Kowalick, Hudson propel Sea Gulls past Dutchmen on Homecoming Weekend
SALISBURY, Md. - Junior kicker Tommy Kowalick (Sterling, Va.) came through with a game-winning 22-yard field goal with four minutes remaining in regulation and senior defensive back Brandon Hudson (Delmar, Md.) preserved the score with an interception on the ensuing possession as the Salisbury University football team gutted out a 19-16 win over Union (N.Y.) College on Homecoming Weekend at Sea Gull Stadium Saturday.
Salisbury (4-3) rose to the challenge in the fourth period as the SU defense used two huge stops to propel the team to victory. With the game deadlocked at 16 apiece, the squad was faced with a fourth-and-2 situation from its own 21-yard line but the unit would not break as senior defensive end Paul Cynewski (Moorestown, N.J.) brought down a Dutchman back two yards behind the line of scrimmage. SU took the lead on the following possession after Kowalick's big kick.
With the made field-goal Kowalick is now 5-for-7 on field goal attempts this season. He has also connected on 24-of-25 extra points. The game winner was not routine, as the snap to holder Keith Polizois (Flanders, N.J.) was slightly off target. However, Polizois was able to make the adjustment and get the ball down for Kowalick to hammer home the game winner.
"We want to do everything we can to win the special teams game," said head coach Sherman Wood. "If we do that, we feel we can be close or even favored to win the football game."
Union (5-2) began its final drive at its own 18-yard line but used consecutive big plays to smash into SU territory for the second consecutive drive. On second-and-5, Dutchmen quarterback Drew Connolly raced to his left and spotted a receiver, but Hudson would not let it land as the senior tallied his second interception of the game to preserve the victory.
Hudson led the charge for the Sea Gull defense with the two interceptions and a pair of big pass breakups, including a crucial knockdown to save an easy Dutchmen touchdown in the second quarter. Cynewski had one sack and collected a team-high 10 tackles (4.5 for loss). Junior linebacker Justin Chura (Lothian, Md.) had eight tackles (five solo) while senior linebacker Eric Arndt (Waldwick, N.J.) and junior defensive lineman Riley Fritts (Columbia, Md.) had six and seven tackles, respectively. Junior wide reciever Anthony Arellano (Woodbridge, Va.) and senior wideout D.J. Nelson (Mullica Hill, N.J.) each had one fumble recovery.
SU opened the scoring in the contest with a safety when Union sailed a punt snap through its own endzone. The Sea Gulls used a pair of 7-yard touchdown scampers by junior quarterback Sean Kelly (Fallston, Md.) and the defense posted a shutout in the first half to send SU into intermission with a 16-0 lead. Union opened up the third with back-to-back scores to knot the game up, but the scores would not hold up as SU raced to its fourth win of the season.
Salisbury (4-3) was led offensively in the contest by Kelly, who ran for a career-high 119 yards on 17 carries and scored Salisbury's only two touchdowns. Sophomore slot back Randal Smedley (Frederick, Md.) had a big day of his own as he ran for 81 yards while junior slot back Bryan Woolson (White Hall, Md.) and senior slot back Valdase Morris (Salisbury, Md.) each ran for 35 yards. The receiving corps was led by sophomore wideout Phillip Sheppard (Manchester, Md.), who grabbed two passes for 24 yards.
Salisbury will hit the road for its next two contests beginning with a bout at Atlantic Central Football Conference rival Wesley College, on Saturday, Oct. 31 at 1 p.m.