SALISBURY, Md. – Salisbury football pushed its win streak to 18 straight victories on homecoming games under coach Sherman Wood as the Sea Gulls downed previously undefeated Montclair State University, 17-15, on Saturday afternoon in a tough New Jersey Athletic Conference showdown. Salisbury used early scoring a stifling defense to secure the victory and stay unbeaten in 2018.
The Salisbury (6-0-5-0 NJAC) defense was relentless throughout, forcing a season-high six turnovers, including four interceptions, which surpassed the season total entering Saturday's showdown of three. Sean Carroll led the exceptional defensive effort by tying the team-high with seven tackles, a forced fumble, and recorded the interception of the year to this point as he picked off Red Hawks (5-1, 4-1 NJAC) quarterback Ja'Quill Burch on the first possession of the fourth quarter.
The four interceptions is the most in a contest since last season against the very same Montclair St. team when the Sea Gulls intercepted three passes to secure a 28-10 victory.
The Sea Gulls opened the scoring on the first possession of the game, marking the second time in the last four games that the Gulls have taken their opening possession and marched right down the field for a touchdown. In fact, Salisbury scored on its first three possessions of the game to build a 17-0 lead. Khari Chase capped off the eight-play, 65 yard drive, catching the fourth touchdown of the season from Jack Navitsky on a 13-yard strike.
Maurice Harris set up the next scoring drive by picking off the first pass of the contest and returning it to the Red Hawks 41-yard line. Navitsky once again led the offense right down the field, moving 41 yards in nine plays that saw Kadarrius Campbell both start and end the drive for the maroon and gold. Campbell opened the drive with runs of seven and five yards before finishing the drive off from two yards out to push the lead to 14-0.
Trevor Skoglund would connect on his second field goal of the season to push the advantage to 17 on the next offensive possession to finish off a five-play, 10 yard drive set up by Carroll's forced fumble on Montclair St. wide receiver Daunte Fletcher.
The Red Hawks managed to trim the advantage to just two, 17-15, scoring 12-points in the third quarter and adding a 49-yard field goal off the foot of kicker Hunter Daly with just over eight minutes left to play. From there the Salisbury defense stiffened, forcing a punt, intercepting Burch for a fourth time, and forcing a turnover on downs with less than two minutes left to play in the contest on the Red Hawks' final three possessions of the game.
Shane Gaines finished tied for the team lead in tackles as did Patrick Bernardo, as each totaled seven while both players also tallied an interception. Bernardo added in two fumble recoveries and a tackles for loss to help boost his stat line.
Overall, Salisbury finished the day with 200 total yards, including 148 rushing yards, while Montclair St. threw for 170 and rushed for 38 more to finish with 208. Campbell finished the game as the Sea Gulls' leading rusher with 73 yards on 18 carries, while Navitsky finished the game 3-for-8 for 52 yards and a TD.
Salisbury returns to action Saturday, October 20 when it travels to Southern Virginia University. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.