SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 18 Salisbury University football team dropped its New Jersey Athletic Conference contest on Saturday afternoon, falling to Wesley College, 44-27, at Sea Gull Stadium.
Salisbury (7-2, 6-2 NJAC) opened up an early lead on the Wolverines (7-2, 7-1 NJAC) as the Sea Gulls scored field goals on their first two possessions. After receiving the opening kick, Salisbury drove 53 yards to reach the Wesley 17-yard line before the drive stalled. Junior Alex Potocko came on and booted a 34-yard field goal for the 3-0 lead.
The Sea Gull defense held the Wolverines to a quick three-and-out possession, and Salisbury again drove quickly into field goal range. Runs of 11 and 8 yards from senior Connor Canonico highlighted the drive that pushed down to the Wolverine 8-yard line before Potocko came up with a 25-yard kick for the 6-0 lead. Canonico tallied 78 yards in the contest, on a team-high 15 carries.
The advantage was short lived, as the Wolverines came back with a 63-yard drive, finished off with a 26-yard pass from Nick Falkenberg to Alex Kemp, with the extra point giving Wesley its first lead of the game.
The Sea Gulls responded with their longest drive of the day, covering 74 yards, and getting runs of 14 yards by Brady Curley and 18 yards from Ryan Kolb to begin the possession. Kolb finished with a team-high 106 yards on the ground.
But the Sea Gulls found the end zone by way of the pass, when quarterback Ryan Jones faked a handoff, and found a wide open Damien King down the right side for a 29-yard strike late in the first quarter.
Jones attempted 11 passes on the day, completing four for a total of 74 yards.
The Wolverines drew even early in the second, with Falkenberg finding Kemp for another score, this time from 6 yards out, but the game remained tied at 13-13 as senior Tyler Paradysz blocked the point-after attempt.
The Wolverines came back with two more scores to take a 27-13 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Wesley continued the offensive output, scoring 10 points in the third quarter and the lead was 44-13 in the fourth when Salisbury put together back-to-back scores.
Salisbury drove 68 yards, cutting the lead to 44-21 when Malique Pratt rushed for a 1-yard score and converted the two-point conversion. On the final play of the game, junior quarterback Brandon Lewis connected with classmate Blake Joppy for an 18-yard touchdown to get the game to its final margin.
Shane Gaines and Zachary Wolfrey led the defensive effort for the Sea Gulls, each recording nine tackles, while Gaines had five solo stops and Wolfrey had a pass breakup. Senior Dominic Fabrizio recorded Salisbury's only sack of the day, bringing down Falkenberg for a 9-yard loss.
Salisbury hits the road next Saturday, November 12 for the annual Regents Cup game against Frostburg State University. The game, in Frostburg, will kickoff at 1 p.m.