BY STEVEN SOUSA //
The Colonels set the tone early and started the 2017 campaign with a narrow 33-30 win over non-conference Fitchburg State University.
The scoring started early for Curry after the defense forced a Falcon punt. The Colonels marched 70 yards down the field, capping off the drive with an option play to sophomore running back D’Aundray Burcy.
The Colonels faced their first true test of the game late in the first quarter when Corvese’s pass was tipped and intercepted on the Curry 32-yard line. Fitchburg running back Jevon Brown-Simpson tied the game up a few plays later with a touchdown run of his own.
The Falcons got the ball back shortly after a Curry three-and-out and soon capitalized on the opportunity with a field goal to take a 10-7 lead.
Despite the previous two drives, Corvese did not lose any confidence in his offense.
“We knew that we could move the ball, we just needed to stay positive,” Corvese said after the game. “Things were working, there was kind of a fluke interception, we knew we just had to keep things rolling and we would win this game.”
With just under a minute and a half to go in the second quarter, the Colonels faced fourth-and-inches in Fitchburg territory. Corvese found sophomore wide receiver Nick Villanueva open in the end zone to recapture the lead. The following extra point was no good, however, but Curry held on to a 13-10 lead going into the break.
The Colonels opened the third quarter with the ball and a chance to double up on the Falcons. On third-and-goal, Corvese scrambled to his right and engaged a would-be defender who ended up just going for a ride on his back into the end zone to put Curry up 20-10.
Fitchburg would not go quietly and a lot of that was thanks to sophomore wide out Jesse Brown’s effort, who finished with two touchdowns and several acrobatic catches over the Colonels’ secondary.
However, the Falcons were not able to overcome the Colonels’ offensive onslaught which saw a handful of big plays from sophomore wide receiver Dylan Vieira-Owens and junior running back Sean Amaru. DVO finished with four catches for 55 yards, registering a 25-yard catch for his longest of the night.
Corvese credited the offense’s performance to some of the big boys up front.
“Our offensive line, they were out of this world. They drove those guys off the ball all game long,” said Corvese. “Sean and D’Aundray are running hard, I found some holes, but give credit to the offensive line, they came out here and won the game for us.”
Those men in the trenches stepped up once again when Fitchburg formulated a scoring drive to bring their deficit to only 27-24. Needing another big drive, Amaru’s number was called upon.
A 39-yard gain on first down set the Colonels up just outside of the Falcon’s red zone. After a penalty and a couple more gains, Amaru found a hole from ten yards out to find pay dirt, and extend the lead to 33-24 with only 4:54 left to play.
It didn’t take long for Fitchburg to formulate a response, passing its way down to the goal line. Brown-Simpson found a hole from two yards out but the point-after-try missed and only made the score 33-30.
Curry got set to receive the kickoff and could not do much with the ball. A couple penalties and a stout run defense swallowed the Colonels’ attempts of moving forward. Junior Mark Mrozek came on to punt but the ball was fumbled and senior captain Steve Grogan came up with the loose ball to seal the game for the Purple and White.
Corvese came out and lined up the offense in the Victory formation and the Colonels went home happy.
Head Coach Skip Bandini felt the victory said a lot about his team.
“I think this team does have a lot of mental toughness, they have a desire on the inside to win, they don’t care what the score is, whether it’s two to nothing or if it’s 220-219,” Bandini said.
Overall, in a game that featured a lot of scoring, Bandini didn’t put the blame in any one area.
“The whole team had ups and downs, it’s not the defense or the offense or the special teams being up or down, it’s the whole team,” said Bandini. “If something goes wrong, it’s the team so it’s not just a particular phase of the game or one person or one coach.”
Curry starts its rest and repair phase and will start preparing for their trip to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.
The non-conference tilt is set to kickoff at 7 p.m. next Friday night, another Friday Night Showcase for the college ranks that are usually reserved for Saturdays.