Middletown, RI --- Graduate student Rob LaRivere-Tougas (Easthampton, MA) had 20 carries for 146 yards and two touchdowns to help propel Salve Regina to a ECAC Northwest Bowl Championship in a 26-6 triumph this afternoon at Gaudet Field.
This is the Seahawks first ECAC Bowl championship since their 36-6 victory over Bridgewater State in 1998 and their first win over the Lancers in their last six attempts. Their last meeting was a 28-27 Blue and Gold triumph in 2005.
Salve Regina senior Shane Lange (Branford, CT) was named Most Outstanding Player with his performance on defense for the Seahawks. He had nine tackles, two sacks, and one pass breakup.
Both teams ended their seasons at 8-3 records as the Lancers finished their first winning season since 2004.
Salve Regina's second ranked defense in the New England Football Conference proved tough as they held the Lancers to 173 yards of total offense. WSU averaged 409.9 (2nd NEFC) on the season entering this matchup.
On the Seahawks first drive, they brought the ball down to the WSU 16-yard line. The Lancer defense pushed Salve Regina back to their own 27 forcing a fourth and 22.
Going for it on fourth down, freshman Steven Wilken (Ringwood, NJ) evaded Lancer pass rushers and heaved the ball down to the end zone where it was tipped and caught by freshman Dan Buonocore (Mahwah, NJ) for the score.
After the extra point by junior Brandon Deasy (Quincy, MA) Salve Regina grabbed the early 7-0 lead at the 10:06 mark in the first.
The teams traded possessions before Salve Regina took over with the ball after stopping WSU on a fourth-and-short.
The drive brought the Seahawks down to the Worcester State 12-yard line, but on a third down senior Ray St. Laurent (Shrewsbury, MA) sacked Wilken forcing a field goal. Freshman Marc Moore (Hattiesburg, MS) connected with the 35-yard kick putting the Seahawks ahead 10-0 with 3:35 left in the first quarter.
The Blue and Gold started the next drive and began to move the ball down the field, but senior Tony Tokarz (Holden, MA) pass was tipped and intercepted by sophomore Joshua Burnett (Whitman, MA) giving the ball back to the Seahawks.
Salve Regina marched down the field on their next series taking over five minutes off of the clock, but the WSU defense stepped up and pushed the Seahawks just out of field-goal range thanks to a 14-yard sack by senior Cliff Oratokhai (Worcester, MA). The 43-yard attempt by Moore was pushed wide right.
Freshman Zack Skerry (Milford, MA) recovered fumbles on consecutive Salve Regina drives, but the Lancers offense, which gained 35 yards in the first quarter, could not capitalize on the chances.
Salve Regina added to their lead with 26 seconds left in the first half when LaRivere-Tougas punched in his first touchdown, a two-yard rush, capping off an 11 play, 87-yard drive.
On the ensuing kickoff, junior Graham Asum (Marlboro, MA) returned the kick 82 yards breaking several tackles for the touchdown – his third career kickoff score – putting the Lancers down 16-6 entering the half.
The score proved to be the only points of the game for Worcester State.
The Lancers started with the ball to begin the third quarter and brought the ball into Salve Regina territory, down to the Seahawks 31-yard line. On a fourth and one, the Seahawks defense proved tough and stopped senior Marcus Price (Worcester, MA) short of the line turning the ball over on downs.
For the game, the Lancers were 0-for-3 on fourth-down conversions and two-for-15 on third downs.
After a scoreless third stanza, WSU had a chance to add to their lead at the 11:48 mark in the fourth, but sophomore Derek Muccini (Upton, MA) pushed a 32-yard field goal attempt into the strong winds wide left.
At 6:57 in the fourth, LaRiviere-Tougas added his second score of the game on a 32-yard scamper down the sideline.
On their next drive, the Seahawks added a Moore field goal with 5:22 remaining, pushing the margin to its eventual final, 26-6.
Salve Regina outgained Worcester State in total offense 332-173 including a 250-55 edge in rushing yards. Along with LaRivere-Tougas' 146 yards, Wilken gained 52 on the ground with 15 carries and Buonocore added 13 carries for 39 yards.
Wilken was also 8-of-11 through the air with 82 yards and a touchdown.
Tokarz and junior Corey Spencer (Malden, MA) combined for 9-of-27 passing for 118 yards. Price finished the game with 18 carries for 37 yards rushing while freshman Casey Hippert (Douglas, MA) had four receptions for 79 yards.
Price finishes his career with Worcester State second on the all-time rushing list with 2,851 yards and with the most rushing yards in a season by a Lancer with 1,230.
Tokarz ended his stint with the Blue and Gold topping the all-time rushing list for a quarterback with 1,193 yards on the ground and fourth in passing yards with 4,604. He also is second in career touchdown passes with 46.
On the defensive side of the ball for the Lancers, sophomore Bryan Narcisse (Medway, MA) led all players with 12 tackles in the game including a sack and two tackles for a loss. Oratokhai registered nine tackles with a sack and two forced fumbles while Skerry had seven tackles and two fumble recoveries.
In addition to Lange, the Seahawks got defensive contributions from senior AJ Albert (Franklin Park, NJ) who had eight tackles and 1.5 sacks and junior Mathew Markese (West Hartford, CT) who finished with seven tackles and 0.5 sacks.
Release By Jim Sarkisian – Sports Information Intern