NEWPORT NEWS, VA - The Christopher Newort football squad fell to 1-2 Saturday night with a 27-23 loss to 24th-ranked Salisbury. The game at POMOCO Stadium was the first night game in program history, and saw the Captains give up two fourth quarter touchdown passes that allowed Salisbury to pull out the victory.
"This is a really tough loss," Head Coach Matt Kelchner said following the defeat. "We were in a good position and just didn't put it away...it's that simple. Salisbury is a good football team, we just didn't do enough to win the game."
The crowd of 5,868 was the second-largest in CNU football history, behind only the program's first game ever in 2001, also against Salisbury. Saturday's attendance was held down by day-long rain showers in the Newport News area.
CNU trailed at the half, 13-7, but scored 16 straight points in the second half to pull ahead, 23-13.
The Sea Gulls, now 3-0, were forced to go to the air to mount the comeback. Junior quarterback Dan Griffin connected with Ross Flanigan for a 73-yard score with 4:33 left in the fourth quarter to knock the CNU lead down to three, 23-20.
After the Captains were stopped, Salisbury got the ball back with 1:21 to go and went 75 yards on six plays for the game-winner. Griffin hit receiver Doug Ticse with a 19-yard scoring strike and the Gulls grabbed a 27-23 lead, which proved to be the final verdict.
"We improved this week from last week," Kelchner continued. "We did a lot of good things...but we didn't win the game. It's tough to be so close but not finish the job."
Christopher Newport got rushing touchdowns from sophomores Markeese Stovall (1 yard) and Evan Moog (2 yards), as well as a scoring pass from junior Christian Woelfel-Monsivais to senior Antonio Epps (1 yard). Sophomore Stephen Denuel also connected on a 24-yard field goal that gave the Captains the 23-13 edge.
Salisbury out-gained CNU, 447-247, in total yards and 253-09 in rushing yards.
Stovall finished the night with 99 yards on 27 carries.
A crowd of 5,868 watched the first night game in POMOCO Stadium history, which featured halftime fireworks and plenty of action on the field. After a day of steady rain, the field was slick but the rain stopped before kickoff.
The game was also a part of Christopher Newport's 50th Anniversary celebration weekend.
The Captains have a week off before opening up USA South play at Methodist on October 1st.