WORCESTER, Mass. - Junior Zach Grasis (East Brookfield, MA) notched a career-best 195 yards on 31 carries and four touchdowns to help propel WPI past visiting Curry, 48-28, in a non-conference football game on Friday night at Alumni Field in the season opener for both squads.
Sophomore Sean Murphy (Mattapoisett, MA) put the Engineers in good field position as he returned the season-opening kickoff to the WPI 43. Senior John Antonopoulos (Cambridge, MA) then connected with classmate Ehab Hamdan (Revere, MA) to cap a nine-play drive that lasted 5:16 for the early lead. The touchdown was Antonopoulos' 20th career strike while it was Hamdan's third career score.
Curry responded as senior Richard Johnson (Framingham, MA) returned the ball to the WPI 32. Facing fourth down and 13 yards to go, senior Kevin Fruwirth (Agawam, MA) completed a pass to junior Jordan Shairs (Gloucester, MA) for a 19-yard score to even the game.
The Colonels looked poised to break the plane and take the lead on their second possession but Engineer junior Jake Brown (Fall River, MA) intercepted Fruwirth at the 3-yard line with just under a minute left in the frame.
Defense took over to begin the second quarter as both teams were forced to punt twice. The Engineers broke the pattern following a pass interference infraction as Antonopoulos pitched the ball to junior Anthony Andre (Chelmsford, MA) for a 39-yard rush to pay dirt.
Fruwirth connected with freshman Jay McRae (Boston, MA) on a 65-yard pass to cap a four-play, 90-yard drive. Grasis answered for the Boynton Hillers with a 63-yard run on the second play of the drive.
Grasis extended the lead in the third quarter on a three-yard run to finish a five-play 44-yard drive after the Engineers took over on a pickoff by sophomore Eric Lacroix (Methuen, MA) on the first possession of the half. Antonopoulos and Hamdan hooked up once more for a 27-yard touchdown on a one-play drive that started at 10:42 in the third.
The Colonels had another great opportunity on the next set of plays as senior Kevin Janvier (Boston, MA) intercepted a pass by Antonopoulos to give Curry the ball at the 21-yard line but turned it over to the Engineers on downs. Johnson, who totaled 11 catches for 118 yards, pulled down a 45-yard pass from Fruwirth and rolled into the end zone as Curry pulled within two scores with 4:14 remaining in the third.
Grasis punched in a seven-yard carry early in the fourth. Curry then took 4:38 off the clock with a 13-play, 51-yard drive that culminated with a five-yard rush by McRae. Later in the frame, Grasis scored his fourth touchdown of the game as he scampered in on a two-yard rush.
Freshman Blaine Bursey (Middleburg, FL) converted six of seven extra points while junior Tim Crowley (Walpole, MA) was a perfect 4-for-4.
Antonopoulos finished 11-of-19 with 143 yards and two scores. Fruwirth was 22-of-49 with 294 yards and four touchdowns.
Murphy and senior Luke Bogdanovich (Scarborough, ME) shared team-high tackle honors with six tackles each – including four solo. Brown and Lacroix each had an interception for the Crimson and Gray. Hamdan led the receivers with 46 yards on three catches with two TDs. Shairs rushed 10 times for 57 yards for Curry.
Both sophomore Ed Giles (Franklin, MA) tackles were for loss and defensive linemate junior Ryan Mathie (Smithtown, NY) had three QB hurries and a pair of stops.
Junior Parrish Rogers-Reed (Westfield, MA) and senior Kevin Janvier (Boston, MA) amassed seven tackles with 2.5 for loss apiece with the latter tacking on an interception.
WPI held a slight 399-398 edge in total yardage and had the ball for 31:46 compared to Curry's 28:14.
The Engineers head to Worcester State next Friday night for a 7pm intra-city showdown. Curry hosts Fitchburg State on Saturday at 1pm.