NEW LONDON, Conn. – Senior quarterback Steven Wilken overcame four first half interceptions with three touchdown passes as Salve Regina scored 20 unanswered points for a 20-10 win over Coast Guard in a New England Football Conference (NEFC) game.
The Seahawks defense intercepted sophomore quarterback Derek Victory three times in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Salve won its third straight to improve to 5-4 overall and 4-2 in conference play while Coast Guard dropped its third straight to drop to 3-6 overall and 2-4 in the NEFC.
Wilken was 25 of 37 for 253 yards with the three touchdowns and four interceptions.
Juniors James Rizzo and Eli Maurer each had first quarter interceptions for Coast Guard, but the quarter ended scoreless.
Coast Guard got on the board with 6:27 left in the first half when Victory threw a 5-yard pass to senior defensive end Aaron Black, who lined up as a tight end, his first collegiate touchdown and following the extra point led 7-0.
Junior Tyler Henning, who missed a 27-yard field goal in the first quarter, booted a 25-yard field goal on the Bears next possession for a 10-0 lead 2:43 left in the half. That drive was set up on an interception by senior Joe Rizzardi that he returned 74 yards to the Salve 20-yard line.
Maurer had his second interception of the half, on the first play of the next possession, but the Bears were forced to punt and Salve Regina finally got on the board on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Wilken to senior Matthew Trainor with 34 seconds left in the half, the extra point was blocked making the score 10-6 at the half.
The Seahawks took the lead as they marched 89 yards in 13 plays capped on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Wilken to senior Dan Buonocore with 46 seconds left in the quarter. Junior Jackie Hurley's extra point was good to make the score 13-10.
Coast Guard was driving to take the lead as they had the ball at the Salve 6-yard line before senior linebacker Matt Conroy intercepted Victory in the end zone and returned it 65 yards with 7:02 left in game.
On the next play, Wilken threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Traynor as the Seahawks extended their lead to 20-10 with 6:55 left.
Victory was intercepted at the Salve 32-yard line by Conroy once again on the next possession and then the Bears turned it over on downs at the Seahawk 32-yard line with 1:26 left to seal the win.
Buonocore had 21 carries for 126 yard to lead the Salve ground game while junior wide receiver Alex Hulme had a game-high 12 receptions for 125 yards in the win.
The Seahawks finished with 380 yards of total offense, 253 passing and 127 rushing while Coast Guard had 288 yards, 258 of those passing.
Victory was 29 of 54 for 258 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. Sophomore Bryan Popp led the Bears with eight receptions for 105 yards while Victory had 28 rushing yards on six carries to lead Coast Guard.
Junior cornerback James Rizzo led the Coast Guard defense with ten tackles and an interception while sophomore linebacker Ethan Gambale led Salve with nine tackles, eight solo.
Coast Guard closes the season at MIT next Saturday with kickoff set for 1 p.m.
POST GAME INTERVIEW WITH COAST GUARD HEAD COACH BILL GEORGE