Sea Gulls thump Braves

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 13, 2003

MURFREESBORO – Maybe the Chowan College football Braves ought to consider not having an open date on their upcoming schedules.

After a week off to savor their 2-1 start, the Braves were rudely brought back to Earth when Salisbury University laid a 44-3 licking on Chowan here Saturday at James G. Garrison Stadium. The loss was the ninth in the 10-game series vs. Salisbury, one that began in 1994.

The Braves never got untracked against the nationally ranked (#22 in last week’s AFCF poll) and unbeaten (4-0) Sea Gulls. Salisbury, ranked #1 nationally in run defense, surrendered only 89 rushing yards against the Braves. The Maryland visitors were even better on pass defense, allowing only 65 yards on a combined 8-of-30 effort between Chowan quarterbacks Taylor Furlough and Kev Helmlinger.

But yet it was still a 3-3 stalemate early in the second quarter. Of course that came prior to the Sea Gulls erupting for 25 points prior to intermission en route to a commanding 28-3 halftime lead.

The beginning of the end for the Braves came over a 99-second span of the second period. There, after Rob Pashkervich’s nine-yard touchdown run capped a seven-play, 57-yard drive by the Sea Gulls, Furlough fumbled the first down snap following the ensuing kick-off. Chris Barr recovered for the visitors at Chowan’s 17 yardline and, four plays later, that miscue turned into a four-yard scoring run by Rishard Watson. Both conversions failed, but the ‘Gulls had a 15-3 lead.

Salisbury was not finished by any stretch of the imagination.

After forcing the Braves to punt from deep in their own end, the Sea Gulls launched a drive from Chowan’s 45 yardline. Two plays later, Shai Warsaw delivered a 40-yard TD strike to Lesley Wills. The conversion kick failed, leaving the ‘Gulls with a 21-3 advantage at the 2:37 mark of the second period.

But the ‘Gulls still were not done. Taking over at their own 45 yardline following a Chowan punt with 29 seconds left in the first half, it took Salisbury only two plays to reach the endzone – a 55-yard TD pass from Dustin Johnson to Wills. Brock Boland tacked on the PAT kick, extending Salisbury’s lead to 28-3 at the break.

The Braves never recovered from that second quarter shellacking, managing only 47 net yards of offense on 25 snaps in the second half.

Meanwhile, Salisbury continued to click on all cylinders – scoring on one-yard runs by Watson and Francis Bryant plus Boland’s 18-yard field goal over the final 30 minutes of action.

All totaled, Salisbury finished with exactly 500 yards of offense – a balanced attack that featured 287 passing yards and 213 on the ground. That kept Chowan’s defense busy as Brian Gardner and Keith Deloatch led the Braves with 10 tackles each. Matt Cunningham and Adam Locklear chipped in nine and eight tackles respectively.

Chowan’s lone score came on a 28-yard field goal by Angel Bonilla at the 14:05 mark of the second quarter. That forged a 3-3 tie on the heels of Boland’s 42-yard field goal with a shade over five minutes left in the first period.

The Braves will step back inside USA South Conference action on Saturday (Oct. 18) when they visit nationally ranked and defending league champion Christopher Newport University. Kick-off is set for 1 p.m. That marks the first of three straight conference games on the road as the Braves are scheduled to visit Shenandoah University on Oct. 25 followed by a Nov. 1 road trip to arch rival Methodist College.