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Clark caps fourth quarter rally as Seahawks take season opener,17-14

Keenan helped lead the Seahawks fourth quarter comeback with a clutch 15-yard touchdown grab
Keenan helped lead the Seahawks fourth quarter comeback with a clutch 15-yard touchdown grab

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – Freshman Christian Clark (Williamsport, Pa.) hit a 35-yard field goal with 10:01 remaining, capping a run of 11 unanswered fourth quarter points for the Seahawks, as the Salve Regina University football team rallied back to defeat Union College by a score of 17-14 in their season opener on Saturday afternoon at Frank Bailey Field. This marks the second time in as many meetings that the Seahawks have topped the Dutchmen on a fourth quarter field goal by a freshman kicker, receiving a 49-yard boot in the closing seconds of last year's opener.

Matthew Markese (West Hartford, Conn.) had three sacks, five tackles for a loss, and 11 total tackles for the Seahawks. Steven Wilken (Ringwood, N.J.) was 13 for 22 for 154 yards with no interceptions and a touchdown, and had a team high 47 yards rushing. Paul Panarelli (Shrewsbury, Mass.) had 62 yards on two receptions. The Salve Regina defense posted five sacks.

Union was led by Noah Joseph, who recorded a game high 17 tackles, including two for losses. Brian Dailey and Jake Lebowitz had nine tackles each for the Dutchmen. Connor Eck was 10 for 22 in the first varsity game of his career, and also passed for a touchdown with 172 yards. Eck also led the Dutchmen on the ground with 41 rushing yards.

Salve Regina had 92 rushing yards but held the Dutchmen to 126. Union had 340 yards in total offense while the Seahawks recorded 246 yards in offense.

The Seahawks opened the scoring just 2:36 into the contest. Phil Terio (Trumbull, Conn.) intercepted a pass from starting quarterback Nick Becker from the Union 31, and raced down the left sideline into the endzone for a 6-0 Salve Regina lead. The kick failed.

The teams were both held scoreless in the second quarter. In fact, neither team reached the redzone in a total of six drives in the quarter.

The Dutchmen took their first lead of the season in the third period. On a third-and-11 from the Union 33, Eck found Jimmer Bennett who took off for a 67 yard touchdown catch with 9:39 left to tie the contest, and Tosin Kazeem nailed the extra point for a 7-6 home advantage. The score capped a three play, 66-yard drive that consumed 1:43.

Two drives later, Union started from the 32. Eck hit Bennett for 21 yards to keep the drive alive on a third-and-17 play from the Union 25. Eck also rushed to the 50 on a third-and-6 minutes later. On the 12th play of the 68-yard drive (that took 6:30), Darnell Thomas rushed for six yards for the touchdown and the kick made it 14-6 Union with 27 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

But after the kickoff, Salve Regina pulled closer with a four-play, 68-yard drive in 1:17. Patrick Keenan (North Smithfield, R.I.) caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Wilken just 51 seconds into the fourth quarter and Trey Scales (Boston, Mass.) rushed to the left of the end zone for the two-point conversion and a 14-14 tie.

After the Salve defense held Union to four downs on the next drive, the Seahawks took over at the Union 38 with 12:26 left. Six plays later on a fourth-and-5, Clark booted the field goal for the eventual final score, 17-14.

Union returns home next Saturday, September 8, to host Utica in another non-league game at 7 p.m. Salve Regina will host Montclair State in the team's home opener on September 8 at 12 p.m.

Release Courtesy of Union Sports Information