Stonehill Shuts Out Southern Connecticut State, 13-0

Senior captain Jareed Gaines matched his career-high with 13 tackles, recovered a fumble and broke up three passes to lead the defensive effort. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Skyhawks defense forces five turnovers to hand Owls first shutout in 12 years
Gomes breaks career reception record, grabs key fourth quarter touchdown

EASTON, Mass. (September 8, 2012) – Stonehill College broke a 15-game hex and handed Southern Connecticut State University its first shutout in 12 years with a 13-0 triumph in Northeast-10 Conference football action at Timothy J. Coughlin Memorial Field at W.B. Mason Stadium this afternoon.

The Stonehill defense forced five turnovers, racked up six sacks and limited Southern Connecticut State to 262 yards of total offense, including just 99 on the ground, in handing the Owls its first shutout since September 9, 2000 – a span of 128 games. It also marks the Skyhawks first win over SCSU in program history, snapping a streak of 15-straight defeats.

Senior preseason All-America defensive back Jareed Gaines (Lumberton, N.J./Rancocas Valley) spearheaded the Stonehill defensive effort with a career-high matching 13 tackles (seven solo), including 1.5 for a loss of four yards, a fumble recovery, three pass breakups and a quarterback hurry. Senior linebacker Ray Bass (Canton, Mass./Canton) added eight stops (six solo), a quarterback hurry and interception on the Stonehill 11 in the third quarter that he returned nine yards.

Sophomore defensive lineman Brandon Weiss (Freehold, N.J./Freehold) was a force inside with four tackles (three solo), including 2.5 for a loss of ten yards, 1.5 sacks for a loss of eight and two hurries. Senior Kevin Anderson (Topsfield, Mass./Masconomet) added seven stops (five solo) and two breakups, while sophomore Michael Hogan (Westborough, Mass./St. John's of Shrewsbury) chipped in with six tackles (three solo) and a breakup.

Senior John Gomes caught four passes, including the lone touchdown of the game, to finish with a school-record 128 career receptions. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Senior preseason All-America wide receiver John Gomes (Hyannis, Mass./Barnstable) highlighted the offensive effort for Stonehill by becoming the program's career receptions leader with 128 as he finished with four catches for 61 yards and the game's lone touchdown. Gomes also added ten yards on punt returns to finish with 71 all-purpose yards on the day.

Gomes broke the previous school reception record of 125 set by Dan Cahill from 1992-95 with his 39-yard catch on first and ten that set up the Skyhawks key fourth quarter score that he hauled in three plays later for a 10-0 lead with 13:25 left. Gomes also moved into third place on the Skyhawks career receiving yardage list with 1,783 yards, while his 12 career touchdown catches rank fifth all-time.

Senior running back Jermetrius Troy (Mattapan, Mass./Tilton School) and junior Justin Willis (East Haven, Conn./Notre Dame) combined for 138 rushing yards for Stonehill's effective running game. Troy had 23 carried for 73 yards, while Willis racked up 65 yards on 11 carries (5.9/rush).

Junior quarterback Logan Meyer (Ventura, Calif./Saint Bonaventure) completed 9-of-22 passes for 141 yards and the one touchdown and no interceptions. In addition to Gomes, sophomore Zaire Reiph (Norwalk, Conn./Saint Luke's School) posted four receptions for 48 yards. Freshman placekicker Stephen Grzywacz (Manchester, N.H./Manchester Central) was 2-for-4 on field goal attempts, booting a 38-yarder just before halftime to break the scoreless tie and then adding a 25-yarder in the fourth quarter to help seal the win. He also added an extra point.

Junior running back Vaughn Magee (Mastic Beach, N.Y./William Floyd) paced the Southern Connecticut State offense with 31 rushes for 151 yards. He also added a ten yard reception to finish with 161 all-purpose yards.

Freshman quarterback Bobby Lippincott (Barkhamsted, Conn./Northwestern Regional) completed 15-of-33 passes for 163 yards, but was intercepted three times and sacked six. Junior Carlton Staggars (West Haven, Conn./Platt Tech) had four receptions for 62 yards.

Junior Aaron Brockenberry (Hamden, Conn./Hamden) led the Southern defense with seven tackles (five solo), including 1.0 for a loss of two yards, and an interception. Senior Jack Cooper (Kensington, Conn./Berlin) added six stops (four solo) and a quarterback hurry, while sophomore A.J. Marsiglia (Berlin, Conn./Berlin) chipped in with four tackles (three solo), including 3.0 for a loss of 16 yards, and 2.0 sacks for a loss of 14.

Sophomore Brandon Weiss had 2.5 tackles for a loss of ten yards, including 1.5 sacks, for the defense.

Stonehill marched to the Southern Connecticut State 21 on its opening drive with Meyer connecting on key passes of 15 yards to freshman Gordon McLeod (Weymouth, Mass./BC High) on third and one and Reiph for 17 yards on third and two. The drive stalled there with three-straight incompletions and then Grzywacz attempted a 38 yard field goal that hit the crossbar and fell short.

Southern took the ball on its first offensive drive to the Stonehill 30, but turned the ball over on downs with an incompletion on fourth and one. Neither team moved the ball particularly well the rest of the quarter before Stonehill earned the first big break of the half when junior safety Tim Bennett (Fillmore, Calif./Saint Bonaventure) intercepted Lippincott at the Skyhawks 41 and returned it 22 yards to the Owls 37 with 1:17 left in the half.

Meyer hit senior Kyle Norwood (Rehoboth, Md./Cape Henlopen) for a 19 yard pass to the Southern 18. Stonehill was forced to settle for a field goal and this time Grzywacz was true, drilling his first collegiate field goal from 37 yards out to send the Skyhawks into halftime with a 3-0 lead.

Stonehill drove to the Owls 11 yard line on its only full third quarter possession, but couldn't convert as Grzywacz missed a 28-yard field goal wide left after a bad snap from center with 5:12 left in the quarter. Southern drove to the Stonehill 19, but Lippincott was picked off at the nine yard line by Bass to end the drive.

Stonehill made Southern Connecticut pay for that turnover as Meyer engineered an 80-yard scoring play over six plays for the lone touchdown of the game. Willis had 36 yards on four carries on the drive and Meyer hit Gomes for his record-breaking 126th career reception for 39 yards to the Owls 22. After two more Willis carries, Meyer hit Gomes in the back left corner of the end zone on second and goal to go up two scores (10-0) with 13:25 to play.

After Southern turned the ball over with a fumble and then went three and out, Stonehill bumped its lead to 13-0 with Grzywacz's 25 yard field goal with 7:20 to play to cap a nine play, 31 yard drive.

Southern then immediately drove to the Stonehill four yard line on seven plays, with Lippincott finding Staggars twice for passing plays of 28 and 21 yards to key the drive. However, two false start penalties and a seven yard sack by Weiss and sophomore Taylor Russell (Keene, N.H./Keene) backed the Owls back to the 21 yard line for fourth and goal. Lippincott tried to thread the needle to senior Jerome Cunningham (Waterbury, Conn./Crosby), but Gaines broke up the play in the end zone with Weiss providing pressure up the middle with 3:25 to play.

Stonehill went three and out on its next drive and Southern's last gasp drive went to the Skyhawks 32 with two Lippincott passes to Magee and Cunningham, but an ineligible man downfield penalty and sack stalled the drive with Lippincott coming up empty on third and fourth downs to seal the Skyhawks victory.

It marks Stonehill's first shutout since a 49-0 triumph over Pace University here at W.B. Mason Stadium last October. The shutout is the sixth in six seasons for the Skyhawks under head coach Robert Talley. Stonehill finished with 279 total yards, with 115 on the ground and 164 passing. After turning the ball over seven times last week against Bloomsburg, the Skyhawks had just one today (interception). Southern finished with 262 yards of offense, with 99 rushing and 163 passing.

Stonehill (1-1, 1-0 NE-10) now turns its attention to the "Battle for the Ol' Bronze Hawk" at Saint Anselm College on Friday at 7 p.m. The Skyhawks return home the following weekend to host Assumption College as part of Family Weekend at the College on Saturday, September 22, at 6 p.m. Southern Connecticut State (0-2, 0-1 NE-10) hosts Saint Augustine's University for its home opener next Saturday at 1 p.m.

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