Salve Regina hosts WNE in NEFC showdown

Salve Regina, the top-ranked defense in the NEFC, hosts Western New England, the top-ranked offense in the league in an NEFC clash on Saturday, Oct. 12.
Salve Regina, the top-ranked defense in the NEFC, hosts Western New England, the top-ranked offense in the league in an NEFC clash on Saturday, Oct. 12.

Western New England
Salve Regina 

Saturday, Oct. 12
Gaudet Field (Middletown, R.I.)
12:00 p.m.

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Setting the Scene

The Seahawks enter today's contest off an impressive 32-0 win over Nichols last Saturday. Salve Regina ran for a season-high 265 yards. Junior Steven Wilken threw three touchdown passes while running one in himself. On the other side of the ball, the Seahawks held the Bison to just 93 total yards of offense, including 20 on the ground.  

Western New England enters today's contest after suffering a tough 41-38 loss on a late fourth-quarter field goal to Coast Guard. Western New England junior running back Kevin Cook personally out gained the CGA offense (74 yards) on the ground with 153 yards and a school-record-tying four touchdowns on 35 carries. 

The Series

The Seahawks and Golden Bears will meet for the 21st time in program history with Salve Regina holding 14-6 advantage in the all-time series. 

Last season, the Seahawks shut out the Golden Bears, 43-0, for the fourth shutout by Salve Regina in the series.  

This Week in the NEFC

Oct. 12

Western New England at Salve Regina 12 p.m.

Endicott at Nichols 1 p.m.

Coast Guard at Curry 1 p.m. 

Taking the Reins

Former offensive coordinator Kevin Gilmartin takes over as the fifth head coach of Salve Regina football. Before coming to the Seahawks, Gilmartin worked five seasons handling the responsibilities of offensive coordinator, recruiting coordinator, quarterbacks coach, running backs coach, and admissions liaison. He helped lead the team to three consecutive postseason appearances, advancing to the ECFC title game in 2009, as well as the ECAC North Atlantic Bowl in both 2010 and 2011. 

Prior to Mount Ida, Gilmartin was a special teams/assistant running backs coach at Hofstra (Division I-AA) and a quarterbacks/defensive backs coach at Hamilton (Division III) for five years. Coach Gilmartin also spent two seasons at Nipmuc Regional High School where he became the school's all-time winningest head coach. 

Seahawk Football History

Salve Regina added football in the fall of 1993 and is entering its 21st season on the gridiron. The Seahawks have  had 11 winning seasons since its inception and boasts a 109-84 all time record over the last 20 seasons. 

The Seahawks have made a trip to the post season four times; most recently winning the ECAC North-West Bowl 26-6 over Worcester St.  

October Baby

Salve Regina has played some of its best football in the month of October. The Seahawks boast a 54-33 all-time record in October and have won nine of their last 10 contests in the 10th month. 

Home Sweet Home

The Seahawks have enjoyed two different home fields over their 21 years of football at Salve Regina and have always faired quite well in front of their home crowd. Over the years, the Seahawks are 60-35 (.632) at home and carry a 12-game winning streak on their home field into today's contest. 

Deja Vu

Saturday's game is shaping up to be reminiscent of last year's match up between the Seahawks and Golden Bears. In 2012, Western New England came into the contest as the top-ranked offense in the league. Once again, the Golden Bears enter Saturday's NEFC clash as the top offense, but this time Salve Regina comes in as the top-ranked  defense in the league and sixth in the country.  

Last year, the Seahawks shut out a Western New England team that was averaging 38.3 points a game and held the offense to just 207 yards when the Golden Bears were averaging 361.2 yards a game. 

Must Be Something He Said

Salve Regina has scored 60 of its 113 points this season in the first and third quarter and are out-scoring its opponents 60-28 after coming out of the locker room to open the game and after halftime. Salve Regina has not allowed a point in the third quarter through the first three games of the season. 

Taking it All the Way

Junior Phil Terio (Trumbull, Conn.) displayed his speed two weeks ago as he took MIT's first punt of the game 61 yards into the end zone to give Salve Regina a quick 6-0 lead without an offensive series in the game. It was his second punt return TD of his career. 

Among the Elite

Sophomore Hayden Stanton (Wallingford, Conn.) leads the NEFC with 5.0 sacks on the year. Stanton is ranked 15th nationally as well in sacks. Senior Joshua Burnett (Whitham, Mass.) leads the league with two fumble recoveries while ranking 15 in the country after forcing and recovering a fumble on special teams last Saturday against Nichols. 

Stone Wall Defense

The Seahawks boast one of the strongest defenses in the conference and DIII right now. Salve Regina has the fourth-best red zone defense in the country, allowing just two scores on six chances this season. 

Speaking of Defense

Not only are they first in the NEFC in 3rd down conversion and 4th down conversion defense, but they are second and first in the nation in those two categories. The Seahawk pass defense is one of the best in the nation allowing just 116.3 yards passing per game while the Seahawks are sixth in the country allowing just 207.5 yards of total offense per game. 

Speaking of Defense - II

Not only are the Seahawks defenders troublesome for the quarterbacks and receivers, but Salve Regina has a way with stopping its opponents from gaining first downs. The Seahawks are  ranked third in the country allowing teams to earn  37 first downs on them this season. Salve Regina allowed five Montclair State first downs and just six against Nichols.   

I'll Take That

Junior Phil Terio (Trumbull, Conn.) is a proven threat to most quarterbacks in the league. Last season, Terio led the team picking seven passes out of the air and set an NCAA Division III record by returning four of them for a score. Graduated senior Maxwell Shubert was close behind Terio with six INTs and finished his career as a Seahawk with 14, second all-time at Salve Regina.  

Terio picked up right where he left off in Salve Regina's 36-7 victory over Bridgewater St. to open the season. The cornerback picked off an early second quarter pass for his 10th of his career. Terio put the game away for Salve Regina two weeks ago as he picked off MIT's quarter back for his 11th INT of his career late in the fourth quarter to end the Engineers final drive of the game. 

Juniors Matt Conroy (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Frank Musco (Montvale, N.J.) each had a pick against MIT. Conroy ended MIT's opening dive of the second half and Musco kept six points off the board as he picked off MIT in the end zone in the third quarter. Musco picked off his second pass of the season against Nichols last week.  

Senior Joshua Burnett (Whitman, Mass.) picked up his second INT of his career late in the second quarter that set up a touchdown drive for the Seahawks. 

Speaking of Turnovers...

Salve Regina has forced a turnover in 17-straight games dating back to its 32-27 win over Nichols on Nov. 5, 2011. Of those 17 games, at least one of the turnovers in 15 games have come from an interception. In 2012, the Seahawks had at least one pick in every game except for one. So far in the 2013 season, Salve Regina is continuing that trend with at least one interception in every game except for its loss to Montclair State in week two.  

Welcome Back, Richie

Senior Richie Edwards (Trumbull, Conn.) returned to the starting line up two weeks ago for the Seahawks for the first time since suffering an injury last season and led the team to two straight victories. Edwards is the team's leading rusher this season so far with 253 yards on 41 carries this season. 

Red Zone Offense

Salve Regina made it a habit of marching down the field to get into the red zone last season. Not only did they get inside the 20, but the Seahawks found the end zone once they were there. Salve Regina converted 35 of 44 chances with 29 touchdowns in 2012.  

The Seahawks picked up right where they left off a season ago and found their way into the end zone all five times they worked their way into the red zone against Bridgewater State. Against Montclair State, the Seahawks found themselves in the end zone four times and three of those times they scored. Salve Regina scored converted three of its five chances in the red zone against MIT. This season the Seahawks are 15-of-20 in the red zone. 

Not Getting Through

Not only have the Seahawks scored once they have gotten to the red zone, but they have stopped their opponents from doing the same. Salve Regina's defense is ranked fourth in the nation (2-of-6) in red zone defense. In fact, Salve Regina has allowed just three touchdowns on offensive plays this season. 

Safety Dance

One score you don't see all the time on the scoreboard at a football game is two points but the Seahawks did what four professional teams in the opening week and converted a safety in their season-opener. Salve Regina's safety came off a blocked punt by junior Alex Hennessey (West Babylon, N.Y.) midway through the third quarter. Hennessy recovered the football outside of the end zone to put up two points for Salve Regina.  

The Seahawks added its second two-point score of the year this past weekend against Nichols on a penalty resulting in the ball being marked in Nichols' end zone. 

The Seahawks have converted a blocked punt of a safety before, last time was against Endicott on Oct. 10, 2003. Salve Regina lost 27-20 in overtime.  

The Boy Who Blocked the Punt

Junior Alex Hennessy (West Babylon, N.Y.) blocked three punts against Montclair State to tie an NCAA DIII record for blocked punts in a single game. Hennessy has blocked four punts this year and five in his career.  

Speaking of Blocked Kicks ...

Sophomore Hayden Stanton (Wallingford, Conn.) joined the blocked kicks group the Seahawks have formed with a blocked field goal in the third quarter against MIT. Along with Stanton, Hennessy and senior Joshua Burnett (Whitman, Mass.) have all blocked a kick for Salve Regina this season as the Seahawks have six on the year.  

Have Yourself a Day, Kid

Junior Dan Buonocore had a career day to open the season against Bridgewater St. Buonocore ran for 62 yards on a career high 21 carries while finding the end zone three times on the ground. The junior scored his career-best fourth touchdown of the game on a 2-yard pass from junior Steven Wilken (Ringwood, N.J.).  

Oh Captain, My Captain

Leading the Seahawks on and off the field this season will be a trio of senior captains, Joshua Burnett (Whitman, Mass.) and Richie Edwards (Trumbull, Conn.) and Floyd Shaffer (Conshohocken, Pa.). 

I'm Honored

Senior center Floyd Shaffer (Conshohocken, Pa.) and Junior Phil Terio (Trumbull, Conn.) have brought a lot of national attention to the Seahawks prior to the 2013 season as pair have combined for 12 preseason All-America selections with Terio earning a pair of spots on three different lists. Terio also was featured by Josh Buchanan as one of the top-10 Division III players heading into the season.  

Senior Joshua Burnett (Whitman, Mass.) was honored by the NEFC on three weeks ago as the conference Defensive Player of the Week for his play against Bridgewater St. Burnett totaled 12 tackled (7-5) and one interception. Burnett blocked a punt and had 0.5 TFL. 

Junior Dan Buonocore (Mahwah, N.J.) was named to the NEFC honor roll for his four touchdown performance.  

Where They Rank

Several juniors have made quite the impact on Salve Regina's record book already and look to re-write the records as they continue their career in the Blue & Green. 

Steven Wilken - Quarterback

Pass Attempts - 4th (404) - needs 195 to overtake 3rd

Pass Completions - 4th (233) - needs 3 to overtake 3rd

Passing Yards - 4th (3,024) - needs 687 to overtake 3rd

Passing TDs - 4th (28) - needs 6 to over take 3rd 

Benjamin Barrett - Punter

Punt Yards - 1st (4,591)

Punt Attempts - 2nd (121) - needs 2 to overtake 1st 

Phil Terio - Cornerback/Return Specialist

Punt Return Yards - 7th (189) - needs 7 to over take 6th

Punt Returns - 6th  (23) - needs 2 to over take 5th

Punt Return TDs - 5th  (2) - needs 1 to over take 2nd, 4 to over take 1st

Kick Return Yards - 3rd (675) - needs 435 to over take 2nd

Kick Returns - T-4th (25) - needs 7 to over take 3rd

Interceptions - 4th (11) - needs 1 to overtake 3rd 

A Whole New World

2013 will bring a new look to the New England Football Conference with the Massachusetts state schools leaving the conference to form its own, the former Boyd Division with the addition of Maine Maritime and Coast Guard and the loss of Plymouth St. and UMass. Dartmouth comprise the new-look New England Football Conference. The NEFC retains its automatic bid to the NCAA tournament without the need for a championship game at the end of the season. 

Familiar Faces

After successful playing careers with the Seahawks, Gregory Gosselin and Daniel Kehew turn in their pads for whistles to help lead the Seahawks this season. New to Salve Regina, Nick Lynch is reunited with Gilmartin, his former coach at Mount Ida, to help guide Salve Regina. 

Also joining the staff in the off season was Casey Goff, coming to Salve Regina after a successful three-year career with King's (Pa.). Goff had a connection to the Seahawks prior to arriving to Newport, R.I. as he coached with linebackers/special team coordinator Michael Weick. 

A Win for Salve Regina Would ...

- Lift the Seahawks to 110-84

- Give Salve Regina back-to-back wins over WNE for the first time since the 2007/08 seasons

- Hand Western New England its third straight loss

- Improve Salve Regina to 3-0 in the conference