Covella ties school record for completions

BROCKPORT, NY-The SUNY Brockport football team (0-2) jumped out to a 23-7 halftime lead, but fell victim to a second half rally by defending Atlantic Central Football Conference champions and 12th ranked Salisbury State (2-0), this afternoon, dropping a 35-30 decision to the visiting Sea Gulls at Special Olympic Stadium.

After being limited to 248 yards by Cortland in the opener, the Golden Eagles had 408 yards of offense against Salisbury, including 293 in the opening half.

The Golden Eagles opened the game with a nine play, 74-yard drive, capped by a 13 yard touchdown pass from A.J. Covella (Rochester, NY/Spencerport) to Matt McCormick (Peru, NY/Peru) giving SUNY Brockport a 7-0 edge.

On the ensuing possession, Golden Eagle defensive end Dale Buck (Oakfield, NY/Oakfield Alabama) stripped the ball from Sean Fuller, and Tim Weber (Rochester, NY/Gates-Chili) pounced on the ball. On the first play of the SUNY Brockport drive, Covella tossed a 42-yard strike to Mike Mahoney (Webster, NY/Webster Schroeder) on a flea-flicker, and connected with him again for a 15-yard touchdown pass, pushing the Brockport lead to 13-0.

The Sea Gulls responded with an 11-play, 70-yard drive, culminated with a five yard touchdown scamper by quarterback Dustin Johnson.

With just under six minutes remaining in the half, SUNY Brockport's special teams came up with a big play of their own, when Matt Miller (Amherst, NY/Amherst) blocked a Salisbury punt, and Kevin Beaumont (Rochester, NY/West Irondequoit) returned it 25 yards to put Brockport ahead 20-7.

Late in the first half, Damien Aliseo (Toms River, NJ/Toms River South) recovered a Johnson fumble, setting up a 22-yard Adam Lanctot (Pittsford, NY/Pittsford Mendon) field goal, as the Golden Eagles took a 23-7 lead into the locker room.

The Sea Gulls exploded for four unanswered touchdowns in the second half, including scoring receptions to Jamar Garner and Joseph Early, and runs from Johnson and Leroy Satchell. Salisbury's final score of the game came on a 23-yard run from Johnson, and gave the Sea Gulls a 35-23 lead.

With 4:36 left in the game, SUNY Brockport went on a six play, 56 yard drive, capped by a Covella touchdown pass to Mike Calderon (Eden, NY/Eden), pulling the Golden Eagles to within 35-30.

After forcing a Salisbury punt, Brockport had the ball at their own 20 with 1:59 left in the game. Two plays after a 17-yard completion to Brian Wise (Newfane, NY/Newfane), Covella was intercepted by Terrance Dorsey, ending the threat.

The Sea Gulls held a 24-18 edge in first downs, and rushed for 309 yards. The Golden Eagles were successful through the air, gaining 322 passing yards, marking the first 300-yard passing game since 1994. Covella tied a school record for completions, connecting 25 of his 37 passing attempts, tossing three touchdowns, and was intercepted twice. Wise paced Brockport's rushing attack with 48 yards on eight carries, and made nine receptions for 122 yards. Mahoney had six catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. John Walther (Dansville, NY/Dansville) made a team-high 13 tackles, and Troy Anderson (Caledonia, NY/Caledonia-Mumford) intercepted a Salisbury pass.

Satchell and Johnson paced the Sea Gulls offensively, rushing for 174 and 126 yards respectively.

The SUNY Brockport football team will return to action on September 17, when they travel to Apprentice.