Defense Dandy in Football's Season-Opening Victory at Curry

Sean Murphy

Milton, MA --- The WPI defense tallied four interceptions, notched a safety, and held host Curry scoreless on its final 15 possessions in a 29-7 non-conference, season-opening win Friday night in Milton. 

After trailing 7-3 at intermission, the Engineers outscored Curry 26-0 in the second half. 

Curry (0-1) recorded the only points of the first quarter, capping off an 11-play, 73-yard opening drive that featured a fake punt on 4th and 17 on its own five yard line with a 44-yard touchdown toss from sophomore Sean Conroy (Derry, NH) to freshman Lucas Poteau (Middleboro, MA) with 9:35 on the clock. 

With 11:41 remaining until halftime, WPI (1-0) put its first points on the board with a 38-yard field goal by sophomore Blaine Bursey (Middleburg, FL).

After forcing the Engineers to turn the ball over on downs early in the third, the Colonels took possession on their own four-yard line. A bad snap sailed through the end zone and forced a safety, trimming Curry's lead to two (7-5).

Several possessions later, Bursey booted a 32-yard field goal with 3:49 left in the third period to claim an 8-7 edge. On the ensuing drive, WPI senior Robert Harasimowicz (Gardner, MA) recorded an interception at the Colonels' 28-yard line. The Engineers took advantage of the field position with a three-play, 28-yard drive capped off with a scoring strike from sophomore Dan Eckler (Stoughton, MA) to classmate Brandon Eccher (Franklin, MA).

With 13:09 to go in the game, WPI junior Sean Murphy (Mattapoisett, MA) recorded an interception and returned it 95 yards into the end zone to extend the lead to 15 (22-7). After several possession changes, the Engineers capped off the scoring with a 12-yard dash by senior Zach Grasis (East Brookfield, Mass.) with 3:29 remaining.

Eckler went 6-for-11 for 60 yards with one TD, while Eccher reeled in four receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown. Grasis led the Engineers on the ground, carrying the ball 21 times for a game-high 120 yards. It marked the fifth straight game and 10th time in his career the senior has reached the 100-yard mark.  Grasis finishes the game with 1,662 career rushing yards, good for ninth place in the 125-year history of WPI football.

Conroy finished 23-for-47 for 217 yards, with one TD and four interceptions. Poteau recorded four catches for 62 yards to go with his touchdown, while senior Skubie Mageza (Revere, MA) pulled in five receptions for 46 yards. 

WPI sophomore Brian Murtagh (Wayland, MA) had a game-best nine total tackles (8 solo), including a pair of sacks (-13 yards). Junior Eric Lacroix (Methuen, MA) chipped in with eight total tackles (7 solo) and one tackle for loss (-4 yards) while Jason Beauregard (New Bedford, MA) and Brian Marsh (Troy, NY) chipped in with interceptions and Nate Martel (Steep Falls, ME) added a sack. 

Senior Parrish Rogers-Reed (Westfield, MA) paced Curry's defense with seven total tackles (6 solo), including 2.5 tackles for loss (-7 yards). Classmates Stanley Sainterlien (Providence, RI) and Craig Richardson (Malden, MA) added 6 total tackles a piece. 

The Crimson and Gray had a strong day kicking with Bursey connecting both of his field goals attempts and a pair of extra points and punter Vinny Tavernelli (Plymouth, MA) averaging 43.4 yards per boot with three inside the 20. 

WPI celebrates its home opener on Friday, September 12 by hosting crosstown rival Worcester State at 7pm. Curry resumes play at the same time, traveling to Fitchburg State next Friday night for a 7pm kickoff.

Majority of release courtesy Curry Sports Information

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