NEWPORT, R.I. – Sophomore Matthew Traynor (Secaucus, N.J. ) led all players with six catches for 166 yards and a touchdown, as the Salve Regina University football team soared to a 16-7 victory in their home opener versus Montclair State on Saturday afternoon at Gaudet Field. The Seahawks improve to 2-0 the season and have now won eight straight games dating back to last year, while the Red Hawks fall to 0-2 overall.
The Seahawk defense was outstanding throughout the contest, holding their opponent to just 266 yards of total offense while allowing them to convert just one of thirteen third down attempts.
Senior Maxwell Shubert (West Chester, Pa.) made several big plays for the Seahawks, compiling five tackles, two interceptions and a blocked field goal, while fellow senior Matthew Markese (West Hartford, Conn.) recorded a team-high nine tackles (2.5 TFL). Seniors Ryan Mannon (Danbury, Conn.) and Anthony Hannon (Orange, Calif.) each made eight tackles in the win, while freshman Hayden Stanton (Wallingford, Conn.) impressed with four tackles and a game-high 1.5 sacks.
Traynor led the Salve Regina offensive with his 166 yards receiving, while quarterback Steven Wilken (Ringwood, N.J.) threw for 237 yards and a score, also rushing for 70 yards and a touchdown. Junior tailback Richie Edwards (Trumbull, Conn.) was a workhorse for the Seahawks, carrying the ball 33 times for 114 yards.
The Red Hawks were paced by junior running back A.J. Scoppa (New Milford, N.J.) who led all players with 134 yards on the ground while scoring Montclair's lone touchdown. Senior wideout Bryan Ogden (Wayne, N.J.) also had a strong day, reeling in five passes for 57 yards.
On defense, junior linebacker Dan Avento (Montvale, N.J.) led all players with 15 tackles (2.5 TFL), while junior Marc Aspinwall (Little Ferry, N.J.) recorded 11 stops on the day.
The game remained scoreless late into the first quarter, when Wilken hit Traynor for a 52-yard touchdown to put the Seahawks on top, 7-0, with just 2:19 to go in the opening frame.
After the Salve Regina defense responded to hold the Red Hawks to a quick three-and-out on the following possession, the Seahawks drove 59 yards on eight plays to set up a 28-yard field goal by freshman Christian Clark (Williamsport, Pa.) to take a 10-0 advantage.
Shubert helped hold the Red Hawks off the board on their next two drives with an interception and a blocked field goal to help send the Seahawks into the break leading 10-0.
Midway through the through the third quarter the Seahawks faced a fourth-and-four from the Montclair 40-yard line and brought the punt team out on the field. Salve Regina Head Coach Robert Chesney surprised everyone as the Seahawks executed a fake punt, with Shubert rushing 10 yards to pick up the first down and keep the drive alive.
Wilken completed what was a 10-play, 61-yard drive by plowing into the endzone from less than a yard out at the 4:55 mark of the third quarter. After the ensuing extra point failed, the Seahawk led 16-0.
The Red Hawk offense finally came to life late in the third quarter as Scoppa started picking up big chunks of yards on the ground. The eight-play, 84-yard drive took the two teams into the fourth quarter when Scoppa punched it in from four yards out to cut the Salve Regina lead to 16-7.
However, that completed the scoring for the day as the Seahawk defense continued to stifle the Montclair offense en route to sealing the 16-7 victory.
Montclair State will look to bounce back against Morrisville State College at home next Saturday, while the Seahawks will hit the road for their NEFC conference opener versus Fitchburg State at 1:30 p.m.