MIDDLETOWN, R.I. – Junior Dan Buonocore (Mahwah, N.J.)
accounted for four of Salve Regina football's five touchdowns,
including a pair in the opening quarter to propel the Salve Regina
football team to a dominant 36-7 win to open the 2013 season.
"It is always good to get the first game out of the way, and to walk away with a win is outstanding" said first year head coach Kevin Gilmartin. "Bridgewater St. is an outstanding team and to hold such a great running offense as we did speaks volumes of the Salve Regina defense this year."
Buonocore led the Salve Regina offense with 62 yards rushing with three touchdowns on the ground while catching one pass for a score late in the third quarter. Junior quarterback Steven Wilken (Ringwood, N.J.) controlled the offense, narrowly missing throwing for 200 yards as he completed 12 of 23 passes for 196 yards. Wilken's favorite target on the day, junior Matthew Traynor (Secaucus, N.J.) caught five passes for 112 yards.
As dominate as the offense was for the Seahawks, the defense was equally as impressive. Senior captain Joshua Burnett (Whitman, Mass.) led all players with 12 tackles on the day, one interception and a blocked punt. Junior Alex Hennessy (West Boylan, N.Y.) joined the blocked punts group as he knocked one down and recovered it in the end zone for the first safety of the season for Salve Regina.
Leading the offense for Bridgewater St. was junior Blaise Branch (Brockton, Mass.) with rushing on five carries while junior Matt Green (Stoughton, Mass.) caught five passes, including a touchdown, for 66 yards. Senior Tate Doehler (Lakeville, Mass.) led the Bears defense with nine tackles, including 2.0 sacks and 5.0 tackles for loss for 17 yards.
A 15-yard completion from Wilken to Traynor with 8:37 to go in the opening quarter moved the chains and got the Seahawks inside the red zone for the first time in the game. Just two yards out of the end zone, Buonocore easily ran through the pile and sophomore Christian Clark (Williamsport, Pa.) converted the extra point to give Salve Regina a 7-0 lead. On the Seahawks' very next drive, Wilken connected with senior Paul Panarelli (Shrewsbury, Mass.) for a 45-yard completion to get the Seahawks to the five-yard line. Buonocore once again pushed the pile forward to get into the end zone to put Salve Regina up by a pair of touchdowns.
The Bears found themselves on 3rd down with 11 yards to go on their own 40 yard line when Burnett picked his first pass of the season out of the air to set up a quick march into the end zone for Salve Regina. Wilken carried the ball for 12 yards before junior Khari Halliburton (Manchester, N.H.) finished the job with his first touchdown of the year and just his second rushing score of his career. Clark converted the extra point and the Seahawks took the 21-0 lead into the locker room.
Buonocore opened the third quarter for the Seahawks with his third score of the game before Hennessy knocked a punt out of the air and recovered it in the end zone for two points for Salve Regina to give SRU a 29-0 lead.
Salve Regina scored its final touch down of the game on its very next possession as Wilken connected with Buoconore to give the Seahawks a 36-0 lead with a quarter to play.
With 2:49 to play in the fourth, Bridgewater St. found the end zone for the only time in the contest. Freshman quarterback Danny Higgins (Manahawkin, N.J.) found Green a pair of times, including a 22-yard pass Green took in to score with 38 seconds left in the game. Junior Jarred Diorio (Kingston, N.H.) completed the extra point to bring the score to its final, 36-7.
Bridgewater St. looks to bounce back as the Bears host William Paterson next Saturday at 12 p.m. while the Seahawks look to continue the momentum on the road next week at Montclair St. Kick off is set for noon.