Panthers fall to division leaders
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. – Salve Regina University held the Plymouth State University football team to 131 yards of total offense Saturday afternoon, including just three yards in the second half, as the Seahawks shutout the Panthers, 31-0, in a New England Football Conference (NEFC) Boyd Division contest at Gaudet Field.
The Seahawks' magic number for clinching the division falls to just one as the team improves to 8-1 overall, including a 5-1 mark in Boyd Division play. The loss marks the fourth straight for the Panthers who fall to 2-7 on the season and 1-5 in division play.
The Salve defense set the tone for the game, led by senior Connor Kelly (Milford, Conn.), who recorded 2.5 sacks among his eight tackles. Senior Greg Sweeney (Fairfield, Conn.) also had a strong game, compiling six tackles, three for a loss, two sacks, and an interception, while junior Joshua Burnett (Whitman, Mass.) matched Kelly with a team-high eight tackles. Senior Maxwell Shubert (West Chester, Pa.) and sophomore Phil Terio (Trumbull, Conn.) each had an interception.
Sophomore quarterback Steven Wilken (Ringwood, N.J.) sparked the Salve Regina offense, completing 14-of-25 passes for 184 yards and two scores while also rushing for 49 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Derrick Sarfo-Darko (East Hartford, Conn.) reeled in a 31-yard touchdown pass, and freshman Jason Piontkowski (New London, Conn.) caught a 16-yard TD reception.
The PSU offense was led by senior Andrew Foglia (Montauk, N.Y.) who had a game-high 68 yards rushing. Senior Louis Montegari (Wanaque, N.J.) tied for the game-high in tackles with eight stops for the Panthers, while freshman Josh Puccio (Wakefield, Mass.) added four tackles and an interception.
The Seahawks got things going early as Terio returned the opening kickoff 41 yards to set up the Salve offense. The Seahawks marched 56 yards on seven plays, including a 15-yard end around by Sarfo-Darko, a 26-yard completion to Hulme, and a one-yard touchdown dash by Buonocore to seal the drive. Following the extra-point, the Seahawks led 7-0 after just 2:28 of play.
With PSU in the midst of a 14-play, 58-yard drive which spanned 7:55, Salve sophomore Frank Musco (Montvale, N.J.) tipped a pass which was intercepted by Terio and returned 52 yards to the Plymouth State 29 yard line. The Seahawks took advantage of the turnover when Wilken raced into the end zone from three yards out to put SRU on top 14-0 with 6:55 remaining in the opening half.
Salve made it 21-0 before the break when the Seahawks went on a 64-yard drive that ended with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Wilken to Piontkowski.
Neither offense was able to do much in the third quarter, as Salve Regina notched the only three points of the period on a 32-yard field goal by freshman Christian Clark (Williamsport, Pa.). The Salve Regina defense really locked things down in the fourth quarter, holding the Panthers to negative nine yards of offense. The Seahawks offense also did its part to close out the win, as Wilken hooked-up with Sarfo-Darko on a beautiful 31-yard pass up the right sideline for a touchdown.
The Panthers will celebrate Senior Day next Saturday when they host Curry at 12 noon, while the Seahawks look to clinch the NEFC Boyd Division that same day, facing Nichols College at home.
(Courtesy of Salve Regina Sports Information)
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