Chargers Defense Holds Off Pace


The New Haven Chargers football team defeated the Pace Setters on Saturday (Sept. 23) 21-20. The Chargers are now 3-1, while Pace falls to 2-2.

As the sun rose on DellaCamera Stadium Saturday morning, the blue and gold still had a sour taste in their mouths. The last game on the smurf turf was two weeks ago, a loss to now #9 LIU Post 35-34. With that pain in mind, New Haven welcomed Pace to the jungle. The game began slowly for the Chargers, as the Setters grabbed a 7-0 lead by the end of the first quarter, and 14-0 with 11 minutes left in the first half. A balanced attack of quarterback Ajee Patterson and running back Ryan McCarthy propelled New Haven for the beginning of the game, with no strong attacks. The defense kept being knocked back, and the offense kept producing stalemates.

A Charger drive began with 4:20 in the second quarter, and was highlighted by a 20- yard Collin Hill reception that brought the offense to the Pace 22- yard line. The drive was finished off by a Patterson pass to McCarthy into the gold end zone, and New Haven was finally on the board down 14-7. The score wouldn’t stay this way for long.

A Setter 3-and-out gave the Chargers the ball back, and Patterson was ready to light up the scoreboard again. He did what he does best, and unleashed a deep bomb to receiver Devin Martin for a 42- yard touchdown. A Danny Stock kick later, and the game was tied at 14 going into the half.

New Haven got the ball back after the half. Despite strong rushes from running back Greg Orekoya, the Chargers were unable to add a score. The following Pace drive looked to be moving, with short gains pushing them down the field. On a 2nd down and four, a pass was intercepted by defensive back CJ Anderson at the New Haven 24- yard line. 76 yards were needed to score, but with Patterson’s arm, the Chargers were in business again.

The following drive began blandly, but a sudden 53- yard touchdown pass to receiver Damon Rodgers gave New Haven the lead for the first time on the day. Coach Pincince and the Chargers sideline was excited with pride. The game continued and as the 4th quarter came, New Haven was looking to hold off the Setters.

The first play of the 4th was a pass intercepted by Chargers defensive back Javeon Ensley. The following New Haven drive was nearly a 3-and-out, but was intercepted by Pace before the offense could reach the 4th down. Fortunately, the Setters’ ensuing drive was not fruitful, and Big Blue kept the lead at 21-14. The Chargers’ drive afterwards was a 3-and-out, and once Pace got the ball back, they knew they had to strike.

The Setters methodically moved the ball downfield, and hit the end zone on a 22- yard pass. 21-20. Pace lined up to kick the point-after attempt. A mishandled snap caused the holder to bobble the ball around, not allowing the kicker to have the ball as he wanted. The kick attempt was botched, and defensed by Anderson.

The following Charger drive looked to extend the drive, but the effort failed. Pace ball, with 2:53 left. With a fired up New Haven defense, the ball wouldn’t be driven past the Charger 29- yard line. Pace lined up to kick a field goal to take the lead, with 0:20 left. The kick was lined up, and fired off. The Chargers’ sideline watched hesitantly. A mere two weeks ago, they lost by way of a missed field goal. The ball landed too far right, and no points were awarded. Jubilation filled the bleachers, and a quick Patterson kneel finished the game. Patterson’s day ended going 13/24, with 204 yards and 3 TDs. McCarthy led all rushers with 73 yards on 15 attempts. Rodgers had the best day receiving, with 2 receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown.

New Haven returns to DellaCamera Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 14th, against the 2-2 Stonehill Skyhawks.