MIDDLETOWN, R.I. – Western New England University scored the lone offensive touchdown in the game when quarterback Bryce Brown (Guilford, Conn.) punched it in from the 1-yard line with 5:01 left in the third quarter to help the Golden Bears defeat Salve Regina University 12-9 in a New England Football Conference defensive battle Saturday.
Both defenses played strong games. Salve Regina (2-3,0-2 NEFC) had eight tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and a blocked extra point. Linebacker Anthony Hannon (Yorba Linda, Calif.) had an 11-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown that gave the Seahawks a 9-6 lead in the third quarter. Hannon also forced a second fumble and finished with five tackles, including 2.5 for loss. Linebacker A.J. Albert (Franklin Park, N.J.) and defensive lineman Carlos Santos (Trumbull, Conn.) led Salve Regina with nine tackles each.
While Western New England (4-1, 2-0 NEFC) allowed 250 yards of offense, its defense came up with several big plays. The biggest came in the fourth quarter, when defensive back Nicholas Sylvester (Weatogue, Conn.) intercepted Salve Regina's Jimmy Connelly in the red zone. On the heels of the Brown touchdown run, Salve Regina drove the ball 61 yards on seven plays. However, Sylvester stepped in front of Connelly's pass for Patrick Barefield (Phoenix, Ariz.) at the 10-yard line and returned it 78 yards to the Salve Regina 12.
The Golden Bear defense finished with 12 tackles for loss, a blocked punt and a blocked extra point. They also held Salve Regina to just 5-of-16 on third down conversions, and 0-for-4 on fourth down attempts.
Salve Regina's offense was led by a workhorse effort from Richie Edwards (Trumbull, Conn.). He carried the ball 27 times for 98 yards, and added seven catches for 27 yards. Barefield had two catches for 70 yards. Brown led Western New England with 20 rushes for 72 yards and the touchdown.
Both teams are back in action Saturday, Oct. 8. Salve Regina hosts UMass-Dartmouth (noon), while Western New England hosts Curry (1 p.m.).