The Stony Brook Football team held its annual spring game on Saturday afternoon at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. Team Black, the Seawolves’ defense, defeated Team Red, the Seawolves’ offense, 18-7.
Ranked as the number one defense in the entire Football Championship Subdivision last season, Stony Brook looked for its next big time player after All-American defensive end Victor Ochi’s career ended last fall. In the first quarter, junior defensive back Tyrice Beverette looked like that player, tallying a sack and a pass deflection in the first quarter.
“We just have that attitude over here that the next person has to fill in and step up,” Beverette said. “We’re not going to hold ourselves back just because we lost a good player. We’re just going to mold that person to the player or just somebody has to step up and be that player.”
However, it was senior captain and defensive back Jaheem Woods who stepped up the most for the Seawolves’ secondary. After failing to pick off a single pass last fall, Woods intercepted a fourth down pass attempt by senior quarterback Joe Carbone. The interception brought the defense’s lead to 10-7 in the first quarter.
The defense scored a point on each stop after the 50 yard line, two for each stops before the 50 yard line and turnovers after the 50 yard line and four points for turnovers before the 50 yard line.
On the defensive line, redshirt sophomore Josh Valentin dominated. He had two sacks in the first half. His second sack forced a three-and-out and pushed the defense’s lead to 14-7.
Junior defensive back Marvin Hart, who missed much of last season with injury, intercepted a deep pass along the sideline in the second quarter. Hart caught the ball off a deflection by teammate redshirt freshman defensive back Synceir Malone.
On offense, head coach Chuck Priore looked to air out the ball. Carbone threw 28 passes and completed 16 of them. He threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Julius Wingate and was picked off twice.
“[Passing] is something there’s an emphasis on working on,” Priore said. “In spring ball you want to get a chance to evaluate that part of your game.”
If it were not for Wingate, Carbone’s 57 percent completion may have been much lower. Wingate caught 10 passes for 120 yards.
“I’m a small piece of the puzzle for the whole entire plan of the whole offense,” Wingate said. “We’re going to keep working as a team and we’re going to make it happen this year.”
Redshirt freshman wide receiver Andrew Trent caught two passes for 28 yards.
Carbone was not the only quarterback to see action. Redshirt sophomore Pat Irwin and redshirt freshman Hasan Faraj also saw some playing time under center.
Last year, Stony Brook was a rushing team. The Seawolves amassed 1,527 rushing yards total, thanks to the running back trio of redshirt senior Stacey Bedell, junior Isaiah White and senior Donald Liotine.
White rushed for 54 yards on 10 carries, while Liotine added 41 yards on six carries, including a 25-yard run. Aside from the pair, no other running back made much noise for the Seawolves.
Bedell was the only one of the three featured backs who did not play. He is still healing from injuries sustained last season, Priore said. Bedell missed most of the 2015 season with a severe shoulder injury.
Senior wide receiver Ray Bolden, the Seawolves’ leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns last season, did not play for Stony Brook either.
The Seawolves will look to improve upon the 2015 season, where they finished 5-5 after starting the season 2-0. After suffering a five-game losing streak, Stony Brook went undefeated in its last three games of the season.
“Spring ball, it’s 14 hard practices and you get a chance wind up with a game,” Priore said. “They’re just excited about playing.”
Stony Brook will begin its 2016 season on Sept. 1 in a home game against North Dakota.
The Seawolves and Fighting Hawks last faced each other in a 2014 nonconference game in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Stony Brook lost that matchup, 13-7.