By Brian Willwerth
MILTON, MA – After losing three straight games to open the season, the Curry College Colonels are now riding a modest two-game winning streak.
On a rainy Saturday afternoon, they used a 275-yard effort in the running game to hold off Coast Guard Academy, 27-24.
“I think we’re doing some good things there. We’ve got a bunch of young guys. They’re working their tails off. They’re starting to believe themselves in the team,” said Colonels head coach Skip Bandini, whose team improved to 2-1 in the New England Football Conference (NEFC.)
Curry took the lead on its opening possession with a 13-play, 76-yard drive that took more than seven minutes off the clock. It ended with quarterback Kevin Fruwirth finding Tyran Harrigan in the end zone from nine yards out. The Colonels led 6-0 after the extra point hit the right upright.
In the second quarter, the Bears took advantage of a muffed punt by Curry, and turned it into a 26-yard field goal from Tyler Henning. It stayed 6-3 until the closing seconds of the half, when Fruwirth found a wide-open Jordan Shairs on the right side, and Shairs went untouched into the end zone to give the Colonels a 13-3 lead at the intermission.
In the second half, the rain picked up, and so did both offenses. The third quarter began with a surprise onside kick attempt by Curry that did not fool the Bears. They marched down the field, and scored their first touchdown of the game on an eight-yard pass from Derek Victory to Nick Fredericksen.
But Curry came right back, with the running game really asserting itself. Shairs broke through the middle of the line, and was off to the races – 59 yards for the touchdown to make put the home team back up by 10. Shairs finished with 17 carries for 161 yards and two scores, one rushing and one receiving.
Yet, the Bears wouldn’t go away. Victory led a 70-yard drive, and capped it off with an eight-yard pass to Blake Thompson to make it 20-17. Victory finished 28-of-50 for 235 yards, but was also intercepted twice, and had two other picks nullified by Curry penalties.
Midway thru the fourth quarter, Phil Bigelow’s two-yard plunge on 4th-and-goal turned out to be the deciding score. With 2:37 to play, Coast Guard scored its own touchdown on a 4th-and-goal, with Jake Wawrzyniak taking the pitch on the option and finding the end zone from two yards out. Curry recovered the ensuing onside kick, picked up a first down, and was able to run out the clock.
Fruwirth finished 15-of-24 for 120 yards, but did not make any mistakes to cost his team. While Curry had 275 yards rushing, Coast Guard had just 38.
“We’re a young team, we got a long way to go,” said Bandini. “We’re making some mistakes, but that’s part of the game…so if they don’t do the right thing, it’s my fault.”
Curry hosts Salve Regina on Friday night – a team Bandini called one of the better teams in New England, not just the NEFC. Coast Guard returns home to face Maine Maritime on Saturday.