Release courtesy of Boston Globe West correspondent, Marvin Pave
Thanks to the contributions of the three senior captains, the Endicott College football program is on the brink of a New England Football Conference title and a berth in the NCAA Division 3 playoffs.
Cooper, a 5-foot-11, 255-pound nose guard out of Wellesley High, is second on the squad with 60 tackles. Dellorco, a 6-2, 205-pound tight end out of Franklin High, has 24 catches for 248 yards and two touchdowns, while Silva, a safety who attended Maynard High, has compiled 58 tackles, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
"Marcell has been a great player since his freshman year and is the best defensive lineman in our conference," said head coach J.B. Wells, whose 6-2 Gulls (5-0 NEFC) take on Western New England (3-5 overall, 2-3 NEFC) and Salve Regina (6-2, 5-0) in its final two regular-season games, with a shot at reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
Cooper, he said, "combines power and speed at his position and he's the emotional heartbeat of our team."
Cooper, who was credited with six stops in Saturday's 52-21 conquest of MIT, said the team "can still step it up a couple of notches.
"Playing in the NCAA's at Cortland State, despite the loss, was awesome,'' he said, recalling the team's last postseason contest, "but I don't want to think beyond Saturday's game against Western New England. As a captain, I just want to motivate my teammates to get better every day and stay in the present.''
Wells said Dellorco is "a grinder and a workhorse who shows up at practice and outworks everybody else." Silva, said the coach, "has a high football IQ, has fought through injuries, and comes up with the big play.''
Dellorco said the Gulls have steadily improved this fall.
"You realize that as a senior this is it," he said.
"It's pretty exciting and we want to keep it going as long as we can. Our team has a real passion for the game, and I hope my positive energy contributes to that.''
Silva, who underwent knee surgery after his sophomore season and played through pain a year ago, says he is feeling a lot better now.
"The season has been a great high because of the responsibility of being a captain,'' said Silva, whose fumble recovery in the second half against Maine Maritime led to a scoring drive that helped ice the game in a 53-28 win.
"Driving toward a championship this year is something I had hoped for, and it's been a team effort, from the starters to the scout team," added the 6-2, 210-pound Silva.
Alec Matys, a sophomore receiver out of Arlington Catholic who leads the NEFC with nine touchdown receptions (13th in Division 3), and freshman halfback Andrew Cross (Nashoba Regional) have also played key roles for an attack averaging 39.2 points a game.
Wells said Matys has stepped up after the graduation of Mike Murphy , the program's all-time leading receiver.
"He's a team-first guy, a complete receiver with the ability to make the big catch,'' Wells said of Matys, who has 42 catches, the second-highest total in the NEFC, for 608 yards.
Cross has 309 yards rushing with one touchdown.
Defensively, senior safety Andrew Lawson (Framingham High) has 51 tackles, an interception, a pass breakup and a blocked kick; junior corner Jake Cox (Wrentham, King Philip Regional) has 26 tackles, a team-best three interceptions, and a kickoff return for a touchdown; freshman defensive end Craig Anderson (Franklin High) has racked up 37 tackles and a sack, and linebacker Marjan Solomon (Waltham High) has returned to the starting lineup after an ankle injury and chipped in with 15 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
"Andrew makes the plays in the secondary and he's always a threat to block a punt,'' Wells said, while noting that "Jake is one of the top corners in the league and he does a great job on special teams.
"Craig is the first freshman here in about five years to earn a starting spot on defense, and Marjan is incredibly athletic and a special player.''