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For the second-straight year, Stony Brook is taking the Empire Conference trophy back to Long Island. Saturday the Seawovles downed Binghamton, 50-15, to cap off their undefeated season in the Empire championship game.
Three Seawolves dotted down two tries each, and dynamic flyhalf PJ Abelein scored a total of 15 points on the day. Stony Brook will now face Keystone champion West Virginia in the ACRC Bowl Series in a few weeks.
The final was a rematch from the regular season, where Stony Brook easily took care of Binghamton, 72-12. In the championship, the first half was close, but the Seawolves opened the game up in the second half wearing down their opponent scoring six more tries.
“They ran off four straight wins after us, and they showed up at our field with seven new players, who were extremely good athletes. I was impressed. They are going to be a team to be reckoned with in the Empire," said Stony Brook head coach Jerry Mirro.
"It was a game in the first half, 15-10 at half time. Our fitness kicked in in the second half and that took over the game. Our forward play is the open field was exceptional also. Joe Farnetti, started out at hooker and moved to prop, was an outstanding athlete and his work ethic was fantastic. Dan Lyons had huge impact as a second half replacement.”
Binghamton was the first to score when eightman Nick Coppola grabbed a pick-and-go from a ruck and broke a 40-meter long run for the 5-0 lead. The early advantage would be short lived, as center Shane Wend scored with a great run following multiple phases of forward play. The conversion was unsuccessful, and the score was tied at 5-5.
Stony Brook was about to take the lead, but the Devils forced a turnover at the goal line. Binghamton proceeded to push the ball down the sideline with a recovered kick and chase. Once in Stony Brook’s territory, they reversed the field and Coppola scored his second try in the corner. The kick was no good, but the Devils had the 10-5 advantage.
The Seawolves answered as the backs got the ball out wide finishing with wing Dylan Clay scoring the try. Abelein had his first conversion and added a penalty kick later to close the first half, 15-10.
Stony Brook began the second half with three-straight tries before Binghamton could elicit a response. Fullback Bryan Michel, flanker Phil Salter, and Abelein, each scored a try, and Abelein converted a kick to break the game open, 32-10. Binghamton’s hooker Tyler Poli punched the ball in after multiple phases at the try line to bring the advantage to 32-15.
The Seawolves would end the match with 18-straight points with Salter, Wend, and Abelein scoring their second tries and Abelein tacking on a penalty kick. As the final whistle blew, Stony Brook’s physicality and fitness earned them the 50-15 triumph and the Empire title.
“In the first half, my guys played really well,” said Binghamton head coach Kevin Dublin. “I thought that PJ [Abelein], their flyhalf, did an excellent job at keeping them in position to continue to put points on the board. All day, particularly the first half, they did a really good job of getting us back in the corner. In the second half, I thought they were able to control the ball really well and eventually wear us down and get us out of position on defense and finish their plays.”