No. 12/13 Chargers Hold On to 24-21 Victory at St. Augustine’s

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DURHAM, N.C. – The nationally ranked No. 12/13 University of New Haven football team defeated Saint Augustine’s University 24-21 Saturday night at the Durham County Stadium. The Chargers were led by quarterback Ronnie Nelson (Stuart, Fla./South Fork ) with 150 passing yards and three total touchdowns. With the win, UNH improved to 2-0 on the season, while the Falcons dropped to 1-1 overall.

A rain-soaked forecast held true Saturday night as warm-up periods were interrupted by a fast moving thunderstorm which rolled through Durham. The Chargers opened the game on offense, but an early throw by Ryan Osiecki (Seymour, Conn./Seymour / Univ. of Louisville) was intercepted by the Falcons and Saint Augustine’s gain early possession at the UNH 37-yard line. The Chargers’ defense held strong, allowing just six yards and a three-and-out by the Falcons.

Pinned deep inside their own territory, the Chargers were forced to punt on back-to-back possessions and the Falcons would mount the game’s first scoring drive. From its own 37-yard line, Saint Augustine’s took a drive 63-yard on 10 plays and scored off a nine-yard pass from Teddy Bacote to Brian Richards with 1:51 left in the first quarter. Demetrius Washington-Ellison (Rahway, N.J./Rahway / Univ. of Maine) fumbled the ensuing kickoff return for New Haven and the Falcons recovered at the UNH 19-yard line. The Charger defense once again played tough with the ball inside their own territory and forced the Falcons into fourth-and-24 as time expired in the first quarter. The Falcons eventually turned the ball over on downs and New Haven took over at its own 45-yard line.

On the first play of the second quarter, Saint Augustine’s was called for a roughing the passer penalty to move the ball inside SAU territory. Before the next play, thunder and lightning approached the stadium and the game was halted for 30 minutes. New Haven used the down time to regroup and rallied with a six-play drive going 55 yards for a game-tying touchdown. Nelson led the way with 15 rushing yards and a pair of passes for 23 yards. The drive was capped by a five-yard touchdown pass and catch from Nelson to Kameel Lashley (Boston, Mass./Boston Comm. Leadership Academy) with 12:58 left in the second quarter.

The teams exchanged turnovers and punts until the Chargers took possession of the ball with 4:11 left in the first half. New Haven took the ball 49 yards to the Saint Augustine’s three-yard line. With .02 seconds left in the first half, Chris Scifo (Coral Springs, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas / Central Connecticut State University) stepped onto the field and split the uprights to give UNH its first lead of the game as time expired on the first half.

With the first possession of the second half, Saint Augustine’s lost two yards on three plays and were forced into a punting situation. With 12:38 left in the third quarter, the Chargers began their first drive of the second half. Over the next four minutes, New Haven went 61-yards on six plays and increased its lead to 10 with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Nelson to Jason Thompson (Indiantown, Fla./South Fork ). The Falcons then took over with 8:29 left in the third quarter, trailing 17-7.

Saint Augustine’s answered with a 12-play, 75-yard, touchdown drive that took up 6:30 of the third quarter. A five-yard touchdown run by Roder Davenport cut the Chargers’ lead back to just three points with just under two minutes left in the third quarter. New Haven held possession into the fourth quarter. The five-minute drive, which started at the New Haven seven-yard line, would eventually come to a conclusion at the SAU 48-yard line. Another Anthony Greenfield (Bloomfield, N.J./Paramus Catholic / Wagner) punt from the Chargers and the Falcons started from their own 10-yard line.

The clock had 11:51 left in the fourth quarter and the Falcons begin another drive from its own 10-yard line. Three plays later, on third-and-six, Tom Herd (Sparta, N.J./Sparta ) recovered a fumble by Bacote at the SAU 13-yard line to give New Haven the ball inside Falcon territory once again. The teams then exchanged personal foul penalties and UNH found itself in a first-and-goal from inside the five-yard line. Nelson added to his day with a drive-capping five-yard touchdown rush with 9:50 left in the fourth quarter. A Chris Scifo (Coral Springs, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas / Central Connecticut State University) extra point and the Chargers led by 10 once again, 24-14.

In the closing minutes, Saint Augustine’s closed the gap back within three points by scoring off a turnover at the 3:53 mark of the fourth quarter. New Haven took over with just under four minutes remaining in the second half and chewed up over two and a half minutes during the final stretch. With 1:28 left on the clock, Greenfield pinned the Falcons inside the 10-yard line. Saint Augustine’s went across the middle of the field on third down and time was expiring for the Falcons as they rushed in a fourth-down play. An incompletion on fourth down sealed the victory for the Chargers, who came back onto the field for one last offensive play.

The Charger defense played very well, allowing just 207 total yards, including just 13 rushing yards in the win. UNH forced three turnovers and held the Falcons to 0-for-3 on fourth down conversions. Junior Matthew Fallico (Syracuse, N.Y./Fayetteville Manlius / Hudson Valley) paced the Chargers’ defense with eight total tackles, four tackles-for-loss and one interception. Richard Long (New Rochelle, N.Y./New Rochelle / Iona College) added seven total tackles and two tackles for loss.

Offensively, Nelson added nine yards and one touchdown on 11 carries, while Thompson caught five balls for 72 yards and one touchdown. Washington-Ellison added fourth catches for 55 yards in the win, while Victor Jones (Paterson, N.J./Passaic County Tech) led the team with 31 rushing yards off eight carries.

New Haven returns to action on Saturday, September 15 at Pace University. Game time in Pleasantville, N.Y. is set for 1 p.m. For complete coverage leading up to the game, stay posted to throughout the week.


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No. 12/13 Chargers Hold On to 24-21 Victory at St. Augustine’s