Football Friday: Revisiting Framingham State’s 2012 Campaign

Endicott Football

Framingham State’s Melikke Van Alstyne chases Endicott College’s PJ Bandini after an interception in the second half. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan/

By Matt Noonan 

Happy Friday, everyone!

And welcome to our second installment of ‘Football Friday,’ a post where we revisit stories, teams, coaches, and student-athletes that we have covered over the past decade.

Today, we’re jumping back to 2012 to highlight a Framingham State University football team that not only won the New England Football Conference (NEFC) championship against Salve Regina University but also advanced to its first-ever NCAA D-III Tournament.

The Rams’ run toward a national championship, unfortunately, concluded in the opening round against SUNY Cortland – the Red Dragons edged Framingham State, 20-19, despite a fourth-quarter rally by the Black and Gold.

Yet, despite a one-point setback in the national tournament, the 2012 season was quite a memorable one for the Rams, which captured the program’s first and only NEFC title, while four members of the squad, including coach Tom Kelley, garnered major postseason awards from the conference. Additionally, Framingham State won 10 games for the first time in program history and only lost once in the regular season to Endicott College, which defeated the 2011 NEFC Bogan Division and Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) champions on the opening day of the 2012 season.

Endicott’s defense shined in its week one victory against the Rams as the unit finished the contest with five interceptions, five tackles for a loss, one fumble recovery, and a trio of pass break-ups.

“We stuffed them on first down (and) forced them (into) long second downs (and) that really got them out of their groove,” Endicott’s Andrew Holfinger said following his team’s initial win of its 2012 campaign.

Luckily, the loss to the Gulls was quickly forgotten six days later when Framingham State scored its first win of the 2012 season against Nichols College.

The Rams, who defeated the Bison by a score of 34-6, leaned on its ground game as both Matthew Mangano and Melikke Van Alstyne combined for four touchdowns and 393 rushing yards.

The victory over the Bison seemed to provide the Rams with a ton of momentum as they would go onto capture its next nine contests, including a 16-0 win over rival Bridgewater State University followed by an exciting overtime victory against Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

Not only did the Framingham State offense shine throughout the 2012 season, but so did  the defense, which limited its numerous foes to 12.8 points per game, along with 63.0 rushing yards per contest.

After registering just seven points in the opening week, the Rams concluded seven contests with 30 points or more. But during the team’s final regular-season contest against Worcester State University, all three units – offense, defense, and special teams – collaborated to produce a season-high 65 points.

The 65-21 win over the Lancers allowed the Rams to clinch its second-straight NEFC Bogan Division crown, as well as secure a spot in the conference’s championship round one week later against Salve Regina.

“We’re certainly going to be tested,” Kelley said when previewing his team’s contest against the Seahawks at the New England Football Writers’ Gridiron Club of Greater Boston luncheon, which was held at Harvard University.

Salve Regina entered the contest with an identical 9-1 record. The Seahawks averaged nearly 400 yards of offense while the defense limited opponents to roughly two touchdowns per game.

But despite scoring the first points of the 2012 NEFC title game, Salve Regina struggled to contain both Melikke Van Alstyne and Matthew Silva, who combined for three rushing touchdowns. 

James Muirhead led the Rams defense with eight total tackles, including three stops for a loss of 17 yards and one forced fumble.

Salve Regina, which trailed Framingham State by four points (14-10) at the break, attempted to mount a late comeback during the final minutes of the fourth quarter but saw its rally dashed when the Rams recovered its onside kick.

Moments after the final kickoff of the game was recorded, the Rams celebrated a hard-fought championship, which Muirhead considered “so surreal.”

“All the hard work paid off,” said Muirhead, who was named the Bull Mottola Championship Game Most Valuable Player Award following the final whistle.

“I don’t really have any words to explain it,” he would add.

The 28-16 win over the Seahawks was a culmination of the Rams’ commitment of hard work and determination that was fueled by an overtime setback one year earlier in the same contest to Western New England. And while the victory over the Seahawks did not spark a deep postseason run, it was certainly the beginning of many more conference titles and postseason appearances for a squad that has maintained its success over the past few years.

Watching – and yes, covering – this team truly made me fall in love more with small college football. The 2012 season truly marked the beginning of my tenure of producing content on various New England D-III athletic teams and programs, and I am thankful for the time both Tom Kelley and the players provided me throughout this exciting and historic campaign.

Mass. College Football: Week Four Honor Roll


With the fourth week of the college football season in the books, it’s time to unveil this week’s Noontime Sports Honor Roll.

Conner Hempel (Harvard) – In his first-career start with the Crimson, the junior quarterback tossed four touchdowns in his team’s win against San Diego.

Roman SanDoval (Holy Cross) – Against Monmouth, SanDoval led the Crusaders with a game-best 11 tackles (nine solo).

Brian Harrington (Stonehill) – This week’s Northeast-10 Conference Defensive Player of the Week, led the Skyhawks defense with 17 total tackles (nine solo), one tackle for a loss and a forced fumble.

Kevin Arduino (American International) – The junior gunslinger finished his team’s contest with five touchdowns, four through the air, one on the ground against Pace on Saturday.

Matt Pedone (Assumption College) – The senior halfback from Holden, posted a career-high 187 rushing yards on 26 carries. He rushed for two scores in his team’s setback to Stonehill on Friday.

Danny Guadagnoli (Bentley) – Against LIU Post, the Framingham native threw for four touchdowns and 381 yards, both career-bests.

Logan Meyer (Stonehill) – The senior gunslinger helped the Skyhawks to their second victory of the season by completing 27-of-49 passes for 372 yards and five touchdowns.

Nate Robitaille (Stonehill) – The Attleboro native hauled in a career-best 13 passes for a career-high 190 yards and two touchdowns.

Chris Walsh (Bentley) – The sophomore wide receiver had his best game in a Falcons uniform as he caught five passes for 136 yards, which included a 65-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter that tied the game at 24.

Andrew Holfinger (Endicott) – This week’s New England Football Conference Defensive Player of the Week recorded a team-best 11 tackles, four tackles for a loss of 15 yards and one-and-a-half sacks.  

Mike McCarthy (Bridgewater State) – Against Worcester State on Friday evening, the Martha’s Vineyard native accounted for six touchdowns (five passing, one running). He led all rushers with 98 yards on 22 carries.

Matthew Green (Bridgewater State) – This week’s Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week hauled six passes for a career-high 202 yards and a school-record five touchdowns.

Melikke Van Alstyne (Framingham State) – The senior halfback rushed for 192 yards on 30 carries for one score, as well as hauled in three catches for 23 yards and one touchdown.

Mike Stanton (Mass. Maritime) – Completed 22-of-28 passes for 357 yards and pair of touchdowns of 36 and 33 yards as Buccaneers claimed third straight Admiral’s Cup with 52-18 victory at Maine Maritime.

Phillip Nwosu (Amherst College) – The senior kicker recorded 11 points, three field goals and two extra points in the Lord Jeffs’ first win of the season against Hamilton.

Mass. College Football: Week 10 Honor Roll


Here is this week’s Noontime Sports Weekly Honor Roll.

Damani Wilson (Harvard) – The sophomore tailback found the end zone for the first time this season, as he rushed for two scores and 121 yards on eight carries in his team’s enormous victory against Columbia.

Reggie Wood (Holy Cross) – Against Lehigh, the junior halfback from Maine rushed for a career-high 139 yards and one touchdown on 29 carries.

Joe Clancy (Merrimack College) – During his team’s Homecoming contest against Assumption College, the senior gunslinger from Newburyport completed 36-of-60 passes for 415 yards and tossed five touchdowns in the Warriors 43-40 victory. Clancy has thrown for at least 400 yards or more in four games this season and was named this week’s Northeast-10 Conference Offensive Player of the Week.

Matt Colangelo (Assumption College) – The junior linebacker led the Hounds with 15 tackles (13 solo), as well as registered one tackle for a loss, one fumble recovery and two pass breakups.

Bobby Jordan (Assumption College) – The junior quarterback tallied four touchdowns (three through the air, one on the ground), threw for 240 yards and ran for 100 yards.

Bobby Tarr (Bentley University) – Against So. Connecticut, the senior halfback from Byfield rushed for 89 yards and two scores on 24 carries.

Logan Meyer (Stonehill College) – Against Pace, the junior quarterback broke his own record with a career-best 385 yards through the air and six touchdowns.

Christopher McCarthy (Becker College) – The sophomore, who earned this week’s Eastern Collegiate Football Conference Weekly Honors, recorded 14 tackles (career-high), two sacks and three tackles for a loss in his team’s 27-7 victory against Anna Maria.

Jonathan Marrero (Springfield College) – The former Golden Helmet Award winner put on a show at home last weekend against RPI, as the freshman quarterback accounted for four scores (two through the air, two on the ground). Marrero completed 5-of-7 passes for 96 yards and rushed for 131 yards on 24 carries.

Mike McCarthy (Bridgewater State) – The Junior quarterback from Edgartown was named this week’s New England Football Conference Offensive Player of the Week following his performance in the 34th Annual Ocean Spray Cranberry Bowl against Mass. Maritime where he rushed for 184 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. He completed 7-of-14 passes for 74 yards and tossed one touchdown, too. Finally, McCarty earned the Lee Harington Trophy as the MVP of the contest.

Kevin Fruwirth (Curry College) – In his team’s final game of the season, the Agawam native completed 23-of-38 passes for 278 yards and tossed four touchdowns.

Andrew Holfinger (Endicott College) – The Sterling native recorded an interception, pass breakup, strip sack and two tackles for a loss.

Derek Tarpey (UMass Dartmouth) – The Tewksbury native tallied 21 tackles (8 solo), and three tackles for a loss.

Jake Laux (MIT) – The junior linebacker recorded a game-high 16 tackles to conclude his superb season with 121, two shy of the school’s single season record.

Alex Scyocurka (Williams College) – Against Wesleyan, the Longmeadow native rushed for 205 yards on 29 carries. He averaged 7.1 yards per carry and rushed for a 93-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, which was the longest in school history.

Mass. College Football: Endicott Defeats WNEC, 50-45 (Press Release)


Courtesy of our friends from Endicott College’s athletic department — here is today’s press release pertaining toward the Gulls exciting 50-45 victory against Western New England College.

For more information on the Gulls football team — HOP HERE.

BEVERLY, Mass. – The 100th game for the Endicott football program was a memorable one as the Gulls exchanged offensive blows with their NEFC Boyd Division rival Western New England but came out on top 50-45 to improve to 7-2 (5-1 NEFC Boyd) on the season.

For the second week in-a-row, sophomore quarterback Drew Frenette (New Bedford, Mass.) connected with his favorite receiver, senior Mike Murphy (Chelmsford, Mass.), 11 times for 139 yards and a new program record five touchdown receptions under the lights at Endicott Stadium.  When Murphy brushed off his defender and scampered into the end zone 35 yards for his fourth touchdown with 8:58 remaining in the second quarter, not only did he break the single game record for touchdown catches but he also passed Ryan MacLean (’07) for Endicott’s career receiving yards mark.

Murphy ended up catching five of Frenette’s six touchdown passes, also a new Endicott record.  The sophomore signal-caller finished 27-of-39 for 342 yards, six touchdowns, and one pick.  His sixth touchdown of the game came with 3:47 remaining in the third quarter as he found tight end Greg Dellorco (Franklin, Mass.) wide open for 42 yards up the middle of the field to put the Blue and Green ahead 45-31.

Not to be outdone, Endicott senior running back Mike Wheeler (Hanover, Mass.) provided an effective all-around game as well as he surpassed Mike Lane’s (’12) single-game all-purpose yards record with 288 total yards against Western New England on Saturday evening.   Wheeler rushed 23 times for 123 yards, returned six kickoffs a total of 161 yards and caught one pass for four yards.

Despite numerous offensive records being broken for the second straight week, Western New England amassed 579 total yards of offense in the game. Sophomore tailback Kevin Cook (Hamburg, N.J.) took the ball 31 times for 192 yards and two touchdowns while junior quarterback John Krafick (New Milford, Conn.) threw for 323 yards and four scores through the air.

The Golden Bears started the game with an 14-play, 79-yard opening drive that resulted in a 16-yard touchdown reception by junior tight end Mike Uszakiewicz (Prospect, Conn.) from Krafick. Endicott answered on their first drive as Murphy kept one foot in the corner of the end zone to complete a 13-yard touchdown pass from Frenette.

Later in the first quarter with great field position to start their drive, Murphy caught touchdown number two from nine  yards out to put Endicott ahead 14-7.  The Gulls defense forced Western New England to punt to start the second quarter and five plays into their first drive of the new period, Murphy was back in the end zone after another near sideline grab from 24 yards out.

The Golden Bears fired back with a 10-play, 83-yard drive that saw Uszakiewicz catch his second touchdown of the game from Krafick, a 19-yard reception to pull within seven at 21-14.

Murphy’s record-breaking, 35-yard touchdown catch put the Blue and Green back up by two scores but Cook pounded the ball into the end zone from three yards out to make it 28-21 with 3:02 left in opening half. Endicott would go into halftime up 31-21 after junior Dylan Rushe (Palos Verdes, Calif.) drilled a 24-yard field goal with only seconds remaining in the half.

Momentum shifted Western New England’s way at the start of the third quarter after Endicott’s first play from scrimmage was a fumble that was recovered by the Golden Bears at the Gulls 32 yard line. The very next play, Krafick found sophomore wide out Andrew Walz (Groton, Conn.) for a 32-yard touchdown to pull within three at 31-28.

Murphy’s final touchdown, a Golden Bears field goal, then Dellorco’s 42-yard touchdown reception put the Blue and Green on top 45-31 with 3:47 remaining in the third quarter. Cook scored his second touchdown, a hard-fought eight-yard score to trim Endicott’s lead down to seven points heading into the final 15 minutes of the game.

Early in the fourth quarter, Wheeler got Endicott down to the Western New England 15-yard line after a 26-yard rush. The Gulls settled for Rushe’s second field goal of the game but Endicott held a 48-38 lead with 11:51 to go.

After Rushe pinned the Golden Bears deep into their own territory courtesy of an Endicott record 69-yard punt, the Gulls defense forced a fumble in the backfield inside the five yard line.  Western New England recovered in their won end zone, resulting in a safety and two points for Endicott. Junior defensive lineman Marcell Cooper(Dorchester, Mass.) forced the fumble in the backfield.

Western New England would score one more time on Walz’ second TD catch of the game as the sophomore finished with six catches, 135 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. Endicott squashed Western New England’s hopes for a final drive touchdown as senior linebacker Peter Kallas (Beverly, Mass.) made a diving interception on a Krafick pass to effectively end the game.

The defense was led by Cooper who had a team-high 13 tackles, eight of which were solo, one tackle for a loss and a forced fumble.  Junior defensive back Jason Silva (Palatine, Ill.) had 10 tackles with a pass breakup and three other players, PJ Bandini (Waltham, Mass.), Kallas, and Andrew Holfinger (Sterling, Mass.) all added nine tackles each. Junior defensive back Andrew Lawson (Framingham, Mass.) had three pass breakups to lead all players.

For the Golden Bears, junior linebacker Nathan Fleming (Willimantic, Conn.) had a game-high 16 takedowns, nine of which were solo, while forcing and recovering a fumble. Andrew Imperatore (Wyckoff, N.J.) added 11 tackles in the loss. Senior defensive back Corey Brown (Worcester, Mass.) had Western New England’s lone interception with a 15-yard return.

Endicott will close out the regular season on Saturday, November 3rd at home for Senior Day as the Gulls will honor 15 seniors on the roster.  Endicott hosts MIT at 5:00 pm at Endicott Stadium.  Western New England closes out their regular season at home against UMass Dartmouth at 1:00 pm next Saturday.

Mass. College Football: Endicott Defeats UMass Dartmouth, Breaks Offensive Records (Press Release)


Courtesy of our friends from the Endicott College athletic department — here is today’s press release pertaining toward the Gulls football victory against UMass Dartmouth.

The Gulls have won four of their last six contests and currently reside in second place in the New England Football Conference Boyd Division.

For more information on the football team — HOP HERE.

NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – The Endicott football broke numerous offensive records on Saturday in a 61-15 Gulls victory over UMass Dartmouth including team offensive yardage, individual passing yards, and individual receiving yards.  The Gulls improved to 6-2 (4-1 NEFC Boyd) and will next take on rival Western New England on Saturday, October 27th at 5:00 pm at Endicott Stadium.

Endicott raced out to a 47-6 halftime lead and never looked back as sophomore Drew Frenette (New Bedford, Mass.) threw for 450 yards and four touchdowns and senior receiver Mike Murphy (Chelmsford, Mass.) caught 12 balls for 210 yards and two touchdowns.  Overall, the Gulls totaled 709 yards of offense which eclipsed Endicott’s historic game last season versus Curry (652 yards).

The Corsairs stopped Endicott on their first possession, but the Gulls downed junior kicker Dylan Rushe‘s (Palos Verders, Calif.) punt at the UMD one yard line, and freshman quarterback Mario Rigali (Agawam, Mass.) was sacked on the first play for a safety. On the ensuing possession, Frenette connected with Murphy for a 45-yard touchdown.

Endicott made it 16-0 on a 12 yard scoring run by senior running back Mike Wheeler (Hanover, Mass.) midway through the first quarter before the Corsairs came back. They drove 49 yards in eight plays after senior defensive back Joune Fraser (Barnstable, Mass.) intercepted a Frenette pass and returned it 31 yards to the Gull 49, and scored when Rigali lofted a 31-yard scoring pass to senior wide receiver Brendan McNeish (Springfield, Mass.) with 1:44 left in the first quarter.

The Gulls put up the next five scores, with Frenette hitting junior tight end Greg Dellorco (Franklin, Mass.) and Wheeler on scoring passes, senior running back Jared DiBiase (Cranston, R.I.) scoring on a two-yard run, sophomore defensive back Jake Cox (Wrentham, Mass.) returning an interception 32 yards for a touchdown, and Rushe kicking a 22 yard field goal.

Frenette hit Murphy with a 47-yard scoring pass early in the third quarter.  UMD came back and got a safety when sophomore defensive end Kevin Roche (Mendon, Mass.) forced an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone. Rigali hit senior wide receiver Romario Berneche (Everett, Mass.) with a 14 yard scoring pass midway through the fourth quarter to account for the rest of the UMD points.

Endicott also put up 267 yards on the ground thanks to 76 yards from wheeler, 70 yards from Andrew Cummings (Springfield, Mass.), 60 from Cody Sinnott (Ricky Point, N.Y.), and another 46 yards from DiBiase.  Wheeler, Cummings, and DiBiase each had a touchdown run.

Sophomore defensive back Mike Lago (Newtown, Conn.) led the Gulls with six stops, including four solos, an interception and a pass break-up. Kevin Pressey (Fairfield, Maine), Marcell Cooper (Dorchester, Mass.), and Andrew Holfinger (Sterling, Mass.) each added five tackles.

The Gulls defense totaled five sacks in the game and now have 23 sacks on the season.