endicott opened up the second quarter with a two-yard touchdown run by senior running back Mike Lane (Medfield, Mass.) to go up 7-0. Lane's touchdown was his 10th of the season after he set up his own score after a 46-yard run down the UMass Dartmouth three-yard line.
Endicott's offensive line pushed the run game all day as Lane rushed for 165-yards on 32 carries (5.2 avg) with the one touchdown.
Later in the second quarter, the Gulls took eight minutes off the clock on a 15-play, 64-yard drive that resulted in a 20-yard field goal make by sophomore kicker Dylan Rushe (Palos Verdes, Calif.). Forty-five of Endicott's yards on this drive were through the air as senior quarterback Phil Konopka (Shelton, Conn.) connected with senior receivers Taylor Allen (Westboro, Mass.), Mike Fimiani (Melrose, Mass.), and Ryan Carino (Stratford, Conn.).
Konopka would later hook up with Carino for a one-yard touchdown pass with 20 seconds remaining in the first half to make it 17-0 Endicott. It was Konopka's 20th touchdown pass and Carino's team-leading seventh end zone reception of the season. Konopka finished this game with 160 yards passing on 18-of-19 completions with no interceptions. Carino caught four balls for 21 yards.
Dylan Rushe added his second field goal of the game, a 22-yarder midway through the third quarter to put Endicott up 20-0.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the Corsairs forced a three-and-out for the Endicott offense and started the ensuing drive on their own 36-yard line after a punt. On the first play of the drive, UMass Dartmouth junior quarterback Patrick Orlando (Manchester, Mass.) found junior wide out Brendan McNeish (Springfield, Mass.) for a 64-yard bomb down the middle of the field to put the Corsairs on the scoreboard. After the Edgar Osols (Summit, N.J.) extra-point, UMass Dartmouth trailed 20-7.
On the very next play, the Corsairs kicked off 54-yards to the Endicott 16-yard line where Gulls junior Mike Wheeler (Hanover, Mass.) returned the ball 84 yards, dodging UMass Dartmouth tacklers, all the way to the end zone to make it 27-7.
UMass Dartmouth responded on their very next drive with another touchdown pass from Orlando to McNeish, this time a 23-yard connection to make it 27-14. Orlando finished 18-of-35 with 245 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The quarterback also rushed 17 times for a net gain of 29 yards. McNeish was UMass Dartmouth's leading receiver with six catches for 131 yards and two scores.
The Blue and Green held UMass Dartmouth to just 53 yards rushing in this game. Gulls senior defensive end Kevin Eagan (West Hartford, Conn.) had a team-high eight tackles with a forced fumble and a sack. Defensive back Bill Hickey (Walpole, Mass.) had seven tackles, including five solo takedowns with one pass break up. Andrew Lawson (Framingham, Mass.) deflected two pass attempts away to lead the Gulls. Junior linebacker Oscar Moore (Cambridge, Mass.) forced a Corsairs turnover with a fumble recovery.
For the Corsairs, senior linebacker John Cordasco (Rockaway, N.J.) led all players with 12 tackles, including 4.5 for a loss of yards with a half-sack. Defensive back Darrien Furr (East Taunton, Mass.) had two pass break ups in the game as well as seven tackles. Ross O'Toole (Weymouth, Mass.) and Joe Teixera (Seekonk, Mass.) each tied for 10 tackles.