Football Suffers First Loss at the Hands of Non-Conference Union College, 17-14

BY STEVEN SOUSA //

The Colonels suffered their first defeat of the season on Saturday by way of a 17-14 decision to the visiting Union College Dutchmen.

Traveling from Schenectady, N.Y., Union came well represented as its fans could be heard loud and clear at Walter M. Katz Field.

The Colonels’ first possession of the game ended with a turnover when Dutchman linebacker, sophomore Evan Gilland, intercepted Alex Corvese’s pass and ran it all the way back to Curry’s 31-yard line.

However, the Purple and White defense was able to hold Union to just a 25-yard field goal, putting them up 3-0 with seven minutes to play in the first quarter.

The Colonel offense couldn’t gain a whole lot of momentum throughout most of the game and especially in the first half.

Curry finished the half with two turnovers and a blocked field-goal attempt that would have tied the game with seconds to go in the second quarter.

The defense kept the Colonels in the game though, limiting the Dutchmen rushing attack until the fourth quarter.

“I think our defense played great, but the offense can’t leave the defense on the field all that time, it’s just not good football,” said Head Coach Skip Bandini after the game.

Curry finally found paydirt on its second drive of the third quarter when it started at the Union 43-yard line with 4:20 to play in the third quarter.

Corvese led a nine-play scoring drive that ended with an option play where he called his own number and barreled in from five yards out to give the Colonels a 7-3 edge after three quarters of play.

The Dutchmen wasted no time formulating their response, driving 63 yards in only five plays to take the lead back at 10-7 with just under a minute played in the final frame.

After a three-and-out on offense, mental mistakes started to catch up with the Purple and White.

Union converted on their first fourth-down opportunity of the ensuing drive but the Curry defense forced another on their own 18-yard line. However, an illegal touching penalty gave the Dutchmen another chance which they did not spoil.

Sophomore Brett Waller got all nine yards he needed to put his team up 17-7 with just over five minutes left in the game.

Bandini didn’t put any of the blame on his players for those errors.

“We did some stupid things, so that’s coaching, we gotta coach our kids better,” Bandini said.

Facing a 10-point deficit and only 5:06 left in his back pocket, Corvese again led the Purple and White onto the field. Starting on their own 11-yard line following an illegal block, #12 never wavered and relied on a balanced attack of aerial and ground forces to reach the Union Red Zone.

From eight yards out, Corvese found the 6-2 205-pound frame of senior Spencer Tyler to cut the score to 17-14 with 1:31 left to play.

Junior Mark Mrozek lined up for an onside kick following the score but the Colonels failed to retrieve the bouncing ball and all the Dutchmen had to do was bleed out the clock.

Waller ripped off a 67-yard run down to the Curry four but got flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct which brought the ball back to the 14. There the victory formation came out and the 17-14 score went final.

Corvese felt the offense should have executed a lot better but his focus turned to improving for the next game.

“We were moving the ball pretty well at times, then we came up short a couple times,” Corvese noted. “Couple mistakes here and there, but we need to sharpen up for UMass Dartmouth in two weeks,” the senior from Cranston, R.I. added.

The Colonels dropped to 3-1 on the season while Union improved to an identical 3-1.

As Corvese mentioned, Curry has their bye week coming up so they’ll have an extra week to prepare to return to Walter M. Katz field to square off against UMass Dartmouth for a 1 p.m. kickoff Saturday, Oct. 7.

Colonels Open Season With 33-30 Win over Fitchburg State

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.

Quarterback Alex Corvese, one of the senior captains, drew the defense out wide and Burcy found a hole and barreled his way in from six yards out to put Curry up 7-0 early.

D’Aundray Burcy (20) celebrates his touchdown with Joe Early (27) and Nick Villaneuva (80) early in the first quarter. Photo Credit: Darren Deng ’19

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.

Dylan Vieira-Owens (23) checks with the referee while split out wide in the red zone. Photo Credit: Darren Deng ’19


Amaru’s performance was certainly noteworthy, with the junior from Westwood, Mass. racking up 188 all-purpose yards with most of that coming at the most important time.

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.

Senior captain Steve Grogan (42) leads the defense off the field as happy customers late in the game. Photo credit: Darren Deng ’19

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.

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Football Says Goodbye to Seniors

BY TYLER MILLIKEN // NOV. 14, 2016 //

Saturday marked the end of 17 different collegiate careers as well as the 2016 chapter of Curry College Football as Endicott College came to Walter M. Katz Field for an afternoon kickoff.

After a roller-coaster type of season, emotions were high before the first whistle. There was a serious hope that the Colonels could defeat their Commonwealth Coast Conference rival and end the season on a high note for the seniors.

Curry won the coin toss but deferred to the second half and the Gulls offense battled to a 33-yard field goal attempt on their first possession. The Colonels’ special teams unit came through, and rushed kicker John Glaser to push the kick wide right.

On Senior Day, instead of junior Alex Corvese starting the game at quarterback like he has all season, Head Coach Skip Bandini gave the starting nod to senior Mike O’Hearn.

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Mike O’Hearn (14) read for the snap Photo: Curry College Athletics

However, O’Hearn faltered in his first drive and threw an interception on his eighth play. Classmate and linebacker Sean Conroy picked him up though and jumped a slant route and ran 28 yards with the interception to open the scoring.

The crowd immediately erupted and gave thanks to Conroy on such a special day. The aftermath of the celebrations overshadowed a missed extra point, however, and Curry held a 6-0 lead.

Despite the Colonels changing the momentum, Endicott had no interest in falling behind. Its offense quickly found their groove, and scored their first touchdown of the day courtesy of a two-yard rush by running back Michael Scherer to take a 7-6 lead.

Although the ensuing Curry drive stalled, Mark Mrozek delivered a punt that was downed at the Gulls’ one-yard line nearing the end of the first frame. However, looking at all 99 yards to work with, quarterback Joe Kalosky ended the drive scrambling for an eight-yard touchdown, two minutes into the second quarter.

Corvese returned to the field and developed a drive of his own to answer Endicott. D’Aundray Burcy took it in from seven yards out to bring the score to 14-13 with just over ten minutes to play in the first half.

Kalosky came back but had his drive cut short by junior Dan Farrell who forced a fumble that sophomore Aidan Cawley recovered at the Endicott 40. Corvese then needed only five plays to find sophomore Dylan Vieira-Owens to retake the lead, 20-14.

The Gulls responded with a seven-play, lateral-infused drive that ended in a score to give the ball back to Corvese and the offense. However, the Colonels were forced to punt and had said punt blocked to return the ball to Kalosky’s hands, who scored right away from 16 yards out to make it 28-20 heading into halftime.

Since Curry deferred the coin toss, they started the second half on their own 33-yard line with only two quarters left. Corvese wasted no time and took ten plays to drive all 69 yards which ended with Jake Cawlina finding pay dirt on a 30-yard connection in his last game in the Purple and White.

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Jake Cawlina (84) Runs after the catch. Photo: Curry College Athletics

The teams traded possessions until the final two minutes of the third quarter, when Endicott quickly took advantage of a short field and took a 35-27 lead nearing the final round.

The Colonels’ next drive spanned the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarter, but stalled to give the ball back to the Gulls. They scored on their next two possessions to increase their advantage to 49-27 before Corvese led one more scoring drive of his own to cut into the lead.

He leaned heavily on senior Anthony Nastasi who finished the day with 72 yards on nine catches in his final game. Corvese eventually ran it in himself from ten yards out to make the score 49-33 with a minute and a half left in many careers. Even though the points came with little time to change the outcome of the game, it was obvious the seniors appreciated the entire team’s effort.

Curry got one more possession, and O’Hearn was given one more drive to finish out his career. The final play of the game was a four-yard connection to friend and classmate, Nastasi, who walked off Katz Field one last time with their brothers in shoulder pads.

After the game O’Hearn was a little shocked, and noted, “I never thought the day would come when I would play my last football game. But it came, and it was fun to get out there one last time.”

The entire scene on the field was tough to watch at the end of the game, as the moment really began to hit some players. Conroy mentioned, “Knowing that I’ll never come back and play with these guys made things emotional. I have nothing but great memories here.”

Coach Bandini echoed both of his players’ thoughts saying, “I couldn’t ask for anything more from these seniors, not only during this game but throughout the entire year. Taking all the younger guys underneath their wing…You couldn’t ask for better kids.”

The Colonels close the 2016 season 3-6, with a 1-6 record in CCC play. During a season full of both high-scoring and close affairs, it shows some insight into what the future holds for this program.

Even though so many impactful seniors are saying their goodbyes, many have left their footprint on this team. The leadership and maturity they showed on a weekly basis will be a model for future Colonels, as the program continues to chase that coveted championship.

Offensive Skill Positions: WR Jake Cawlina (60 Receptions, Team-Best 945 yards and 13 TD’s this season), WR Anthony Nastasi (Team-Best 82 Receptions, 772 yards), WR Nate Chartrand (24 Receptions, 257 yards), QB Mike O’Hearn (16-30, 177 yards), RB Dave DiGiorgi (12 Receptions, 94 yards), RB Dean Anderson (29 Receptions, 228 yards), TE J. Riley Barron.

Defensive Skill Positions: DB Christian Vellante (37 Total Tackles this season, Fumble Recovery), DB Nick Patten, LB Sean Conroy (Senior-Best 50 Total Tackles, 5.5 For Loss, Sack), DB Christian Braga (47 Total Tackles, Fumble Recovery), DB Sean McNamara, LB Stephen Blake (3 Total Tackles), LB Michael Crisalli (9 Total Tackles).

Linemen: OL James Hill, OL Kevin McTommney, DL Joe Grogan (33 Total Tackles).

Football grabs first Conference win on Homecoming

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.

Colonels fall 47-14 to undefeated Salve Regina

BY ANDREW PENACHO // OCT. 2, 2016 //

Curry went up against freezing rain and a top NEFC team in Slave Regina’s Seahawks that equated into the Colonels getting rolled over at home, 47-14.

“We played two of the best teams in [the New England Football Conference],” the humbled head coach, Skip Bandini said after dropping the first two of seven straight NEFC games. “We are 2-2 overall, I’m not worried about being 0-2 in the league or whatever else…Our kids are good kids-we are going to do the best we can do, and that’s all we can do.”

Bandini’s group quickly grew higher standards compared to Colonels in recent history, starting the year off 2-0, beating a good Bridgewater State team, 28-24, and manhandling Anna Maria 42-3. Even more impressive are the stats for those two games.

Curry was averaging 393 yards of total offense, with a rich rush game of 115. That’s nice and all, but it won’t make you jump out of your seat. However, the impressive piece to note on the short season was the Colonels defense.

Curry only allowed an average of 217 yards of total offense while simultaneously making teams one dimensional by allowing an average of 48 rushing yards per game. By doing those things, the Colonels had only allowed three touchdowns and two field goals in two games, with a point differential of 3.7 to 1.

Curry’s football program has been somewhat of a let-down these past couple of years, and it’s a real kick in the pants when you’re given a dash of hope; just to see it go all away in a span of eight days.

The 0-2 skid is a bigger concern for the Colonels for more than it being just a 0-2 skid. The past two games were conference games- these games are the ones to determine where each team ranks in the NEFC.

Curry’s defense has been showing growth for the first time in a while and had to face maybe its two biggest opponents in Salve and Western New England, who both are alone with Endicott as the only NEFC teams’ 2-0 to start. But when you look at these past two games, Curry fans have to ask, ‘Where is the effort?’

The Colonel’s performance on both sides of the ball has dropped as they’ve only amassed an average of 278 yards on offense, with 221 of those coming through the air.

Remember that stellar defense that showed in the first two games? Well just like yesterday, that is history. The Colonels have given up 18 scoring plays, with 15 of those being touchdowns. On top of that, they have allowed opponents to rack up an average of 506.5 yards of total offense.

In addition, the tables have now turned on the Colonels with the point differential, as they are now allowing 2.5 points to their 1.

Quarterback Carousel: Three different quarterbacks called plays against Salve with junior Alex Corvese getting the starting nod but only completing 3 of 9 passes for 39 yards. Senior Mike O’Hearn finished 11 of 18 for 111 yards and junior Spencer Tyler finished the game going 2 of 3 for 21 yards and a score.

Yellow Laundry…or lack thereof: Salve Regina managed to not commit a single penalty during the game, compared to the five flags the Colonels drew.

Everyone aboard the NEFC train: Curry’s remaining schedule will be against NEFC teams, with Curry traveling to the Coast Guard Academy October 15. With a win, the Colonels could jump two spots if MIT also loses to WNE.