Seahawks battle for NEFC title

Salve Regina's defense is first in the league as the Seahawks go to Beverly, Mass. to face the Gulls.
Salve Regina's defense is first in the league as the Seahawks go to Beverly, Mass. to face the Gulls.

NEFC Salve Regina

Saturday, Nov. 16
Endicott Stadium (Beverly, Mass.)
1 p.m.

*Fan bus for students is available. Sign ups are in the athletic department office.

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Game Notes - PDF Version
Coach's Show Interview - Featuring Justin Johnson and John Gaffney
New England Football Conference Championship game preview


Setting the Scene:

Salve Regina and Endicott enter Saturday's contest as the only two undefeated teams in the New England Football Conference and will play for the NEFC crown and its automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.  

Salve Regina is coming off a 25-14 win over Coast Guard last Saturday. The Seahawk defense stole the show Saturday with a season-high four interceptions for 163 yards. Junior Erik Klein (Springfield, Pa.) turned the first interception of his career into a program-long 92 yard pick six. The 92 return yards was the longest INT return in Seahawk history and gives Klein the single-game record for most interception return yards. Senior Josh Burnett (Whitman, Mass.) accounted for two of the interceptions and his first one of the afternoon set up a scoring drive for Salve Regina.  

The defensive backfield controlled the game for the Seahawks as junior cornerback Phil Terio (Trumbull, Conn.) had a career-high 13 tackles, including 10 solo and one for a loss. Terio broke up three passes for the Seahawks. Salve Regina's strong safety junior Troy Smith (Madison, Conn.) broke up a game-high four passes to hold the Coast Guard freshman quarterback Derek Victory to his second lowest passing game of the season. Victory threw for just 164 yards. Sophomore Hayden Stanton (Wallingford, Conn.) pushed his NEFC-leading sack total to 9.5 on the season with 2.0 more against Coast Guard.

Endicott is coming off a 38-21 win over Western New England. The Gulls raced out to a 21-0 lead after the first quarter and never looked back. Junior quarterback Drew Frenette threw for 323 yards, completed 17-of-32 passes and three touchdowns.  

Defensively, senior cornerback Davas Wright and senior safety Andrew Lawson recorded interceptions while Jake Cox and Tyler Calitri each had two pass break ups.  Senior nose guard Marcell Cooper and freshman defensive end Craig Anderson also had double digit tackle games with 14 and 12, respectively.  Anderson also had 1.5 sacks in the game. 

The Series

Salve Regina and Endicott have squared off 10 times before and the Gulls hold a 7-3 advantage in the series. Salve Regina halted a two-game winning streak for Endicott with a 41-24 win last year in Middletown, R.I. Quarterback Steven Wilken (Ringwood, N.J.) threw for 302 yards and ran for 91 to lead the Seahawks to victory. Terio picked off the Gulls' quarterback in the beginning of the second quarter for a 52-yard touchdown return to give Salve Regina a 20-0 lead early in the game. 

Salve Regina has won three of the last five games, although the Gulls have wins over the Seahawks in the 2011 and 2010 seasons.  

This Week in the NEFC

Nov. 16
Curry at Maine Maritime 12 p.m.
Western New England at Nichols 12 p.m.
MIT at Coast Guard 1 p.m.
Salve Regina at Endicott 1 p.m.

Battle of the Birds

Salve Regina and Endicott have emerged as the two elite teams in the NEFC this season, ranking either first or second in 25 of the 33 statistical categories and either teams claims the top spot 19 of them. The Seahawks and Gulls hold the 1-2 spots in five categories including scoring defense and offense, pass defense efficiency, interceptions, and opponent 3rd-down conversions. Below is a summary of the five categories in which the two teams hold the 1-2 spots.

Scoring Offense G TD FG XPT 2XP DXP Saf Pts Avg/g
Endicott 9 45 13 41 0 0 1 352 39.1
Salve Regina 9 40 3 26 1 0 3 283 31.4




Scoring Defense G TD FG XPT 2XP DXP Saf Pts Avg/g
Salve Regina 9 21 2 16 1 0 0 150 16.7
Endicott 9 25 1 20 2 0 0 177 19.7




Pass Defense Effic. G Comp-Att-Int Pct. Yds. Avg/G TD Effic.
Salve Regina 9 124-238-11 52.1 1384 153.8 7 101.4
Endicott 9 154-285-12 54.0 1579 175.4 11 104.9




Interceptions G No. Yards TD Long Avg.
Endicott 9 12 158 1 46 13.2
Salve Regina 9 11 165 1 92 15.0




Opp. 3rd Down Convert G Conv. Att. Pct.
Salve Regina 9 36 125 28.8
Endicott 9 46 138 33.3




It All Comes Down To This

When the Massachusetts state schools left the NEFC at the end of last season, the conference was left without a championship game for the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, or so everyone thought. Because of scheduling the two top teams in the NEFC will meet on Saturday and play in what will be the conference championship game this season. Both Salve Regina and Endicott bring a spotless record into Saturday's contest and the winner of the game will earn the NEFC crown and trip to the national tournament.  

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 113-85 all time record over the last 21 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. 

Sweet November

Salve Regina has played some exciting football in the month of November. The Seahawks boast a 21-15 all-time record in November and have won six of the last seven games in the 11th month. The Seahawks are outscoring their opponents 22.8-16.4 this 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 62-35 (.639) at home and currently have a 14-game winning streak on their home field.

Unlikely Connections

The clash between the Seahawks and Gulls is the 11th in the series but the connection between the two head coaches goes much deeper. Head coach Kevin Gilmartin played football for Williams while Endicott head coach JB Wells spent his playing career at NESCAC rival Trinity, and the two overlapped for two years. During Gilmartin's freshman and sophomore year as a receiver for Williams, Wells was in his junior and senior year on the offensive line for Trinity. 

After the two traded in their pads for coaching positions, Gilmartin and Wells found themselves across the field from each other once again, this time when Wells was the offensive line coach at his alma mater and Gilmartin was the quarterbacks/defensive backs coach at Hamilton. 

The two squared off in the ECAC North Atlantic Bowl in 2011 with Wells at the helm of Endicott and Gilmartin as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks and running backs coach. 

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 (588) - needs 11 to overtake 3rd
Pass Completions - 3rd (317) - needs 101 to overtake 2nd
Passing Yards - 3rd (4,201) - needs 816 to overtake 2nd
Passing TDs - 2nd (38) - needs 3 to over take 1st

Matthew Traynor - Wide Receiver

Reception Yards - 3rd (1,540) - needs 741 to overtake 2nd
Receptions - 6th (82) - needs 14 to overtake 5th
Receiving Touchdowns - 3rd (15) - needs 2 to overtake 2nd

Benjamin Barrett - Punter

Punt Yards - 1st (5,222)
Punt Attempts - 1st (137)

Dan Buonocore - Running Back

Rush Attempts - 14th (209) - needs 10 to overtake 13th
Rushing Yards - 11th (1,041) - needs 137 to overtake 10th
Receptions - 10th (70) - needs 2 to overtake 9th
Receiving Yards - 10th (708) - needs 27 to over take 9th
Rushing TDs - T-11th (11) - needs 2 to over take 10th
Receiving TDs - T-8th (7) - needs 3 to over take 5th

Phil Terio - Cornerback/Return Specialist

Punt Return Yards - 4th (327) - needs 68 to over take 3rd
Punt Returns - 5th  (31) - needs 1 to over take 4th
Punt Return TDs - 5th  (2) - needs 1 to over take 2nd, 4 to over take 1st
Kick Return Yards - 3rd (794) - needs 319 to over take 2nd
Kick Returns - 4th (30) - needs 2 to over take 3rd
Interceptions - T-3rd (11) - needs 4 to overtake 2nd

Traynor for 1,000

With 725 receiving yards this season, Traynor has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for his career as a Seahawk with 1,540. Traynor ranks third all time in Salve Regina's record books. The junior is 741 yards away from second and 939 away from the top spot in program history. Traynor is also six TDs shy of tying the school record for his career. With his two touchdown catches against Maine Maritime, Traynor tied the program record for receiving scores in a season with eight so far this year. 

Chasing 1,000 (Twice)

Junior running back Dan Buonocore (Mahwah, N.J.) has become the definition of a double threat for the Seahawks. With his 60 yards last week, the junior eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards for his career with 1,041 and 292 yards shy of 1,000 receiving. Buonocore has the potential to be the first player to reach the 1,000 yard mark in both rushing and receiving at Salve Regina. 

Among the Elite

Sophomore Hayden Stanton (Wallingford, Conn.) leads the NEFC with 9.5 sacks on the year. Stanton is ranked 18th nationally as well in sacks. Senior Joshua Burnett (Whitham, Mass.)  and juniors Phil Terio (Trumbull, Conn.) and Matt Conroy (Philadelphia, Pa.) are fourth in the league with two fumble recoveries.

Junior Steven Wilken (Ringwood, N.J.) leads the NEFC with 132 points this season, ranking him 50th in DIII. Wilken is one touchdown pass shy of tying his own single-season record at Salve Regina.

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 nine scores on 18 chances this season.

Speaking of Defense 

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 12th in the country allowing teams to earn 129 first downs on them this season. Salve Regina allowed five Montclair State first downs and just six against Nichols.  

I'll Take That

After a three-game drought without an interception, the Seahawks have picked off the opposing quarterback in two-straight games, most notably last weekend against Coast Guard four times. Senior Joshua Burnett (Whitman, Mass.) ended two third-quarter drives with an interception while junior Matt Conroy (Philadelphia, Pa.) had his second pick of the season. 

Junior Erik Klein (Springford, Pa.) had the biggest interception of the season so far, picking of the Coast Guard quarterback on the eight-yard line as the Bears were about to score. Klein grabbed the ball out of the air after Conroy put pressure on the QB and ran the ball back 92 yards for a touchdown. The 92-yard INT return not only was the longest return in program history but set the single-game record for a most interception return yards by a single player. 

Salve Regina had an interception by junior Garfield Douglas (Attleboro, Mass.) and two fumble recoveries two weeks ago against Maine Maritime. The second fumble recovery came as the Mariners were threatening to score late in the third quarter. After a bad hand off, Burnett forced a fumble that junior Phil Terio (Trumbull, Conn.) recovered on the goal line to stop MMA from scoring.

Terio 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.

Conroy and junior 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. 

Burnett picked up his second INT of his career late in the second quarter that set up a touchdown drive for the Seahawks.

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 33-of-45 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 (9-of-18) in red zone defense.

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 two weeks ago against Nichols on a penalty resulting in the ball being marked in Nichols' end zone.

Against Curry, Salve Regina took a 36-10 lead with a two-point score as junior Rory McEntee (Wakefield, R.I.) sacked the Colonels quarterback in the end zone for the Seahawks third safety of the year.

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. 

Sophomore Alex Hulme (Hopkinton, Mass.) blocked two punts against Curry, both in the first quarter. Hulme's second blocked punt of the quarter was recovered by junior Brad Kelly (Portsmouth, R.I.) for a 26-yard punt returned touchdown. 

Speaking of Blocked Kicks

Sophomore Hayden Stanton (Wallingford, Conn.) has two blocked kicks to his credit so far this season. Against MIT, Stanton blocked a field goal in the third quarter and blocked an extra point attempt in the first quarter against Western New England to keep the score knotted at 6-6. Along with Stanton, Hennessy and senior Joshua Burnett (Whitman, Mass.) have all blocked a kick for Salve Regina this season as the Seahawks have nine on the year, leading DIII football. 

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

Sophomore Hayden Stanton (Wallingford, Conn.), junior Steven Wilken (Ringwood, N.J.) and senior Joshua Burnett (Whitman, Mass.) have been named NEFC Players of the Week this season. 

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. 

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 114-85

- Give the Seahawks their seventh-straight win over a DIII school

- Push the Seahawk NEFC winning streak to seven games

- Give the Seahawks the NEFC crown and first ever appearance in the NCAA tournament