W. Maryland tops Salisbury for 8-0 start Green Terror pulls out 11-0 triumph in mud

November 02, 1997|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

In a Westminster mud bowl called Scott S. Bair Stadium yesterday, unbeaten Western Maryland defeated Salisbury State, 11-0, joining the 1929 and 1951 squads as the only football teams in the 103-year history of the school to get off to 8-0 starts.

The victory in the first football meeting between the two Division III schools also virtually assured Western Maryland of at least a tie for its first Centennial Conference championship in the 15-year history of the league.

The players celebrated as if they had locked up the tie yesterday, belly-flopping in the ankle-deep mud in the middle of the field upon learning that Johns Hopkins had been beaten in triple overtime, 13-7, by Dickinson.

It was the first league loss for the Blue Jays and dropped them to 4-1 and into second place behind Western Maryland (5-0) with two games to play.

Western Maryland can't officially clinch a share of the Centennial crown until Saturday when it meets Swarthmore, which lost to Johns Hopkins, 73-0, earlier in the season.

Salisbury State (2-5) played inspired defense and seemed to throw the nationally ranked Green Terror (12th in the USA Division III poll) off its game with trash talking.

The heavy rain also took a big edge off Western Maryland's passing attack. Sophomore quarterback Ron Sermarini had to rely on a variety of swing passes to move the ball instead of throwing deep as he has done often this season.

Sermarini completed 14 of 28 for 154 yards and no touchdowns, after throwing for 1,305 yards and 14 touchdowns in the first seven games.

Salisbury was called for five personal fouls, including one unsportsmanlike conduct call and a roughing-the-passer penalty, to account for most of its 84 yards in penalties. Two of the personal fouls and the unsportsmanlike conduct occurred in the final two minutes after the outcome had been determined.

But there was an undercurrent of talking throughout the game, prompting Salisbury State center Ken Schuckle to say: "We should have played with our pads instead of our mouths. Not a lot of guys were blocking for us. We should have kept our mouths shut. Our coach [Joe Rotellini] was upset by all the penalties."

But Sea Gulls defensive back Tony Hill said his team came to Western Maryland "with something to prove because they were 7-0 and we had to show them what we're all about."

Western Maryland's Brent Sandrock, who kicked a 21-yard field goal to give the Green Terror a 9-0 lead with 11: 17 left in the third quarter, said his teammates "did some talking, too, but Salisbury did more."

Green Terror running back Gavin DeFreitas said the Sea Gulls "played right into my hands with their trash talking. I play better off that talking. I knew some of the players on their team [Travis Royall and Lamont Robinson], and they had nothing to say when the game was over."

DeFreitas scored the only touchdown in the game, going 4 yards for a score with 8: 57 left in the second quarter to give Western Maryland a 6-0 lead.

Rotellini wouldn't publicly condemn his players for their actions that led to several penalties, but the first Sea Gulls personal foul in the game kept a 72-yard drive going for the Green Terror and led to DeFreitas' touchdown.

Salisbury linebackers Scott MacRobbie and Lucas Seeger combined for 16 tackles.

The two schools are scheduled to meet next year at Salisbury (Oct. 31).

Pub Date: 11/02/97

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