CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Trailing 31-14 headed into the fourth quarter, the Endicott football team put together a spirited comeback bid, but ultimately fell short against MIT, 31-26, on Saturday afternoon at Steinbrenner Stadium.
Freshmen Sheilan Velazquez (West Haven, Conn.) and Anthony Whiteley (Pittsfield, Mass.) put the Gulls within reach in the fourth with back-to-back scores over a 3:25 span to make it 31-26. Velazquez started the run with a seven-yard TD grab at 9:36, while Whiteley followed with a three-yard TD run at 6:11 to put Endicott in a position to complete its second straight comeback victory in as many weeks.
Despite the late game rally from the Gulls, MIT buckled down defensively when it mattered most on two separate potential game-winning drive scenarios (4:14 | 1:27) to hold on for the win.
On the first Endicott drive, MIT's Andrew DeNucci (Newton, Mass.) and Mitch Maisel (Newtown, Pa.) stopped a quarterback sneak on a 4th-and-1 play at the Engineers own 22-yard line to reclaim possession late in the ball game, while the second opportunity for the Gulls resulted in an interception by Matt Nicolai (Northport, N.Y.) at MIT's 36-yard line with under 30-seconds to play.
- Offensively, Endicott outgained MIT, 446-422, which included a 206-174 differential on the ground.
- The Gulls won the time of possession battle 39:40-20:20.
- Joe Kalosky (Plymouth, Conn.) threw for 240 yards on 23 completions and one touchdown. He also rushed the ball nine times for six yards and a TD score 4:10 of the second quarter (Endicott trailed 24-14).
- Lavante Wiggins (Pittsfield, Mass.) paced the rushing attack with 116 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries.
- Whiteley finished the day with seven rushes for 59 yards and his score in the fourth.
- Velazquez compiled four catches for 54 yards – in addition to his fourth quarter TD – while Riley Shanley (Simsbury, Conn.) paced all receivers/tight ends with seven receptions for 81 yards.
- Defensively, William Rivera (Orangeburg, N.Y.) had a team-high nine tackles (two solo, seven assisted, 3.0 TFL).
- Allen Gibson (Seymour, Conn.) ranked second on the team with six tackles (five solo, one assisted).
- Jesse Simoni (East Greenbush, N.Y.) had one interception, a pass breakup and two tackles (one solo, one assisted).
- Kevin O'Brien (Braintree, Mass.) blocked his first career punt on MIT's drive with 9:28 left in the fourth. His defensive play led to Whiteley's three-yard TD run, and also gave Endicott a chance to win the contest late.
- Big plays were the difference for MIT as the Engineers scored all four of their touchdowns on 50-yard-plus plays.
- John Robertson (Brentwood, Tenn.) opened up the matchup with a 77-yard dash at 12:05 of the first, while Eric Bradford (Dublin, Ohio) made it 14-7 (2:27, first quarter) with a 65-yard TD reception.
- Udgam Goyal (Frisco, Texas) followed with a 71-yard TD dash at 10:35 of the second, and Keithen Shepard (Vancouver, Wash.) capped the TD highlights for the Engineers with a 58-yard reception TD at 5:56 to make it 31-14 in the third.
- In total, Goyal posted a combined 327 yards on offense (79 rushing, 248 passing) to go along with two passing TD's and one rushing score.
- MIT featured four student-athletes with 10-plus tackles including Mitch Turley (Westfield, Ind.), DeNucci, Nicolai, and Sam Cantrell (Seattle, Wash.). Turley and DeNucci tied for the game-high with 13 each.
- The Engineers also saw Mark Wright (Fort Worth, Texas) nail a 31-yard field goal with 10-secodns remaining in the first quarter (17-7).
Endicott (1-2) travels to Hobart on Saturday, September 23 for a non-league game at 12 PM. MIT (2-1) visits Catholic next Saturday at 12 PM.
(Photo Credit - Allison Moore)