BEVERLY, Mass. – The Endicott College football team posted a 17-3 non-conference win over visiting Bridgewater State University on Friday night at Hempstead Stadium.
The host Gulls even their record at 1-1, while the Bears fall to 1-1 on the young season.
Endicott quarterback Dylan Bonfilio had a solid day under center as he completed 12 of 18 pass attempts for 115 yards and a touchdown. Bonfilio also rushed for a game-best 95 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.
Endicott got on the board on the opening possession of the game. Nick DiCairano booted a 25-yard field goal to cap off an 11-play, 55-yard drive. The Bears answered with an 11-play, 59-yard drive, but Jacob Crear's 33-yard field goal attempt was blocked.
The Gulls were forced to punt on the ensuing possession, but got the ball right back as the Bears fumbled away the return. The hosts capitalized on the turnover as they moved the ball 38 yards on seven plays resulting in a six-yard Bonfilio touchdown run. DiCairano converted the PAT to give the hosts a 10-0 lead with 27 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The next four possessions all resulted in punts. Taking over at their own 20-yard line with just over four minutes remaining in the second quarter, the Bears put together a lengthy 17-play drive that stalled at the Endicott six-yard line with just 11 seconds remaining until halftime. Crear knocked home a 23-yard field goal to make it a 10-3 game at the break.
Bridgewater took the opening kickoff of the second half and moved the ball 64 yards on 12 plays. The drive stalled at the Endicott 12 and Crear's short 29-yard field goal attempt was again blocked.
The Gulls proceeded to move the ball 84 yards on 12 plays with Bonfilio connecting with Ryan Shanley on a four-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-two. DiCairano knocked home the extra point to give the hosts a 17-3 advantage with 5:52 remaining in the third quarter.
That would prove to be the final points of the game. Bridgewater's last four possessions of the second half resulted in two punts and a pair of turnovers on downs.
Travis Bassett hauled in career-high 11 receptions for 92 yards to highlight the BSU offense. He also rushed for 31 yards on four carries. Jack Lavanchy added seven catches for 57 yards. Stefano D'Emilia completed 26 of 47 passes for 206 yards. His 26 completions and 47 pass attempts both marked career highs. Nick Santavicca paced the Bridgewater ground game with 66 yards on 22 carries.
The Bears finished with 305 yards of total offense, but went 9-for-19 (47%) on third down conversions and 0-for-2 on fourth down. Bridgewater ran 81 offensive plays compare to 60 for Endicott.
The Gulls outgained the Bears on the ground, 173-99. Endicott, however, went just 3-for-11 (27%) on third down.
Christian Pizzotti registered a game-best ten tackles (five solo) with one for loss to highlight Endicott's outstanding defensive effort. George Balian checked in with eight tackle (four solo) and three pass breakups, while Jesse Simoni added seven stops (five solo) with three pass breakups and a blocked kick.
Next weekend, the Bears open Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) play on Saturday at Framingham State University. Kickoff is slated for noon.
Notes: Bassett's 11 catches marked the fourth highest single-game total in BSU football history....Bassett (147 rec.) leapfrogged Lavanchy (145 rec.) into second place on the Bears' all-time receptions list....Lavanchy now has 1,912 receiving yards in three seasons at Bridgewater State as he closes in on the 2,000-yard milestone....D'Emilia increased his career passing total to 2,129 yards as he became the tenth quarterback in BSU football history to reach the 2,000-yard passing milestone....D'Emilia's 26 pass completions are second only to Danny Higgins school-record of 29 set in 2016 versus Curry....D'Emilia's 47 pass attempts is second only to former quarterback Danny Higgins' school-record 52 attempts against Fitchburg State in 2014.