Sept. 2, 2006
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).