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Hartwick Outlasts Endicott in Football Season Opener

Hartwick Outlasts Endicott in Football Season Opener

Sept. 2, 2006

Box Score

The Hartwick College football team opened its season against Endicott College in what was almost a mirror image of last year's match-up. Junior tailback Lindy Crea (Windsor/ Binghamton, N.Y.) took the first play from scrimmage 80 yards for his second season-opening drive touchdown in as many years to lead the Hawks to a 30-28 victory at Wright Stadium.

Crea finished with 328 total yards (220 rushing, 108 receiving) and two touchdowns in the victory while sophomore quarterback Jason Boltus (C.W. Baker/ Baldwinsville, N.Y.) completed 13-of-23 passes for 201 yards and one interception. He also rushed for 73 yards and two touchdowns in the victory.

EC's Joe Leaver (Stoughton, MA/Stoughton), who led the Gulls in tackles last fall, anchored the Gulls' defense. He made 13 tackles (10 unassisted), including a sack while Mike Baklik (Killingworth, CT/Haddam-Killingworth) pulled the visitors to within two points with a 50-yard interception return for a touchdown with 2:31 to play in regulation.

Offensively, sophomore back Angelo Ortiz (Mashantucket, CT/St. Thomas More) ran for a career-high 97 yards on just 14 carries for Endicott while Mark Killinger (Rockland, MA/Rockland) pounded out 44 yards and a touchdown on 13 touches. Gulls' QB Alex Smith (Winthrop, MA/Winthrop) threw for 166 yards on 11-of-18 passing. His favorite target was Ryan McLean (Mansfield, MA/Mansfield), who hauled in six catches for 102 yards and a score.

Hartwick held a 7-0 lead for much of the first quarter before Endicott put together an 11-play, 82 yard drive culminating in a Killinger two-yard touchdonwn plunge that evened the score. And with just 15 seconds to play in the opening quarter, EC grabbed a 14-7 cushion when Mark Balkun (West Hartford, CT/Northwest Catholic) scored on a two-yard pass from Smith to cap a 43-yard drive.

Hartwick responded on the ensuing drive, marching 80 yards. The drive was highlighted by a 51-yard Crea reception that set up a two-yard bootleg scramble by Boltus for the touchdown. With the PAT unsuccessful, the Hawks trailed 14-13 with over 11 minutes to play in the half. However, the Hawks forced a punt on the following possession and again put together a successful 94-yard drive resulting in a Boltus touchdown on a three-yard quarterback keeper to give Hartwick the 20-14 edge going into the second half.

Endicott came out fast in the second half and reclaimed the lead on a 19-yard completion from Smith to MacLean. However, the lead would be shortlived as Hartwick went up 30-21 on a 14-yard touchdown run by Crea. Senior kicker Joe Gatta (Scotia-Glendale/ Scotia, N.Y.) added the PAT and then booted a 27-yard field goal with 4:22 to play in the game.

The Gulls had one last shot at winning the game but their final drive was thwarted as sophomore Justin Oelgeschlager (Highland, Highland, N.Y.) forced a crucial fumble to seal the Hawks victory.

Endicott will look to rebound next Saturday when it hosts perennial powerhouse RPI at Endicott Stadium (12:00 PM).

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