Golden Bears (7-0) hand Gulls first NEFC loss of the season
BEVERLY, Mass. (October 22, 2016) – Western New England University scored 20 unanswered points and shut out Endicott College over the second half on its way to a 20-7, New England Football Conference (NEFC) victory this afternoon in rainy conditions at Hempstead Stadium.
• Sophomore Chris Quarles (Naugatuck, Conn.) led the Golden Bears' dominant second half defensive effort with a pair of interceptions, including one in the third quarter that ended a potential go-ahead drive for Endicott deep in Western New England territory. Quarles also broke up two passes and finished with three tackles.
• Junior Sam Olsson (Milford, Conn.) came up with a key special teams play in the closing seconds of the first half, blocking an Endicott punt and giving the Golden Bears the ball at the Gulls' four-yard line. Western New England capitalized on the opportunity and seized the momentum heading into halftime, scoring the game-tying touchdown two plays later.
• Senior running back Nick Connell (East Marion, N.Y.) rushed for a season-high 132 yards on 22 carries (6.0 avg.), his second straight 100-yard performance. Junior Dante Aiken (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added 64 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries (5.8 avg.). Western New England's rushing attack fueled the offense with 196 yards on the ground.
• Junior quarterback Anthony Service (Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) tied the contest with his rushing touchdown as time expired in the first half, and gave the Golden Bears the lead for good with his three-yard touchdown pass to senior wing Mohamed Camara (New York, N.Y.) late in the third quarter.
• Endicott freshman quarterback Joe Kalosky (Plymouth, Conn.) threw for 179 yards and one touchdown, a four-yard toss to junior tight end Jacob Simons (Barrington, R.I.) late in the first half for the Gulls' only score of the contest.
• Junior linebacker Christian Martinez (Tariffville, Conn.) finished with 12 tackles, including 3.5 for a loss of six yards and one sack.
• After the Golden Bears received the opening kickoff and went three-and-out, Endicott put together a 16-play, 57-yard drive that lasted 7:31. The Gulls were unable to come away with points, however, as Western New England stopped Endicott on fourth and two from the five-yard line.
• Both offenses stalled after that point, as six of the next seven drives ended in punts and the other resulted in a turnover on downs.
• Endicott finally broke the scoreless deadlock late in the second quarter with the help of a short field. After Western New England's previous possession ended with a Vinny Lalumia (Maywood, N.J.) punt from the one-yard line, Endicott freshman Zach DeNike (Old Tappan, N.J.) set the Gulls up at the 17-yard line with a 32-yard return. Four plays later, Kalosky connected with Simons for a four-yard touchdown as Endicott took a 7-0 lead.
• The turning point of the game came with 18 seconds remaining before halftime, when Olsson blocked Endicott junior Brett Fox's (Niantic, Conn.) punt and the Golden Bears recovered the ball at the Endicott 4-yard line. Two plays later, Service scored on a one-yard touchdown run as time expired to tie the score at 7-7 heading into halftime.
• The Gulls drove to the Western New England 30-yard line on their second possession of the third quarter with the help of a 46-yard pass from Kalosky to senior wide receiver Conor Crotty (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.), but Quarles' first pick halted the scoring threat.
• Later in the quarter, Service led Western New England on a nine-play, 77-yard drive that saw the Golden Bears take a 14-7 lead on a three-yard touchdown pass to Camara.
• Western New England effectively sealed the triumph with a 13-play, 91-yard touchdown drive that began with 10:57 remaining in the fourth quarter and ended with 5:06 on the clock. The Golden Bears did the majority of the damage on the ground, with Connell and Aiken leading the way.
• Quarles picked Kalosky off for the second time with 33 seconds left, capping Western New England's hard fought victory.
• With the win, Western New England knocks Endicott from the ranks of the unbeaten in the NEFC. The Golden Bears and Salve Regina are the only two remaining undefeated teams in conference play at 4-0.
• Western New England's victory evens the all-time series with Endicott at 7-7 in 14 meetings. The Golden Bears have won three straight games against the Gulls dating back to 2014.
• The rainy conditions limited both offenses, as the Golden Bears outgained Endicott 291-211. Western New England's total of 291 yards represents its lowest this season and marks the first time the Golden Bears have failed to rack up over 400 yards of offense.
• Neither team had success on third down, as Western New England converted on just 3-of-13 (23%) attempts and Endicott went 4-for-17 (24%).
• With 18 passing touchdowns this season, Service is now just one shy of matching Tyler Ward's single season program record of 19, which he set last fall.
Western New England (7-0, 4-0 NEFC) returns home next Saturday to host Maine Maritime, while Endicott (3-4, 3-1 NEFC) welcomes Salve Regina to Hempstead Stadium.