BY STEVEN SOUSA // Nov. 5, 2017 //
In a battle for first place in the Commonwealth Coast Conference, visiting Western New England outgunned the Colonels, 42-28, solidifying their spot atop the conference.
Both teams entered Saturday tied for first with a CCC record of 3-0, and each coming off impressive week-nine victories.
The game started strong for Curry as it forced a punt on the first Golden-Bear possession and wasted no time formulating the response. The Colonels marched 73 yards down the field and Alex Corvese capped the drive with a seven-yard scamper, his 11th rushing score of the season.
WNE responded on the very next drive when quarterback Anthony Service hit receiver Justin Townsend for a 15-yard touchdown pass, knotting the game at 7-7 less than a minute into quarter two.
In that second quarter, the Golden Bears started to find their rhythm in the run game as they ran for three touchdowns under five yards to grab a 28-14 lead going into halftime.
WNE finished the game with 338 rushing yards, nearly double their season average of 181 yards per game, and triple the amount that Curry usually allows per game.
“They were getting to our linebackers and sealing them,” Colonels’ head coach Skip Bandini said simply. “We were giving up gap control, and they blocked us.”
The Colonels started the second half with a five-play, 39-yard scoring driving that ended with a 10-yard connection from Corvese to sophomore Nick Villanueva to cut the score to 28-21. But every time Curry came within a score, the Golden Bears would tack on another.
Early in the fourth, the Colonels were threatening to score when Corvese lofted a deep ball down the left sideline to receiver Phil Lebel, who came down with the ball along with WNE defensive back, Zhaire House. The officials ruled that House had possession and that it was the Golden Bears’ ball, a call that Curry, and its fans, didn’t agree with.
“Personally, as a Curry player, I didn’t think it was the right call,” Corvese noted. “But there’s nothing we can do about it…It killed some momentum, we would have had the crowd back on our side but it definitely deflated us a little bit.”
The senior quarterback finished the game with four total touchdowns but added two more picks in the fourth while trying to press and get the team back in the game.
The loss dashes the Colonels’ dreams of first place in the CCC and also drops them to 7-2 overall. That mark is good enough for a second-place spot which they share with Salve Regina University, which is where Curry will end its regular season.
That regular-season finale will determine who will go on to play in the New England Bowl and in Bandini’s opinion; the Salve game will be just as big as Saturday’s game was.
That game was the last time seniors put on the Purple and White in front of their hometown fans at the Walter M. Katz field. The cheerleaders joined the field before the game and were honored for their achievements over the last four years. We wish all the best to the graduating class of 2018.
Until then, Curry will make one more trip to Newport, R.I. to kick off with the Salve Regina Seahawks at noon, next Saturday, Nov. 11.