BY RICKY POLLITT
Winning has become a common occurrence for the Salisbury University football team as it won its fourth game in a row with a 62-33 victory over the William Paterson Saturday afternoon.
Along with putting up 62 points, the second highest amount scored this season, the Sea Gulls (4-1, 4-0 NJAC) also set a program record tallying 671 rushing yards on the afternoon against the Pioneers (1-5, 0-5 NJAC). The previous record of 596 yards took place in a win over Becker back in October 2007.
Senior slot back Jerome Johnson accounted for 204 of the rushing yards with two touchdowns on the day. Junior back Connor Cononico also put up big numbers totaling 184 rushing yards and two touchdowns as well.
“This team is starting to click,” Johnson said. “We’re getting better every week slowly but surely. I couldn’t do anything without the team and guys blocking for me.”
Salisbury continues to tear opposing defenses apart with its ground-and-pound mentality. Nine different players rushed the ball for the Sea Gulls, while four ended up finding the end zone.
Junior quarterback Ryan Jones made certain the passing game also played a factor by finding senior wide receiver Isaiah Taylor open for a 44-yard touchdown pass late in the first half. The two have developed quite the chemistry with the catch resulting in the fourth touchdown this season for the pair.
“We’re just working on being consistent here as we get into the later part of the season,” Taylor said. “As a senior and a captain, I just try to make the best of every opportunity I get.”
The defense for the Gulls also played a big part in the victory. Despite giving up 33 points, Salisbury shut down Pioneers’ star wide receiver Malcolm Robinson by holding him to only two catches.
Much like Salisbury, William Paterson was able to get the run game going early with running backs Darius Kersey and Dwaine Dabney putting up 85 yards and a score, and 176 yards and two touchdowns, respectively.
Even with the win though, Salisbury allowed 418 yards from William Paterson, while letting up three touchdown runs of 70-yards or more. Sea Gulls head coach Sherman Wood was happy with the win, but said he is still not satisfied with the team’s play.
“We’re still doing some quality things, but overall we need to improve on some things, and really need to play better on an overall standpoint,” Wood said. “When you get up on teams, it’s easy to lay down a little bit, and I just didn’t see the effort for four quarters.”
Sitting at number two in the NJAC standings, just behind Wesley (5-0 NJAC), Salisbury prepares to take on three of the top five teams in the upcoming weeks.
The Gulls’ next game versus Kean (3-2 NJAC) will be the first time since September 19 Salisbury plays a game away from Sea Gull Stadium.
“It’s really no different (playing on the road),” Wood said. “Our back is against the wall, so we need to come out and win every game. We practice the same way, but we will be a little more focused since we’re traveling.”