Top Moments in Endicott Football History
The Endicott football program enters its 10th year of varsity existence and in that short amount of time there have been numerous highlights, accomplishments, and milestones reached by the student-athletes wearing Blue and Green. In the days leading up to Endicott's first game of the 2012 season, we'll tell the story of a few historic moments of the Gulls gridiron.
September 20th, 2003: First Victory in Endicott Varsity Football History
Probably the most meaningful win in head coach JB Wells' tenure at Endicott came in 2002 when the Gulls were still a JV squad. A 12-6 victory over Coast Guard's JV team provided the program with its first ever checkmark in the win column, but in a time when there was little to no statistical records taken, especially at the JV level, the facts of how Endicott won are unclear. Even Wells admits that his memory is a little foggy.
"I think we took the lead on a touchdown pass to the tight end then scored the second time on a rush," says Wells. "Or did we score both times on a run? I don't remember."
What Wells does remember, and what online record tells us, is that the following year the Gulls earned their first NCAA Division III win on September 20, 2003 with a 27-7 rout of Framingham State at Endicott Stadium. Yes, Framingham State rolled into Beverly with a roster of around 35 players, most of who played on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, but a win is a win for a first-year varsity program.
Endicott forced eight Rams turnovers on that day, three fumbles and five interceptions, and a sported vicious run attack that put up 242 yards on the ground, including a 75-yard sprint by Matt Thompson on the first offensive play of the game for the Gulls. A 93-yard fumble recovery by Jay Munroe for a touchdown sealed the victory for the Blue and Green.
Orlando Johnson, a freshman cornerback during that 2003 season who went on to become the program's all-time leader in interceptions (16), recorded one of Endicott's five picks.
"Putting on that uniform during the first varsity season was an amazing experience," says Johnson, who remembers what it was like to be a member of that historic Gulls team. "It had been a dream of mine to be a collegiate football player and to be a part of a first-year program was an honor. It felt great to get that first win because it meant that we weren't just a JV team anymore, we set the tone for the program and let people know that we meant business."
The football program began when there were 1,600 undergraduate students, 900 graduate students, several bachelors, master, and associate degree programs, and a 2,200-seat stadium. Today, there are nearly 5,000 total students at Endicott, 2,300 of which are undergraduates, an increasing number of bachelor and master degree program offerings plus the creation of an Educational Leadership doctoral program, and now 3,000 seats at Endicott Stadium. The College's endowment has grown dramatically and the facilities and grounds have undergone numerous facelifts and additions to make it one of the best campuses in New England. Each of these things have factored into Endicott's placement on the U.S. News & World Report of Best Colleges and the Chronicle of Higher Education's list of Great Colleges To Work For.
Johnson, who joined the Endicott Admissions staff as an assistant director after he graduated, looks at the crowds that flock to Endicott Stadium for football Saturday and remembers the emotion of being on the gridiron.
"I wish I had the game film so I could see my first collegiate interception! All I remember was the adrenaline, the support that poured out of the family, friends, faculty, and staff that came to the game. I'll never forget it."
Endicott went 4-5 overall that first varsity season with a 3-3 record in conference play, but laid the foundation for a football program that would go on to experience a large amount of success in a short amount of time.