October 13, 2016
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With week five in the books and week six right around the corner, the New Haven Chargers are looking to make it four wins in a row since dropping their first two games of the year against Slippery Rock and LIU Post, respectively.
The Chargers week six matchup is a road contest against the 1-4 Merrimack Warriors. The last time the two teams met it was Military Appreciation Day at U.N.H., but despite home field advantage, the Warriors came out on top in what was a closely contested ballgame that came down to a, now Senior quarterback, Nick Davis touchdown with 1:44 left on the clock, coming out on the right side of a 14-10 victory. Chargers’ quarterback Ajee Patterson and Davis had a shootout of sorts, both throwing for 226-yards on the day, but Davis had two touchdowns in the air that lead the Warriors to the victory. Patterson had a rushing touchdown, which would be the Blue and Gold’s only touchdown of the day. U.N.H.’s run game missed a step, as they had five different players carry the ball and no one reached over fifty yards rushing and the team altogether could only amount 95-yards on the ground. The Chargers were in a situation similar to the one they are in now, looking for their fourth straight win on the season after a loss, after Merrimack played spoilers to that the Chargers went on to drop their next game against the Assumption Greyhounds.
The Merrimack Warriors are coming off their third straight loss on the season, their fourth of 20 points or more, to the Stonehill Skyhawks by a 31-6 blowout. The Warriors only score came on a Nick Davis touchdown run early in the first quarter, as the Warrior offense just struggled all game, much like they have all season. The offense is the least of the Warriors’ problems however, as the defense is failing to keep the team in games, allowing 1,859-yards of total offense and 181 points against them in just five games. Their defense looked to turn around their subpar play this weekend as they look to get just their second win on the year.
The Chargers, on the other hand, are coming off a 38-20 blowout win, of sorts, of the Southern Connecticut State Owls. Patterson has had the hot hand, or arm so to speak, during this three-game win streak; against the Owls he threw for 257-yards and three touchdowns. Andre Anderson gained a season-high, 151-yards on the ground; a tremendous turn around after being held to only 69-yards the week before against Pace. The Charger defense had a solid afternoon after holding the Owls scoreless for majority of the second half of the game. Junior defensive back Nigel Davis managed to block both an extra point and a field goal attempt, the main highlight of the Chargers’ day defensively. The Blue and Gold looked to continue their stellar play as they look to keep their winning streak going and move to 4-2 on the year.
Saturday’s game was a historic day for the Warriors as they celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their Northeast-10 Championship team. However, the Chargers looked to crash ‘Mack’s celebration and roll through North Andover, MA with another win under their belts.
Both teams started out of the gate slow, going three-and-out on their respective first drives, but the Chargers, much like they have been on this winning streak, were the first team to put seven on the board, by way of a 12-yard Andre Anderson touchdown run. After another Merrimack three-and-out, the Blue and Gold would take over and march their way down the field, unfortunately, the offense would stall out and U.N.H. would have to settle for a Danny Stock field goal from 24-yards out.
While Merrimack seemed like they were going to be completely out of this game, going scoreless for majority of the first quarter of play, they managed to squeak in a score before the end of the quarter on a Sophomore quarterback Brenton Martin 59-yard rushing touchdown, sending the Warriors down only three going into the second. New Haven seemed completely unfazed by Merrimack’s late first quarter score and continued to play dominant football on both sides of the ball, as they picked up right where they left off in the first quarter, getting into the endzone on an Patterson 12-yard touchdown strike to tight end Johnathan Badyna to make the score 17-7 early in the second quarter. The Chargers just wouldn’t let up on the gas, scoring again, this time on a 2-yard rush from Anderson. UNH would have to use a little trickeration to score their third touchdown of the quarter, scoring on a fake field goal attempt that would result in Junior quarterback Kellen Croce and Junior linebacker C.J. Fitzpatrick’s first touchdowns on the year.
Going into the second half up 31-7, the Chargers were looking to run Merrimack out of their own stadium at this point. Running back Lemar Thomas would join in on the touchdown parade, crossing the goal line on a 3-yard rush, pushing the Charger lead to 31 points. Andre Anderson would add another touchdown to his ledger, making it three on the day, on a short one yard touchdown run. At this point, it seemed like the Chargers were playing on air, which is a testament to just how good of a job head coach Chris Pincince and his coaching staff are doing, and how well the Chargers as a whole are executing.
Up 45-7 going into the final quarter of the game, and holding Merrimack scoreless for the last two quarters, the Blue and Gold just looked to close out a good win and make this their fourth straight win on the season to push their record to 4-2 overall. However, Merrimack showed some kind of life early in the fourth quarter, scoring on a 33-yard Brenton Martin touchdown pass to Freshman wide receiver Sebastian Lucas, Lucas’s second touchdown reception of his career. This sign of life wouldn’t last long as the Warriors would go the rest of the game without scoring another point, and the Chargers would go on to seal their fourth straight victory by a score of 45-14, an absolute blowout of the Merrimack Warriors.
Offensively, Ajee Patterson would post his fourth straight game of 200- or more passing yards, which he has done for every game this year except one, throwing for 297-yards and a touchdown as he led the Chargers to their fourth win on the season. Andre Anderson had a quiet day, if you look at just his rushing yards, as he only had 79-yards on the ground, but he did punch in a season-high three rushing touchdowns. C.J. Fitzpatrick and Johnathan Badyna would have both of the team’s receiving touchdowns in the game, while Ty Headen would lead the team with 111 receiving yards on just seven catches.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Chargers had one heck of a day, holding the Warriors to only 14 points, and holding them scoreless for majority of the first and all of the second and third quarters. Four different players lead the team in tackles with only five each, those players being: linebacker Tyler Condit, Junior defensive back Nigel Davis, Freshman linebacker Scott Lavelle, and Senior linebacker Corey Mitchell. Both Junior defensive back Matt Olivo and Senior defensive lineman Matthew Rossi each had a forced fumble on the day; Olivo recovered the fumble he forced and had a 47-yard return to go with it, and Condit recovered the fumble forced by Rossi.
The blue and gold travel to North Easton, MA, to do battle with the Stonehill Skyhawks, and they look to walk out victors of their fifth straight game on the Division II Football Showcase, which is being aired on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. The Skyhawks are coming off a shutout loss to the American International Yellowjackets by a score of 19-0. The last time the two played, the Chargers came out as two touchdown victors by a score of 28-14, U.N.H. looks to have a repeat performance of that game and the last four, and walk away with a record of 5-2 on the year.