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Defense catapults Endicott to 34-7 win over Framingham State in season opener

Junior defensive back Andrew Lawson
Junior defensive back Andrew Lawson

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. – The 2012 season opener for Endicott saw the Gulls defense hold Framingham State scoreless for more than three quarters of football and force seven turnovers, resulting in a 34-7 rout over the Rams at Maple Street Field on Saturday. 

Endicott won a season opening game over Framingham State for the third consecutive year after taking 25-15, 33-27 (OT), and 33-13 victories over the Rams from 2009-11. 

Framingham State scored their only points of the game at the 4:43 mark of the first quarter on a 12-yard touchdown reception by senior wide out Alex Avery (Milford, Mass.).  The Rams, however, would give up 34 unanswered points to Endicott due in large part to seven turnovers and key injuries on the field.

Endicott intercept Framingham State quarterbacks five times, including two picks that were returned into the end zone for defensive scores by Junior linebacker Andrew Holfinger (Sterling, Mass.) and junior defensive back Andrew Lawson (Framingham, Mass.).  Lawson finished the game with three interceptions while Holfinger led all Endicott players with eight tackles, an interception, a fumble recovery and two pass break ups. 

Lawson's interceptions were the first of his career.  He picked off Rams freshman quarterback Matt Silva (Dracut, Mass.) in the first quarter and early in the fourth intercepted sophomore Mitchell Johnson (South Easton, Mass.) before taking his third interception all the way for a touchdown 50 yards with 6:53 remaining in the game.

Trailing 7-0 with 4:43 remaining in the first quarter, Gulls sophomore quarterback Drew Frenette (New Bedford, Mass.) led a nine-play, 61-yard drive capped off by a Dylan Rushe (Palos Verdes, Calif.) 30-yard field goal with 51 seconds remaining to earn Endicott's first points of the season.  In the drive Frenette was effective, connecting on passing plays of 24 yards to Jimmy Nguyen (Methuen, Mass.) and 36 yards to Mike Murphy (Chelmsford, Mass.) to help move the ball. 

On the very next Rams possession, Holfinger recovered a fumble in the backfield by Framingham State's Silva to give Endicott back the ball on the Rams 21-yard line.  Frenette completed his biggest pass of the day, a first down hook up with senior running back Mike Wheeler (Hanover, Mass.) who found the end zone to give the Gulls a 10-7 after the Rushe extra point. 

Midway through the second quarter, after Endicott linebacker Peter Kallas (Beverly, Mass.) made a solo tackle on 4th-and-one to force another Framingham State turnover, Endicott tacked on three points on a 50-yard field goal by Rushe to make it 13-7.  Rushe finished the day with 10 points total on two field goals and four extra points. 

Holfinger's interception return for a touchdown with just under three minutes to go in the first half gave Endicott a 20-7 halftime advantage going into the locker room.  

After a scoreless third quarter, Lawson's pick-six gave the Gulls a 20-point cushion and on the next Endicott drive, the offensive line created a running lane for Wheeler to sprint for a 35-yard touchdown run with four minutes left in the game.  Wheeler finished with 90 all-purpose yards, 59 on the ground on eight rushes and three catches for 31 yards. 

In Frenette's first collegiate start, the quarterback was 19-of-32 for 189 yards, one touchdown and one interception.   Senior receiver Cameron Lett (Waltham, Mass.) led all players with seven receptions while totaling 47 yards through the air.  Nguyen added 43 yards on four receptions.

Defensively, junior defensive back Jason Silva (Palatine, Ill.) had seven tackles, five of which were solo, while both Oscar Moore (Cambridge, Mass.) and PJ Bandini (Waltham, Mass.) each finished with five takedowns.  Bandini added an interception in the third quarter. 

Endicott plays their home opener on Saturday, October 8th at 12:00 pm against ECFC opponent Castleton State for the first ever meeting between these two squads.