Plymouth State offense lacks punch
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. - Salve Regina University held the Plymouth State University football team to 131 yards of total offense Saturday afternoon, including 3 yards in the second half, as the Seahawks shut out 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 one as the team improved to 8-1 overall, including a 5-1 mark in Boyd Division play. The loss marks the fourth straight for the Panthers who fell to 2-7 on the season and 1-5 in division play.
The Salve Regina defense set the tone for the game, led by senior Connor Kelly, who recorded 2.5 sacks among his eight tackles. Senior Greg Sweeney also had a strong game, compiling six tackles, three for a loss, two sacks, and an interception, and junior Joshua Burnett matched Kelly with a team-high eight tackles. Senior Maxwell Shubert and sophomore Phil Terio each had an interception.
Sophomore quarterback Steven Wilken sparked the Salve Regina offense, completing 14-of-25 passes for 184 yards and two scores. He also ran for 49 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Derrick Sarfo-Darko reeled in a 31-yard touchdown pass, and freshman Jason Piontkowski caught a 16-yard TD reception.
The PSU offense was led by senior Andrew Foglia, who had a game-high 68 yards rushing. Senior Louis Montegari tied for the game-high in tackles with eight stops for the Panthers, and freshman Josh Puccio 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 1-yard touchdown dash by Buonocore to seal the drive. Following the extra-point, the Seahawks led 7-0 after 2:28 of play.
With PSU in the midst of a 14-play, 58-yard drive that spanned 7:55, Salve sophomore Frank Musco tipped a pass that 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. 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.