Turnovers Costly as Southern Connecticut Tops Stonehill, 13-10

Senior John Gomes added the single-season receiving yardage record to his resume as he finished with 13 catches for 106 yards and a touchdown. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Owls rally in second half to claim win on NE-10 Championship Weekend
Gomes breaks single-season receiving yardage record in setback

EASTON, Mass. (November 10, 2012) – Fourth-seeded Stonehill College turned the ball over five times in dropping a 13-10 decision to seventh-seeded Southern Connecticut State University as part of the Northeast-10 Conference Championship Weekend at Timothy J. Coughlin Memorial Field at W.B. Mason Stadium this afternoon.

Stonehill finishes its season with a 5-5 record overall, marking the fourth .500 finish in six seasons under head coach Robert Talley, after posting its first winning season in Northeast-10 play (5-3) since Talley's first season in 2007. Southern Connecticut State, which has finished under .500 for the first time since 1993, improves to 3-8 overall after finishing 2-6 in NE-10 play.

Despite the loss, Stonehill senior John Gomes (Hyannis, Mass./Barnstable) broke the program's single-season record for receiving yardage as he caught 13 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown. He finishes the season with 846 yards on 55 catches, breaking the previous record of 822 receiving yards set by Dan Cahill in 1994. Gomes also finished just three receptions shy of Brian Adamson's single-season record of 58 catches, while his 13 receptions tonight were just one shy of his own single game mark of 14.

Gomes concludes a sterling career which saw him post a Stonehill record 173 receptions for a record 2,442 yards and 18 touchdowns – good for fourth all-time. His 168 all-purpose yards today give him 3,391 for his career, finishing second all-time at Stonehill.

Southern Connecticut State claimed the win without benefit of a touchdown on offense as senior Jack Cooper (Kensington, Conn./Berlin) scored the Owls lone touchdown with a 14 yard interception return for a score with 5:37 remaining in the fourth quarter for a 13-3 lead. He finished with six tackles (three solo) and added three additional pass breakups on the afternoon.

Senior Jareed Gaines paced the defense with eight tackles, going over 100 a season for the first time in his career. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Senior Steven Teague (Hamden, Conn./Hamden) led the Southern defense with a game-high nine tackles (six solo) and a breakup, while freshman John Parsons (Wilmington, Mass./Wilmington) added seven stops (five solo), including 0.5 for a loss. Sophomore Mike Dunkley (Yonkers, N.Y./Iona Prep) contributed seven tackles (three solo), including 1.5 for a loss of two yards, and a break up. Junior Mwamba Williams (Windsor, Conn./Windsor) chipped in three solo tackles, including 2.0 for a loss of 17 yards, 1.0 sacks for a loss of eight and a quarterback hurry.

Junior Jacob Jablonski (Gales Ferry, Conn./Ledyard) completed 16-of-32 passes for 199 yards with an interception for Southern Connecticut, which finished with 257 yards of total offense, with 164 of those coming after halftime. Senior Willie Epps (Norwalk, Conn./McMahon) caught four passes for 61 yards for the Owls. Junior Vaughn Magee (Mastic Beach, N.Y./William Floyd) posted a team-high 110 all-purpose yards as he rushed the ball 20 times for 79 yards and added two receptions for 31 yards.

Freshman Devin Silverman (Berlin, Conn./Berlin) hit 2-of-3 field goal attempts on the afternoon for Southern, converting from 33 and 36 yards after missing a 24 yarder in the first half.

Senior Jareed Gaines (Lumberton, N.J./Rancocas Valley) led a Stonehill defense which limited Southern Connecticut to just two field goals with eight tackles (five solo), including 2.0 for a loss of five yards. He finished the season with 103 stops (63 solo) – the sixth-highest single-season total in program history. Gaines caps his career ranked third all-time with 313 career tackles and fourth with 167 solo stops, while his 39.0 career tackles for loss are also good for fourth all-time.

Senior Ray Bass (Canton, Mass./Canton) also registered eight tackles (six solo) in his collegiate finale, while classmate Kevin Anderson (Topsfield, Mass./Masconomet) capped his career with six solo tackles, a forced fumble and two pass breakups. Sophomore Eric Schneider (Camarillo, Calif./Saint Bonaventure) chipped in with two sacks for the second straight week for a loss of 15 yards to go with a forced fumble to finish with three solo tackles overall.

Senior Ray Bass added a team-high eight tackles as well. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Junior Logan Meyer (Ventura, Calif./Saint Bonaventure) broke his own single-game record with 34 completions on 63 attempts for 302 yards and a touchdown, but was hurt by four interceptions and was sacked twice. He broke his own previous completions record of 30 set against American International College in 2011 and he also surpassed John Darak's single-season record of 140 completions in 1998 as Meyer finishes his season with 166 for a record 2,215 yards – the first 2,000 yard passing season in program history. He will enter his senior season just 234 yards shy of Stonehill Hall of Famer Tony Dello Iacono's career yardage record of 4,895 set from 1991-94.

Senior Jermetrius Troy (Mattapan, Mass./Tilton School) finished with 111 all-purpose yards as he carried the ball 14 times for 61 yards to go with five receptions for 50 yards. Troy caps his career ranked fifth in program history with 1,611 rushing yards on 400 attempts.

Freshman Stephen Grzywacz (Manchester, N.H./Manchester Central) hit one of two field goal attempts from 32 yards on the afternoon for the Skyhawks.

Stonehill took a 3-0 lead into halftime with Grzywacz converting a 32 yard field goal with 11:51 remaining in the second quarter. The Skyhawks finished the game with 377 yards of offense, with 216 coming in the first half, but were unable to take advantage by settling for one field goal. Grzywacz missed another 32 yard field goal at the end of the Skyhawks opening drive of the game. Meyer's first interception was thrown in the Southern end zone to end Stonehill's second possession.

Silverman missed on a 24 yard field goal to knot the score for Southern with 2:38 remaining in the first half. Stonehill marched right down to the red zone on the ensuing possession before Meyer was picked off again at the edge of the Owls end zone with 23-seconds left in the half.

Southern took advantage of another Stonehill turnover to claim its first points in over six quarters against the Skyhawks this season as Silverman drilled a 33 yard field goal with 10:45 left in the third. The Owls forged in front with a 36 yard Silverman field goal 1:06 into the fourth quarter.

Southern pinned Stonehill on its own one yard line with a nice hanging punt from freshman Jeffrey Groth (Shelton, Conn.) that was downed on the one yard line. After a pair of runs from Troy, Cooper stepped in front of a Meyer pass on third and three from the eight yard line at the 14 and ran untouched into the end zone for a touchdown with 5:37 to play.

After both teams turned the ball over on downs on their next drives, Stonehill got the ball on its 29 with 3:36 to play. The Skyhawks drove to the Southern five yard line, but came up empty on fourth and goal from the ten with 1:25 left.

Southern looked to run out the clock from there, but Schneider forced a Magee fumble on first down that was recovered by sophomore Taylor Russell (Keene, N.H./Keene) on the Southern 13. Meyer connected with Gomes on fourth and seven from the Owls ten for the Skyhawks first touchdown of the afternoon with 41-seconds left.

Southern withstood the comeback effort as Grzywacz's on-side kick didn't go the necessary ten yards and the Owls took a knee to run the clock out.

Highlights and Postgame Interview with Coach Talley