Sept. 4, 2004
Physical play and youthful enthusiasm was not enough to overcome six turnovers, as the Gulls of Endicott College dropped their season opener 47-2 at Alumni Field in Worcester. "I thought physically we matched up with them (WPI)," said Head Coach J.B. Wells "we have to do a better job of taking care of the football. You simply cannot give a team like WPI too many opportunities to play on a short field." After punter Jeff Antista (Windham, NH) pinned the Engineers on their own 20 and Endicott's defense recorded back to back sacks, WPI snapped the ball through the back of the end zone to give the Gulls a 2-0 edge at 9:47 in the first quarter. However, the Gulls momentum ground to a halt by Brian Farragher's 77 yard punt return for a touchdown. Endicott blocked the point after try and the first quarter ended with the Engineers ahead 6-2. Endicott weathered 3 turnovers with stingy defense to stay in the game but WPI managed to mount two scoring drives to end the half 20-2. The second half was all WPI, fueled by two Endicott fumbles and Dustin Bradway's 33-yard interception return for a touchdown. The Engineers would score two more times in the fourth quarter to finish the game 47-2. Sophomore running back Gerard Festa (Revere, MA) reprised his role as team offensive leader, rushing 14 times for 74 and catching 2 passes for an additional 22 yards. Endicott's defense was paced by sophomore defensive end Joe Leaver (Stoughton, MA) who logged 7.5 tackles and 1 sack. Antista was the top special team's performer, punting 6 times for 222 yards (37.5 average). "It is hard for any team to come back from the mistakes we made," said Wells. "Fortunately, they are correctable mistakes. I saw some good things out there and we will need to build on them this week. We have 9 more games and 90 great kids; I am confident we will make this an `educational opportunity' and learn from it." The Gulls will open their home schedule on September 11th against nationally ranked Renselear Polytechnic Institute. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:00 PM.