By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11
Our ‘Early Preseason Outlook’ coverage continues with the Salve Regina University football team, which begins its 2019 campaign on Saturday, September 7th against Norwich University.
The Seahawks’ 2018 Season: After ending the month of September with a disappointing 41-14 setback to Western New England, the Seahawks rebounded with five-straight wins, including an end of regular-season victory over Endicott College before falling to Bridgewater State in the New England Bowl.
Yet, despite ending the 2018 season with a loss to the Bears, the Seahawks proved they will certainly be a team to watch this fall after ending their previous campaign with a 5-1 record.
Salve Regina did say goodbye to 13 seniors this past spring, including Brandon O’Neill and John Salute, who were spotted on the defensive line, but do return some impressive talent on both sides of the ball, which should help them contend for the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) crown.
The 2019 Outlook: With some key graduation losses to the Seahawks’ defense, look for the squad’s rising seniors and juniors to step-up, including linebacker Matt Messner, who led the unit with 83.0 total tackles last season.
Charlie Connell returns for his final season as the team’s strong safety – he ended the 2018 season with 63.0 total tackles, including 40 solo stops and 4.5 tackles for a loss of 20 yards. Connell also recorded one interception last season, along with a trio of pass breakups, too.
John Goode will also be a player to watch in the secondary, as well, while Drew Balestrieri will be another linebacker to keep your eyes on this fall after tallying a career-high 51.0 total tackles last season.
Halfback Joey Mauriello will look to duplicate his performance from a year ago – he finished his initial season of college football with 1,075 rushing yards on 192 carries and seven touchdowns while catching 29 passes for 278 yards and two scores. Mauriello was named our Noontime Sports Rookie of the Year – he also received the same honor by the CCC.
Quarterback Tyler McGovern returns and will most likely target Brendan Nunes and Danny Hoffman this fall – the duo combined for 93 catches for 1,254 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Tight end Ryan Lawton returns for his final season and should also be a factor for the Seahawks after recording career-bests one year ago in receptions (19), receiving yards (312) and touchdowns (two).
Salve Regina’s offense should continue its success with some key members of the offensive line returning, including Kyle Wisniewski, Pete Noonan, and Michael Saunders.
Salve Regina’s Schedule: The month of September is a challenging one for the Seahawks, who will compete in back-to-back home games against Norwich and Montclair State before hitting the road for a pair of games against Dean College and Nichols College.
Most likely, the Seahawks will finish the first month with two or three wins – maybe four? – but the schedule gets tougher in October with two important conference games against Endicott and Western New England.
Weeks after their visit to Western New England, the Seahawks will visit Husson University in the second to last week of the 2019 season before hosting Curry College on Saturday, November 16th at 12 p.m.
Players to Watch: Tyler McGovern (Quarterback/Attleboro, Mass.), Joey Mauriello (Halfback/Colts Neck, N.J.), Matt Messner (Linebacker/Midland Park, N.J.), Charlie Connell (Strong Safety/Oradell, N.J.), John Goode (Defensive Back/Rockland, Mass.), Drew Balestrieri (Linebacker/Lynnfield, Mass.), Brendan Nunes (Wide Receiver/Attleboro, Mass.), Danny Hoffman (Trumbull, Conn.), Ryan Lawton (Tight End/Washington Township, N.J.), Kyle Wisniewski (Offensive Line/Harwich, Mass.), Pete Noonan (Offensive Line/Ardmore, Pa.), and Michael Saunders (Offensive Line/Westwood, N.J.).
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