University of New England linemen Daniel Smith (70), Brandon Narciso (75) and Keith Reilly (77) celebrate after the Nor’easters picked up the first win in program history on Saturday at Blue Storm Stadium. PAT McDONALD/Journal Tribune

BIDDEFORD — The University of New England football team went into Saturday’s game against visiting Curry College looking to pick up the first win in program history — but with 2:29 left in the contest it looked like the Nor’easters might have to wait another week.
The visiting Colonels rallied from a 13-point deficit with a pair of touchdowns to take a 42-41 lead and UNE would need to drive 88 yards with no timeouts to secure the victory.
Sophomore quarterback Brian Peters led the Nor’easters on a 12-play, 67-yard drive down to the Curry 21 and junior kicker Robert Inniss, Jr. would do the rest as he nailed a 38-yard field goal to give UNE a 44-42 victory at Blue Storm Stadium.
“It’s what you dream of, the two minute drive to help win the game and we did it,” said Peters, who knew Inniss would come through. “We thought 35 and in Rob could do it. He was making from 50 (yards out) in warmups, so we had confidence in him and he made it.”
Inniss, who is from Windham, missed an extra point earlier in the game, but UNE head coach Mike Lichten was confident the junior would step up in crunch time.
“He redeemed himself in a big way. He just has a flair for the dramatic I guess,” said Lichten. “He’s a bright kid from Windham and I know he held himself very accountable for that (missed extra point) and obviously he made up for it in the end.”

University of New England sophomore Owen Berry, who is a former Wells High School standout, fights through a stiff arm to tackle Curry College’s Tyler Perry during Saturday afternoon’s game at UNE’s Blue Storm Stadium. PAT McDONALD/Journal Tribune

Just like Lichten had trust in Inniss to get the job done, the UNE coach gave his defense a chance to come through late in the fourth quarter.
Curry scored with 8:10 left in the fourth on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Nick Juvelier to Zach Levy and the Nor’easters would have to answer to get their historic first win.
The Nor’easters’ ensuing drive would quickly stall at the UNE 46 and Lichten had a decision to make — go for it on fourth-and-3 or punt with 5:52 left and give his defense another chance.
Lichten would elect to punt and put his trust in the UNE defense, which struggled throughout the second half to slow down the Colonels.
“Well, I wouldn’t have looked very smart if it went the other way, but I have faith in our players — first and foremost, I have faith in our players. I had to stick with the conventional football wisdom and try and get a stop and then drive the field,” said Lichten.
It looked like the decision might backfire as Curry started to drive the field, but the Nor’easters would force a punt thanks to a tackle by Biddeford native Joey Curit on a third-down play at the UNE 44.
“That was huge. We were struggling with stopping the run, stopping the pass. It seemed like whatever they were doing was working,” said UNE freshman and former Deering High standout Keegan Stanton-Meas, who made two tackles on the drive. “It was really nice that even though they were driving the ball down the field, coach Lichten had the confidence in us to punt the ball and give us an opportunity. Giving us that opportunity was all we needed and we made something happen.”
UNE sophomore defensive back Owen Berry, who is from Wells, was confident the Nor’easters’ D would step up on the final drive.
“We just kept telling the defense ‘one more stop and the offense is going to score for us,’ and they did. It was an incredible game,” said Berry, who finished with six tackles.
Once their job was done, the UNE defense would watch Peters and the offense put on the game-winning drive — and Inniss send the large crowd into a frenzy with his historic kick.
“Wow … I had a lot of butterflies in my stomach right there. That was awesome,” said Berry on watching Inniss’ field goal try.
Berry knew Inniss would step up with the game on the line.
“We put a lot of trust in our players and Rob’s been really good all year. He’s been solid, so I had no doubt (he would make it),” Berry said.
Inniss will always remember that moment — even if the junior couldn’t give any details directly after the game.
“To be honest, it is a complete blank even though it was about five minutes ago. I don’t remember any second of it. I’m going to have to watch film for that,” said Inniss, who ended up turning away when the ball was in the air. “I had to watch it go for about three, four seconds and then I turned away because sometimes it’s better to let the fans tell you than it is to see for yourself.”

University of New England sophomore Justin Augur makes the tackle after losing his helmet earlier in the play during Saturday’s game against Curry College. PAT McDONALD/Journal Tribune

Curry had one last chance to deny the Nor’easters their first win when Inniss kicked off following his field goal. The Colonels tried their best to keep the play alive by passing the ball back and forth for close to a minute, but eventually the Nor’easters got the stop and then the celebration was on.
“That moment was something special, something that no one can ever take away from us. If anything, it just proved that we are a strong family and we will be a family until the day we die,” said Inniss.
“After the horn sounded, it’s kind of a blur, but the feeling of elation and validation of a lot of hard work is still with us,” added Lichten. “I’m just really proud of these young players and how they fought. I’m just really honored to be a member of this family and to see these guys be successful.”
The Nor’easters weren’t surprised to grab a win this early in their program’s history.
“We’ve worked so hard to get to this moment. We knew that this game was going to be one that we could win and we worked really hard all week and knew that this one was within our reach. It’s just surreal … this feels insane. I’m just so happy to be a part of it,” said Stanton-Meas.
NOTES: Peters would go 24 of 32 through the air for 295 yards and three touchdowns. Ryan Gaboury caught 10 passes for 192 yards and was on the receiving end of all three of Peters’ TD passes … Jack Mahoney carried the ball 12 times for 80 yards and scored on a 39-yard run for the Nor’easters. Devon Charles only ran for 23 yards on eight carries, but the freshman running back had a pair of 3-yard touchdown runs … Stanton-Meas led the UNE defense with 13 tackles, one sack and two tackles for loss. Former Leavitt standout DJ James and New Jersey native Kuomar Fitzgerald made 11 stops. Curit and Sean Emmert, who is from Rochester, New York, both finished with six tackles.
— Sports Editor Pat McDonald can be reached at [email protected] or at 780-9017. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @JournalTsports.

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