Chargers Drop Thriller to LIU Post


Photo Courtesy of Charger Bulletin

The New Haven Chargers football team lost opening game Saturday (Sept. 9) to the #10 LIU Post Pioneers by a score of 35-34. The loss puts the Chargers at 1-1 on the year, and 0-1 in the NE10.  

After last week’s strong victory against Shaw, New Haven knew the game would be tough, but within reach. LIU Post came into the week following a 42-13 win over Virginia Union. That win propelled them from being ranked #14 to #10 in the NCAA. 

The game began on sunny DellaCamera Stadium with a Danny Stock kickoff to the Pioneers, who returned the ball to the LIU 49- yard line. Long Island’s special teams, especially their kick return team, stymied the Big Blue for the first half. A swift three-and-out for LIU Post and New Haven took over with scoring on their mind.  

The drive began with quarterback Ajee Patterson’s pass to receiver Damon Rodgers for a 7- yard gain, and was followed by an 11- yard rush from Ryan McCarthy. The quick first down established the Chargers’ attack as formidable, and they didn’t hesitate to move down the field. The drive was highlighted by a 25- yard gain from Patterson to receiver Devin Martin down to LIU’s 17, a 25- yard field goal from Stock, and the Chargers led 3-0. The lead would not last. 

The Pioneers took over on their own 35- yard line, following their third good kick return. The Pioneer drive was a balanced mix of pass and run, and after a 12 plays and five and a half minutes they were on top 7-3. Following this, no scores were added in the first quarter.  

In their first drive of the next quarter, New Haven was on the move again. A quick drive highlighted by a 29- yard pass from Patterson to McCarthy resulted in a 10-7 Charger lead. A quick three-and-out by Post gave the Chargers the ball back, and their return to the gold turf was imminent. A 57- yard touchdown strike from Patterson to Rodgers pushed New Haven further, and the Stock point-after made the score 17-7. Two drives later, LIU put together another long drive this time 11 plays and 5:46 off the clock. After their touchdown, the score was 17-14 Chargers. Before the end of the half, Stock kicked to give New Haven the 20-14 lead and it was true blue.  

After the Chargers Marching Band’s halftime show, the Chargers team took back the blue turf. Patterson hit receiver Justin White twice on the drive, first for 18 yards then for 28 setting up a Patterson dash into the end zone, and a strong 27-14 lead. Things couldn’t be more in the Chargers’ favor.  

The Pioneers hopes were unabashed, and again found their way into the end zone after 15 plays and 5:48. The score was 27-21. Their long drives were exhausting the New Haven defense, who had played tough, led by defensive back Miles Pease and linebacker Kevin Robinson who both had 9 tackles each.  Going into the fourth quarter, the Chargers needed to fend off the attacks of LIU.  

In Long Island’s next drive, they decided to attack with tempo. A 5- play drive that ate up less than two minutes gave them the 28-27 lead. Charger Nation was shocked, as their 27-14 lead had dissolved. The Chargers weren’t going to go down without a fight. The following drive gave the spotlight to White again, who had a 23- yard reception leading to a touchdown reception later in the drive. 34-27 Chargers. 

As the shootout continued, Post did their part to stay in the game. A 13- play drive resulted in them taking the lead 35-34. New Haven took over, and looked to finish the game with the win. A balanced rushing attack of McCarthy and Greg Orekoya, paired with the passing excellence of Patterson, set up New Haven at LIU’s 9- yard line. With 2 seconds to go, Stock lined up to nail the 27- yard field goal cement the Chargers’ 2-0 start and upset #10 LIU Post. His kick went wide left, and New Haven lost the barnburner 35-34.  

Chargers football resumes this weekend at Saint Anselm, and returns to DellaCamera Sept. 23 versus Pace University.