BEVERLY, Mass. – On Homecoming Weekend, the Endicott defense played a major role in creating offensive opportunities in a 33-28 Gulls victory over Curry on Saturday, forcing five fumbles with three recoveries and sacking the Colonels quarterback four times.
In their tenth meeting with Curry all-time, Endicott improved to 3-0 over their last three games after dropping the first seven. The Blue and Green improved to 3-2 (1-1 NEFC Boyd) on the season while Curry dropped to 2-3 (1-1 NEFC Boyd).
The Colonels dominated a majority of the first half by scoring three touchdowns, two of which were thrown by junior signal caller Kevin Fruwirth (Agawam, Mass.), while the Gulls managed only two field goals by junior placekicker Dylan Rushe (Palos Verdes, Calif.) of 26 and 33 yards up until the final minutes of the half.
After Rushe's second field goal from 33 with 3:26 remaining in the second quarter, Curry's next possession was cut short on their first play when a botch snap was recovered by Endicott senior linebacker PJ Bandini (Waltham, Mass.) at the Curry 27 yard-line. The Gulls rushed senior tailback Jared DiBiase (Cranston, R.I.) three times for a first down then sophomore quarterback Drew Frenette (New Bedford, Mass.) connected with senior Mike Murphy (Chelmsford, Mass.) on a nine-yard route to get in the end zone. Rushe's point after make pulled Endicott to within eight at 21-13 headed into halftime.
At the start of the third quarter, Endicott and Curry exchanged possessions that ended in punts until a Gulls drive that started on their own 45-yard line with 7:09 on the clock resulted in a touchdown. Frenette drove the Blue and Green down to the Curry 35 and faced 3rd-and-16. Frenette hooked up with Murphy for 24 yards to get the third down conversion then handed the ball off to senior running back Mike Wheeler (Hanover, Mass.) who clawed his way for an 11-yard touchdown run, his fifth of the season. The Gulls trailed by just one point at 21-20 after the score.
On Curry's next possession on 3rd-and-16 on their own 30, Gulls senior defensive lineman Oscar Moore (Cambridge, Mass.) sacked Fruwirth causing a fumble and forcing a punt. Moore registered 2.5 sacks against Curry with two forced fumbles. The ensuing punt traveled just 11 yards to the Curry 36-yard line and on Endicott's first play, Frenette found senior wide out Cameron Lett (Waltham, Mass.) open across the middle of the field to put the Blue and Green on top 27-21.
Curry threatened to regain the lead early in the fourth quarter after Colonels senior Bruce Vieira (Pelham, N.H.) returned a kickoff 49 yards into Gulls territory and Fruwirth led the visitors down to the Endicott four-yard-line. Fruwirth fumbled on 3rd-and-goal, however, and Bandini recovered to keep Curry off the board.
Later in the quarter another strip sack on Fruwirth, this time by Endicott senior Kevin Pressey (Fairfield, Maine), led to a Gulls touchdown to put the home team up 33-21 with an unsuccessful two-point conversion. A 40 yards of rushing by DiBiase set up a one-yard quarterback sneak for Frenette with only 2:23 remaining in the game.
Fruwirth would lead Curry back down the field on their final drive of the game, connecting with his favorite target on the day senior Rob Bambini (Westwood, Mass.) on a one-yard slant for a touchdown. Bambini finished with 12 receptions for 72 yards and two touchdowns on the day.
Curry's onside kick attempt with 31 seconds remaining was recovered by Endicott's Cameron Hooper (Braintree, Mass.) and Frenette took a knee to end the game.
Frenette finished just 8-of-19 for 126 yards but threw two touchdown passes. Murphy led the Gulls in receiving with four receptions for 56 yards and a score. On the ground, DiBiase turned in his best game of the season with 128 yards on 18 attempts (7.1 yards per carry). Defensively for Endicott, senior linebacker Peter Kallas (Beverly, Mass.) had a game-high 12 tackles with 1.5 going for a loss of yards. Senior Craig Lussier (Dracut, Mass.) and junior Andrew Lawson (Framingham, Mass.) each had nine takedowns in the game.
For the Colonels, Fruwirth totaled 146 yards passing, 62 yards rushing, and even 27 yards receiving on one reception. He threw three touchdown passes, two to Bambini and one to junior running back Phil Bigelow (East Orange, N.J.). Bigelow added 59 yards on the ground on 20 attempts. On the defensive side, junior linebacker George Alexandrou (Boxford, Mass.) had a team-high 11 tackles. Junior Sam Calley (Weymouth, Mass.) had one of Curry's two sacks and senior Michael Willhauck (Mansfield, Mass.) recorded an interception in the first quarter that led to a Colonels touchdown.
Endicott hosts NEFC Boyd Division opponent Nichols next Saturday, October 6th at 12:00 pm at Endicott Stadium. Curry hosts divisional rival Western New England on the same day at 1:00 pm.