Chargers Defeat AIC in Nail Biter


Photo Courtesy of Charger Athletics

The New Haven Chargers football team defeated the American International Yellow Jackets on Saturday (Oct. 28) 20-19. The Chargers are 6-2 overall, and 5-2 in the NE10.

On a beautiful and brisk Saturday morning, the boys in blue were back at it. After a tough loss a week ago to Assumption, who is #15 in the nation, the Chargers were down.

After a short drive beginning on their 16, AIC lost 6 yards and punted 25 yards downfield. The Chargers took over at the 35 and were in prime territory to score. By the end of their drive, kicker Danny Stock’s field goal attempt was blocked. For the rest of the first quarter, no drive exceeded 7 plays. The Yellow Jackets held onto the ball going into the second quarter.

American International did nothing with their drive and New Haven took over. Quarterback Ajee Patterson began to take over on the drive, passing to receiver Justin White on first down for a gain of 5. On the next play, he left the pocket and rushed for 7. Later on in the drive, in typical Patterson fashion, the Chargers scored on a 51- yard strike to White. A Stock extra point later, New Haven led 7-0.

AIC and New Haven each had two chronological drives with no scores. On the following Yellow Jacket drive, a long touchdown pass evened the score 7-7, with 3:44 left in the half. Before the half ended, American International would add a field goal to lead 10-7.

Following the Charger Marching Band’s performance, the Chargers took over with fast movement: a Patterson pass to receiver Devin Martin for 6 yards and a Greg Orekoya rush for the same distance set a good pace. Patterson was intercepted on the next play. The AIC drive was shocked with sacks by linebacker Nick Sutton and defensive back Stefano Bicknese.

On a later drive in the third quarter, New Haven looked to eat up the clock. With 6:39 left, the Charger drive began at their own 25. Running back Ryan McCarthy had two rushes for 11 yards and was replaced by Orekoya, who rushed three times for 20 yards. The next play was a 38- yard gain on a pass from Patterson to White. After two more McCarthy rushes, Patterson passed to White again for a three- yard touchdown. The Chargers led 14-10.

The Yellow Jackets took over and began to move, but not before the end of the third quarter. In the fourth, they kept moving, but a key Miles Pease tackle stopped a touchdown. A field goal tightened the score, resulting in a 14-13 New Haven lead.

On AIC’s next drive, they pushed down on the gas pedal. Their 80- yard drive took up 7:42, resulting in a 19-13 lead. The Chargers had to move, and move quickly.

With 3:23 left, New Haven began their drive with a Patterson rush of three yards. On the following play, he launched a 52- yard shot to Martin, down to the one. Two plays later, Patterson rushed it in himself to tie the game. Stock kicked the point after attempt, and nailed it. The Chargers led 20-19, and held that lead until the end of the game.

Patterson’s big day ended with 15 completions for 247 yards and 2 passing touchdowns. The leading rusher was McCarthy, who ended with 73 yards on 14 carries. Orekoya had 43 yards on 8 attempts, and Patterson led them all with one touchdown. White led all receivers with 6 receptions, 116 yards, and two touchdowns.

The Chargers will be back at DellaCamera Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 12:00 p.m., facing off against the Merrimack Warriors in their last regular season game.