NEWPORT, R.I. - Senior Maxwell Shubert (West Chester, Pa.) intercepted a pass on the opening play from scrimmage and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown, setting the tone for a 45-7 victory by Salve Regina over Nichols College on Senior Day during the Seahawks' New England Football Conference (NEFC) regular season finale at Gaudet Field on Saturday. With the win, the Seahawks capture their first NEFC Boyd Division title since the 2000 campaign, improving to 9-1 overall, including a 6-1 mark during division play. They now advance to face Framingham State on the road next Saturday in the NEFC Championship game. The Bison close out their season with a 1-9 record, falling to 1-6 in the Boyd Division.
Prior to the contest, the Seahawks honored seniors Richard Burke (Whitman, Mass.), Brendan Deasy (Quincy, Mass.), Gregory Gosselin (Kingston, Mass.), Nick Habosian (Westford, Mass.), Anthony Hannon (Orange, Calif.), Kevin Hilliard (North Reading, Mass.), Nick Hristis (Bayside, N.Y.), Adam Iskra (North Haven, Conn.), Keith Johnson (Durham, Conn.), Michael Kane (Peekskill, N.Y.), Daniel Kehew (Portsmouth, R.I.), Connor Kelly(Milford, Conn.), Ryan Mannion (Danbury, Conn.), Matthew Markese West Hartford, Conn.), Kevin Moore (Yonkers, N.Y.), Ken Okwuosa (North Haven, Conn.), Lukas Oczkowski (Oxford, Conn.), Bryant Ostrander (Longmeadow, Mass.), William Regan(Amesbury, Mass.), Trey Scales (Boston, Mass.), Maxwell Shubert, Gregory Sweeney(Fairfield, Conn.), and Stephen Tomaselli (Franklin Square, N.Y.) before playing in their final home game.
Offensively, sophomore Steven Wilken (Ringwood, N.J.) was an efficient 7-of-15 for 107 yards and three touchdowns through the air, while sophomore runningback Dan Buonocore (Mahwah, N.J.) led all players with 117 rushing yards on just 13 carries (9.0 ypc). Freshman Derrick Sarfo-Darko (East Hartford, Conn.) caught a pair of 19-yard touchdowns, while sophomore Matthew Traynor (Secaucus, N.J.) added a pair of receptions for 37 yards and a score.
Senior Connor Kelly led the Seahawk defense with a team-high seven tackles, including four stops for a loss. Maxwell Shubert, junior Joshua Burnett (Whitman, Mass.), sophomore Frank Musco (Montvale, N.J.) each recorded interceptions, while Stephen Tomaselli led all players with 1.5 sacks on the day.
Junior Pat Viencek (Bernardston, Mass.) led the Bison offense, completing 13-of-34 passes for 231 yards and one touchdown, while classmate Joe Lambert (New Haven, Conn.) led all players with four catches for 98 yards in the loss. Junior Dylan Rimsky (Denville, N.J.) also had a good day, grabbing four passes for 54 yards, including a 18-yard touchdown grab.
On defense, the Bison received a game-high 12 tackles from sophomore Julon McCoy (Gerdner, Mass.) who also added a sack. Senior Peter Curto (Braintree, Mass.) chipped in with 10 tackles and a sack of his own, while sophomore Kris Williams (East Hartford, Conn.) had three stops and an interception on the afternoon.
The Seahawks took an early 7-0 lead when Shubert intercepted the first play from scrimmage and raced 36-yards for the score after just 20 seconds of play.
After the Bison and Seahawks traded three-and-outs on the following two possessions, Nichols took over at their own 22 yard line and drove 58 yards on seven plays down to the Salve Regina 20. However, the drive came to end when Musco jumped a pass at his own one yard line, taking the interception back to the nine before fumbling to the Salve Regina 11 where it was recovered by William Regan for the Seahawks.
The Seahawks made the most of the turnover, marching 89 yards on just eight plays, capped by a 19-yard touchdown pass from Wilken to Sarfo-Darko, giving Salve Regina a 14-0 advantage with 6:22 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Seahawks held the Bison to a three-and-out on their next possession, forcing Nichols to punt from their own 23 yard line. That's when freshman Alex Hulme (Hopkinton, Mass.) broke through the line, blocked the punt at the 15, recovered the ball at the 10, and then raced into the endzone to put Salve Regina on top, 21-0 heading into the second quarter.
The Bison went three-and-out on their first possession on the second quarter, and after a bad snap on the punt led to a completed pass and failed fourth-down conversion, the Seahawks took over at the NC 23.
The Seahawks wasted little time taking advantage of their good field position as Wilken once again hooked-up with Sarfo-Darko for a 19-yard touchdown pass on a third-and-six play to push the SRU lead to 28-0.
It appeared that would be the score heading into halftime, however, the Seahawks called timeout with just six seconds remaining in the period to force the Bison to punt from their own 18 yard line. Once again, the Seahawks blocked the punt, as sophomore Matt Conroy (Philadelphia, Pa.) sliced through the line and stuffed the kick. Hulme recovered the ball on the one yard line and went into the end zone for his second blocked punt returned for a touchdown of the half, sending the Seahawks into the locker room holding a commanding 35-0 lead.
The Seahawks came out of the break and put the game away on their opening possession of the second half. Buonocore got things going with a 58-yard run down to the Nichols 10, before Wilken capped the 68 yard drive with a nine yard touchdown pass to Traynor in the right corner, pushing the lead to 42-0.
The Bison finally got on the board with 8:27 remaining in the third, driving 79 yards on six plays, including an 18-yard touchdown grab by Rimsky from Viencek to close the gap to 42-7.
However, it wasn't enough, as the Seahawks added a 32-yard field goal by senior Brendan Deasy to seal the 45-0 victory.
Salve Regina will return to action next Saturday, when they travel to face Framingham State in the NEFC Championship game.