BY TIM NOONAN // Oct 23, 2016 //
As a part of Homecoming Weekend at Curry College, the 1971 football team must have left some magic behind from their NEFC Championship run to help today’s Colonels to victory.
Saturday’s game was a high-scoring affair, and the ’71 squad knows plenty about scoring and the lack thereof. In their six-game winning streak to open the season, they allowed only one touchdown on their way to a sizable lead in the conference, while outscoring opponents 96-7.
After the ceremony marking their 45th year as champions, Maine Maritime received the ball and needed only seven plays to open the scoring with a quarterback keeper from junior Corey Creeger.
The Colonels’ junior quarterback, Alex Corvese, formulated an answer soon after, thanks in part to a 50-yard connection to senior Jake Cawlina. A few plays later on 4th and 9, Corvese found senior Anthony Nastasi from 24 yards out to tie the game.
Corvese was gifted the ball after Curry’s defense forced a three-and-out and the signal-caller rewarded them with a touchdown to freshman Tyler Furey to take the lead, 14-7.
At the end of the first quarter, the defense again forced a turnover to get the ball back to Corvese and his offense to put together another drive. Once in the red zone, two incomplete passes and a short run left the Colonels facing another 4th down.
The offense stayed on the field, but Corvese had limited options and scrambled away only to fumble the ball and have the Mariners’ defense tie the game up with a 75-yard fumble recovery.
Curry stalled their next drive, but brushed it off and took the ensuing possession for six, with Corvese finding Cawlina in the back of the end zone to reclaim the lead, 21-14.
They made it look so easy that Maine Maritime came back and scored before freshman D’Aundray Burcy ripped off a 54-yard run to take back the lead 28-21 going into the break.
The Mariners opened the scoring again in the second half, with another keeper from Creeger. However, the following extra point fell short, and the Colonels retained a small lead of 28-27.
It was short-lived, although because Corvese suffered an interception on a screen pass that was returned for a touchdown. The ensuing point-after-try was taken in for two points, and the Maine Maritime lead was 35-28.
Corvese again displayed his short memory and concocted another scoring drive that ended with senior Nate Chartrand grabbing a 24-yard pass to again lock the game up at 35.
Ending the third quarter and beginning the fourth, the Mariners were putting together a drive of their own and got down to a 4th and 5 in the red zone. A questionable roughing the passer call kept that drive alive long enough for Creeger to rush for another touchdown, only to fail on the two-point try.
After three straight failed drives, Curry’s defense emerged yet again to return the ball back to the offense, this time, courtesy of sophomore Joe Patti’s interception return to the Maine Maritime 23-yard line.
Burcy took four downs to get all ten yards and Corvese again connected with Cawlina from 13 yards out to put the Colonels ahead 42-41 with 4:21 left in the game.
The Mariners attempted to make one last push, but a turnover-on-downs yielded the Victory Formation for Curry on Homecoming.
Alex Corvese finished completing 30 of his 52 passing attempts for 303 yards and five touchdowns. After the game, he noted, “We really wanted to come out here today and just bounce back.”
The junior said that the “Offense was clicking and defense just got some great stops, just great stops down the stretch and we’re back on track. We got Nichols next week so hopefully we can get two in a row.”
It seemed his favorite target was Cawlina, who finished with nine catches for 133 yards with two of them going for scores. The senior captain said that “they made some plays and they’re a good team, but we kept going, we never gave up and that’s kinda what we’ve done every game even if we lose, we keep fighting to the end.”
Best on the Planet: Head Coach Skip Bandini said, “I think the kids at Curry are the best kids on the planet,” with the kind of smile that only victory can bring to a man’s face.
Road Trip: Curry heads out to two straight away games before coming home to face Endicott College November 12, at 1 p.m. All three of the next games will continue to cement the standings in the New England Football Conference.
Extra Football: With a winning record in the conference, the Colonels have a chance to play in the postseason, “and that’s why you play,” says coach Bandini.