Seahawk Comeback Falls Short Against Central Connecticut In 21-19 Loss
Staten Island, NY - After opening the season with a loss at Buffalo, the Wagner College football team will open Northeast Conference (NEC) play on Saturday, September 11, when the Seahawks take on Central Connecticut at Hameline Field. Kickoff is set for 3:00 pm. The game will be broadcast on NECFrontRow.
Saturday's contest will be the 33rd meeting between these longtime rivals, with the series knotted up at 16-16. CCSU has won the last three matchups against Wagner, including a 27-13 defeat of the Seahawks in 2019 at Hameline Field. During the last three meetings, the teams have combined for 209 points, highlighted by a 51-45 four-overtime classic on Staten Island in 2017.
Fresh Start On Special Teams
With punter Joshua Brown, long snapper Brylan Noonan, kickoff specialist Zach Heffner, and placekicker Dylan Hach, head coach Tom Masella played four true freshmen on special teams against Buffalo. Brown showed his potential throughout the contest, averaging 35.7 yards per punt, including a 56-yard punt, as well as two punts that were downed inside the 20-yard line.
Despite the loss against the Bulls, the Seahawks won the turnover battle, forcing a Buffalo fumble on a punt while not committing a turnover on offense. Through three games under Masella, the Seahawks have had the advantage in turnovers twice.
Scouting The Blue Devils
The Blue Devils will also be looking for their first win of the season on Saturday following a 28-21 defeat against Division II Southern Connecticut State last Saturday. Quarterback Romelo Williams threw for 279 yards in the loss, while receiver Tyshaun James hauled in eight catches for 75 yards to lead the team. Central Connecticut has not lost a NEC game since November 17, 2018 after going 7-0 in conference play in 2019 en route to an NEC title. CCSU was picked to finish second in the preseason coaches' poll.
On Saturday, Wagner will honor the 1980 team, which was the first Seahawk football team to make the NCAA Playoffs. During the regular season, Wagner went 8-1 under head coach Bill Russo, before falling to Ithaca in the NCAA quarterfinal round.
Head Coach Tom Masella knows what it takes to win an NEC title. Apart from helping the Seahawks to a league title in 2012, Masella helped the Blue Devils to NEC Championships in 2004 and 2005. In two seasons at CCSU, Masella compiled at 15-6 overall record and 11-3 conference mark, winning two championships in the process.
After making his head coaching debut at his alma mater in the spring, Masella is coaching his first fall season as the Seahawks' head coach. After being hired in December 2019, the Covid-19 pandemic limited Masella to just two games in the spring of 2021.
A member of the Wagner Athletics Hall of Fame and Staten Island native, Masella returns to Grymes Hill after most recently serving as the defensive coordinator at Northeast Conference (NEC) rival Bryant.
Masella's rich coaching background includes a stint as the associate head coach for Wagner during the historic 2012 season, as the Seahawks won their first NEC Football Championship in school history before becoming the first NEC team to post a win in the NCAA FCS Playoffs with a 31-20 victory over Patriot League Champion Colgate.
A proven winner at the highest level, Masella brings over 30 years of collegiate coaching experience back to Wagner, including six seasons at the FBS level, 10 as a head coach, and 15 years as a defensive coordinator at the FBS and FCS level.
Wagner In The NFL