SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Western New England University football team claimed sole possession of first place in the Commonwealth Coast Conference standings with a pivotal 42-31 victory over Endicott College on Saturday afternoon at Golden Bear Stadium.
Senior quarterback Alec Coleman (Arlington, Mass.) accounted for four touchdowns as he completed 18-of-32 pass attempts for 237 yards and two scores, while also finding the end zone twice on the ground.
Junior wide receiver Adam Razza (Watertown, Conn.) caught six passes from Coleman for a career-high 179 yards and one touchdown, while senior running back Jamyre Soberanis (Dorchester, Mass.) totaled 140 yards and two scores on 20 attempts (7.0 avg.).
Defensively, junior linebacker Erich Keutmann (Washingtonville, N.Y.) made a career-high 23 tackles (nine solo) and broke up a pass. Sophomore linebacker Joshua Salem (Dracut, Mass.) was also a key contributor with 11 stops (seven solo), an interception and a pass breakup.
For the Gulls, senior quarterback Joe Kalosky (Plymouth, Conn.) went 35-for-53 through the air for 288 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Kalosky also scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in the loss. Junior wide receiver Will Genaway (Hinsdale, Mass.) hauled in six receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown.
Endicott was led on the defensive side of the ball by junior linebacker Tim Russell (Stoneham, Mass.), who recorded a team-high ten tackles.
The Golden Bears struck first on their second possession of the game, as Coleman scored on a one-yard run four plays after completing a 40-yard pass to Razza.
Endicott was able to move the ball into Western New England territory on the Gulls' ensuing possession, but the Golden Bears came through defensively, forcing a punt from the WNE 36-yard line.
An eight-play, 75-yard Western New England scoring drive ensued, culminating in a 13-yard rushing touchdown by Soberanis that increased the home team's lead to 14-0 late in the first quarter. The possession was highlighted by a trick play that saw junior wide receiver Steven Fedorchak (Guilderland, N.Y.) complete a 41-yard pass to Razza to get the Golden Bears deep in Endicott territory.
The Golden Bear defense continued to dominate, halting the Gulls' next possession after six plays as Salem intercepted Kalosky at the WNE 47-yard line and returned the ball 21 yards to the Endicott 32. Coleman and the offense capitalized on the short field as the senior signal caller connected with Fedorchak across the middle for a six-yard touchdown at the 11:36 mark of the second period.
Endicott finally broke through midway through the quarter as senior kicker Nick DiCairano (Trumbull, Conn.) converted a 30-yard field goal, but the Golden Bears took their largest lead of the afternoon (28-3) just over a minute later as Coleman found Razza on a deep throw for a 63-yard touchdown.
The Gulls cut their deficit to 18 (28-10) late in the third quarter as Kalosky scored on a one-yard touchdown run to cap an 18-play, 80-yard drive that lasted over six minutes.
After an interception at Western New England's 15-yard line ended the Golden Bears' ensuing possession, Endicott drew closer as Kalosky registered his second rushing touchdown of the day to bring the Gulls back to within 11 (28-17) with 13:36 to play.
Endicott then attempted an onside kick and recovered the ball, but a kick catching interference penalty against the Gulls gave Western New England the ball at the visitors' 36-yard line. Six plays later, Soberanis found the end zone on a 13-yard rush to increase the Golden Bears' advantage to 35-17.
The Gulls stayed within striking distance as Kalosky threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to senior Zach DeNike (Old Tappan, N.J.) with 8:34 to play. Western New England responded with a nine-play, 66-yard drive that spanned five minutes and resulted in a two-yard touchdown run by Coleman, however, that gave the Golden Bears a 42-24 cushion with 3:18 on the clock and effectively sealed the contest.
Endicott tacked on a late touchdown on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Kalosky to Genaway to cut the final margin to 11.
• Western New England's win gives the Golden Bears a 9-8 edge in 17 all-time meetings with Endicott.
• The Gulls, who entered Saturday's action leading the CCC in scoring defense at 19.4 points per game, surrendered a season-high 42 points.
• The Western New England defense limited Endicott to just 90 yards rushing on 37 attempts (2.4 avg.).
Next Saturday, Western New England (7-1, 5-0 CCC Football) travels to Becker, while Endicott (6-2, 4-1 CCC Football) returns home to face the University of New England.