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Thunder & Lightning at Salve

Sam Pascale carried Salve Regina's ground game last fall. This year, he's the Thunder to his teammate's Lightning.
Photography by Zan Carver

Sam Pascale and James Dawson form a backfield known as Thunder & Lightning at Salve Regina.

OK, so it's not original. Ron Dayne and Tikki Barber had the same moniker when they ran out of the New York Giants backfield some 15 years ago.

But for what Pascale and Dawson lack in originality, they make up for in productivity. And that productivity extends off the field.

Saturday at Castleton's Spartan Stadium they combined for 264 rushing yards. Pascale had 135 yards with a touchdown, and Dawson 129 yards with three touchdowns.

It all means accepting a new role for Pascale. Last year he was the man.

"Sam was in the top 10 in the country in rushing yardage last year. His selflessness contributes to the culture of the team," Salve Regina coach Kevin Gilmartin said.

Pascale downplays the manner in which he took on the new role.

"It was pretty easy to accept I could get a little bit more of a breather [between carries],"

Pascale said. "Dawson has at least as much talent. He has great speed. We complement each other pretty well."

Dawson is Lightning, but it is not always easy to distinguish which is which. Pascale, in a 5-foot-9, 216-pound package, also has a burst of speed that comes with a crack of daylight, and Dawson can punish tacklers.

James Dawson likes to plow through the front lines on the football field -- something that's right up the alley of this ROTC cadet who has eyes on serving in the infantry

They push each other in practice and games.

"We push each other every day. When Dawson makes a big run, I am chomping at the bit to make a big run," Pascale said. "We are always pushing each other to be better."

Gilmartin is just as proud of the duo away from football.

Dawson is in the ROTC. The junior was sworn into the organization during halftime on Military Appreciation Day last year.

"That was a great day. My family got to see it and they got to see me play football," Dawson said.

His plans call for being in the infantry.

Pascale is heavily involved with Special Olympics and also goes to the Pell School a few times each week to student teach.

"I am student teaching in second grade. It's been a blast....

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Columnist

Tom Haley

A seven time Vermont sportswriter of the year, Tom Haley has been with the Rutland Herald since 1987. He was inducted into the Castleton State College Hall of Fame in 2004 and received the Contributor to Football Award from the National Football Foundation's Vermont Chapter. He has been D3football.com's Around the Northeast columnist since 2007.

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