Football makes statement with 38-7 win over Pace


Photo courtesy of Charger Bulletin/Tyler Rodriguez.

New Haven’s Damon Burton Jr. celebrates a third down stop against Pace, West Haven, Oct. 8, 2022.

Returning to Ralph F. DellaCamera Stadium for the first time in two weeks, the New Haven football team wasted little time energizing the home crowd on Saturday. They jumped all over visiting Pace University, playing a well-rounded game to take home a 38-7 victory and remain undefeated in conference.

Running back Christopher Ais, the reigning Northeast-10 (NE-10) Player of the Week, made his presence felt again on the first drive of the game, breaking off a 40-yard touchdown run to give New Haven a 7-0 lead. After a three-and-out from Pace, the Chargers connected for another touchdown, this time when quarterback Connor Degenhardt found wide receiver Zhyaire Fernandes for the 13-yard touchdown reception.

With the score at 14-0, the two sides got nothing going on offense as the second quarter began. It was now the defense’s turn to step up, as linebacker Chisom Okoro forced a fumble deep in New Haven’s own territory. It was scooped up by safety David Onyemem, who returned the ball 71 yards to Pace’s 3-yard line.

Degenhardt then took over, finding tight end Dante DeLorenzo wide open in the flat for a two-yard touchdown. With a 21-0 lead, the Chargers looked to fully pull away from the Setters.

The score would stay this way through the first half, with Pace opening up the third quarter looking to chip away at the lead. They embarked on a threatening drive, nearing the New Haven red zone before defensive back Devonte Myles intercepted a pass at the New Haven six-yard line. Once again, the New Haven defense came up with the stop to keep the shutout intact.

On the ensuing drive, Degenhardt took to the air and picked apart the Pace defense. He connected with tight end Kevin Foelsch for a 23-yard reception, then with WR Chris Carlyle for a 22-yard catch in the end zone, stretching their lead to 28.

With the big lead, New Haven took to the ground the rest of the game, winding down the clock and limiting the Pace offense. New Haven RB Hunter Cobb, who has quietly put up solid games on the ground in recent weeks, continued to show his value in the ground and pound game.

With the game clock winding down, Cobb rushed for a 20-yard touchdown to give the Chargers a dominant 35-0 lead with just over five minutes left.

On the next drive, Pace would find the end zone for their first score, ending the shutout and game’s scoring. When the buzzer sounded, New Haven walked away with a standout 35-7 win, controlling the game in all 60 minutes.

Offensively, Degenhardt finished 12-17 on completions with 159 yards and three touchdowns. Cobb led the team in rushing with 59 yards and a touchdown, while Ais tallied 54 yards and a touchdown of his own. WR Dev Holmes led in receiving yards with 56, while Carlyle finished with 36 yards of his own.

On defense, Onyemem led the team with eight tackles and a fumble recovery. LB Joseph Vitale added 6 tackles of his own, while DB Kyhon Fitzpatrick and LB Damon Burton Jr. both registered five.

With the win, New Haven improves to 5-1 (4-0 NE-10) and captures their fifth win in a row. Meanwhile, Pace drops to 3-3 (1-2 NE-10) with the loss.

The Chargers return to the field next Saturday when they host Post University in an out-of-conference matchup. Kickoff is slated to begin at 1 p.m., and more information can be found at