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Football Loses Final Game of Season

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Photo Courtesy of Charger Athletics

Photo Courtesy of Charger Athletics

Photo Courtesy of Charger Athletics

Kenny Sorrentino, Staff Writer

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The New Haven Chargers football team capped off their season on Saturday, Nov. 11 with a 31-21 loss to the Merrimack Warriors. They finished the 2017 season with a 6-4 record, going 5-4 in the NE-10.

It was football weather in New Haven. A clear, 20° day set the scene for the blue and gold’s regular season finale. With fall’s leaves blustering in the wind, the Chargers stepped onto the blue turf of DellaCamera Stadium for a battle.

Merrimack received the ball on the kickoff, and did nothing with it. On the New Haven drive, the Chargers did the same. Quarterback Ajee Patterson passed downfield to receiver Damon Rodgers to no avail on third down, and New Haven punted.

On the Warriors’ next drive, they drove. Pinned at their own 10- yard line, Merrimack moved ahead steadily. On a crazy play from their own 34, a pass was completed for 35 yards, but then was fumbled away. The fumble was forced by New Haven’s Stefano Bicknese, but recovered with a runback by Merrimack. The officiating crew called a pass interference against the Chargers on the play as well. The result of the play was Merrimack ball, on the New Haven 21- yard line. They would get as far as the 4- yard line, but with a strong defensive stand from Bicknese and Miles Pease, a missed field goal was all that came of the drive.

On the next drive, Patterson fumbled on the second down, giving the ball back to Merrimack, again at the 21- yard line. They would not fail this time, and rushed for a touchdown to give them a 7-0 lead.  

New Haven moved on their next drive with huge help from running back Ryan McCarthy. McCarthy had 48 yards of the drive on a 32-yard rush and 16-yard completion from Patterson. The drive resulted in a missed Danny Stock field goal.

In the second quarter, a New Haven drive resulted in a punt, but a roughing the kicker penalty kept the Charger drive alive. A 38-yard pass from Patterson to receiver Devin Martin set up New Haven nicely at the 5- yard line, and Patterson ended up taking it in himself to tie the game.

Merrimack would go on to take a 14-7 lead before the half. In the second half, the Chargers received the ball. Like lightning, two passes from Patterson, first to Martin for 28, and then to receiver Justin White for 21 and the score, tied the game.

The Warriors’ response? A field goal, taking back the lead, 17-14. A later New Haven drive changed that, with Patterson passes to Martin for 33, and to Rodgers for 26 and a touchdown. The Chargers took the lead, 21-17.

In the fourth quarter, New Haven ran out of gas. A quick Merrimack touchdown gave them a 24-21 lead. The next New Haven drive was a three-and-out. The drive after that was fumbled away, leading to Merrimack’s final touchdown of the afternoon, 31-21.

Patterson’s day ended going 16/30 with 279 yards and one passing touchdown, and rushing for 20 yards and two touchdowns. Leading rushers on the day was McCarthy, with 46 yards on 9 attempts. A career high day for Martin, who had 183 yards on seven receptions. CJ Fitzpatrick led the Chargers with no tackles, followed by Jordan Francklin, Scott Lavelle, and Christian Sullivan with eight.

New Haven’s journey ends temporarily here, but they’ll be back in 2018 stronger, faster, and more charged up than ever before.

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Football Loses Final Game of Season