MILTON, MASS. – Sophomore Alex Hulme (Hopkinton, Mass.) blocked Curry's punt late in the first quarter that classmate Brad Kelly (Portsmouth, R.I.) recovered for a touchdown to help propel the Salve Regina football team to a 43-10 New England Football Conference victory over host Curry, Friday night.
With the win, the Seahawks improved to 5-1 on the season and remain perfect in the conference at 4-0 while Curry falls to 2-4 and 2-2 in the NEFC.
"It was a hard fought first half, a lot of back and forth. We came out in the second half with a special teams, offensive and defensive explosion." said head coach Kevin Gilmartin. "That's what we have been able to do this year, we keep coming at you and we can start to wear teams down defensively which allows our offense to take over and put points on the board."
The Seahawks came out of the gate strong, scoring on its very first offensive possession. After forcing Curry to attempt a punt on its first drive of the game, Kelly and freshman Joshua Morales (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) combined for an 11-yard tackle for loss to set up a short field for the Seahawks. Salve Regina took full advantage of the good field position and needed just 30 yards on five plays to take an early 7-0 lead after junior Steven Wilken (Ringwood, N.J.)kept the ball himself for a three-yard touchdown run.
After the Hulme-Kelly connection on the blocked punt late in the first, the Seahawks led the Colonels 14-0 after the first quarter and the defenses took over in the second. The only points in the second quarter came off a 39-yard field goal by senior Zach Kumin (Needham, Mass.) with 25 seconds left in the half. Salve Regina led 14-3 going into halftime.
Wilken and the Seahawks opened the second half with a five-play 55-yard drive that ended with Wilken connecting with Hulme in the end zone with a 11-yard pass to put SRU up, 20-3. The Colonels answered with their only touchdown drive of the game two possessions later to cut into the Salve Regina lead, 20-10.
Salve Regina began its next drive on its own 34 yard line and promptly took the ball down the field. Senior Richie Edwards (Trumbull, Conn.) picked up a first down for the Seahawks on a quick two-yard run before Wilken threw three straight completions, a 29-yard pass to juniorMatthew Traynor (Secaucus, N.J.), a nine yard pass to junior Dan Buonocore (Mahwah, N.J.) and a final 18-yard touchdown pass to Traynor with 1:27 left in the third to give Salve Regina a 27-10 lead.
The Colonels went three-and-out to close out the third quarter and turn the ball over on downs on its own 39 yard line for the Seahawks to take over to open the fourth. The Seahawks had the ball on the Curry 32 yard line as freshman Sam Pascale (Chesire, Conn.)ran in his second touchdown of the season, a 32 yard run to give the visiting Seahawks a 34-10 lead with 12:12 left in the game.
After sophomore Hayden Stanton (Wallingford, Conn.) caused a big 15-yard loss to back the Colonels up to their own 10 yard line, junior Rory McEntee (Wakefield, R.I.) sacked the Curry quarterback in the end zone for a defensive safety for Salve Regina.
The Seahawks elected to take the free kick after the safety and drove right back down the field. Junior Khari Halliburton (Manchester, N.H.) took the handoff on second and 10 and ran it 32 yards into the end zone for the final score of the game. The Seahawks led 43-10.
The Seahawk defense forced a three-and-out on Curry's final drive of the game to give the ball back to Salve Regina and the Seahawks ran out the clock to seal the victory.
Wilken threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns while running one in. Edwards led all players with 108 yards on 17 carries, his fourth-straight 100+ yard rushing game of the season. Hulme caught four passes for 66 yards and one score while Traynor had 47 yards on just two catches and a touchdown.
Junior Jiyon Ruffin (Morristown, N.J.) led all players with 10 tackles (7 solo, 3 assisted) while Stanton had eight tackles, including 2.0 sacks and 5.0 tackles for loss for 34 yards.
Salve Regina held the Colonels to just 35 rushing yards, the second lowest total for the Seahawks this season.
Hulme's blocked punt in the first quarter gives the Seahawks eight blocked kicks on the season to tie a program record for a single season.
Salve Regina returns to the field when the Seahawks travel to FCS opponent, Central Connecticut for a 1 p.m. kickoff on Saturday, Oct. 26.