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Western New England Defeats Salve Regina, 35-26, in CCC Football Showdown

Freshman cornerback Zhaire House made several key plays with seven tackles, a fumble recovery, an interception and a pass breakup in Western New England's 35-26 win over Salve Regina on Saturday (Photo by Bryan Hewitt).
Freshman cornerback Zhaire House made several key plays with seven tackles, a fumble recovery, an interception and a pass breakup in Western New England's 35-26 win over Salve Regina on Saturday (Photo by Bryan Hewitt).

Golden Bears now one of two remaining unbeaten teams in conference play

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (October 28, 2017) –
In a showdown between two of the three remaining teams with undefeated records in Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC Football) play, Western New England University came away with a 35-26 victory over Salve Regina University on Saturday afternoon at Golden Bear Stadium. 

Top Performers
• Senior quarterback Anthony Service (Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) completed 19-of-28 pass attempts for 224 yards and three touchdowns.
• Senior wide receiver Mark Dietrich (Cheshire, Conn.) recorded eight receptions for 86 yards and two scores, while sophomore Jared Wolfe (Seaford, N.Y.) also caught five passes for 76 yards.
• Defensively, senior linebacker Tim Huffam (Medway, Mass.) led the Golden Bears with a team-high ten tackles.
• Senior safety Sam Olsson (Milford, Conn.) totaled nine tackles and one pass breakup, while freshman cornerback Zhaire House (Greenwich, Conn.) made several key plays with seven tackles, a fumble recovery, an interception and a pass breakup.

• Salve Regina senior quarterback Danny McDermott (Franklin, Mass.) completed 22-of-41 passes for 280 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
• Senior running back Jake Gelb (Chalrton, Mass.) rushed for a game-high 106 yards and one touchdown on 26 carries (4.1 avg.), while senior tight end Tommy Seaver (Rocky Hill, Conn.) finished with five receptions for 75 yards and one score.
• Seahawks junior defensive lineman Brandon O'Neill (Madison, Conn.) recorded seven tackles, including two sacks, and a forced fumble.

Game Review
• Salve Regina drove to the Western New England 21-yard line on the Seahawks' first possession, but the Golden Bear defense forced a turnover on downs as McDermott's pass on fourth and seven fell incomplete. Service subsequently led Western New England on a 10-play, 79-yard drive that culminated in a ten-yard touchdown pass to Dietrich.
• The Seahawks got three points back on their next possession on a 42-yard field goal by junior kicker Andre Verre (Wethersfield, Conn.), but Western New England answered with another scoring drive – this time a seven-play, 63-yard march that resulted in Service connecting with Dietrich for a 22-yard score.
• Salve Regina found the end zone on its ensuing possession as McDermott hit Seaver for a 26-yard touchdown to cut the visitors' deficit to 14-10.
• Western New England's next drive ended in a punt, but the Golden Bears got the ball back with 6:08 left in the second quarter when House intercepted McDermott at the WNE 35-yard line. Nine plays later, senior running back Dante Aiken (Brooklyn, N.Y.) capped the 63-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run to give Western New England a 21-10 advantage.
• The Golden Bear defense forced a three-and-out on Salve's first possession of the second half, and Service then orchestrated a nine-play, 54-yard drive that culminated in a nine-yard scoring toss to sophomore tight end Josh Henry (Wilbraham, Mass.) to make it 28-10.
• Verre converted another field goal with 4:04 remaining in the third quarter to cut Salve Regina's deficit to 15 (28-13), and the Seahawks pulled to within eight (28-20) with just under eight minutes remaining in the contest when McDermott threw a 16-yard touchdown to junior wide receiver Ron Kruis (Midland Park, N.J.).
• Salve Regina got the ball back with 5:54 on the clock with an opportunity for a potential game-tying drive, but Western New England junior Kurtis Jolicoeur (Windham, N.H.) picked McDermott off at the Seahawks' 49-yard line on 2nd and 11 and returned the ball all the way for a touchdown to seal the victory for the Golden Bears.
• Gelb punched in a late touchdown to cut the final margin to nine.

Notes
• Western New England has won three straight games against Salve Regina, but the Seahawks still hold a 15-9 advantage in the all-time series.
• With his two touchdown receptions, Dietrich (19) is within two of matching Andrew Walz's program record of 21.
• Through eight games this season, Service has thrown 15 touchdown passes with just one interception.
• Junior Vinny Lalumia (Maywood, N.J.) punted six times with an average of 37.3 yards, pinning one kick inside the 20-yard line. 

Up Next
Western New England (6-2, 3-0 CCC Football) will be on the road next Saturday at Curry with an opportunity to clinch the CCC title, while Salve Regina (5-2, 2-1 CCC) will look to bounce back at Becker.