UNH Chargers Beat Stonehill Skyhawks 23-16

Michael Barone

The much anticipated “Blueout” reached the newly dedicated Ralph F. DellaCamera Stadium Saturday Sept. 26, as the New Haven Chargers hosted the Stonehill College Skyhawks. After opening the season with an impressive victory at Lincoln University, New Haven saw their record drop to 1-2 with loses against Assumption College and Bentley University. The homecoming crowd of approximately 3,500 was at full throat from the games onset.

The Chargers won the coin toss and opened the game scoring on that drive with a 35-yard field goal from kicker Michael Herrera. The Skyhawks responded quickly on their next two possessions, picking up a field goal and a touchdown, resulting in a 10-3 Stonehill lead. With one minute remaining in the first half, New Haven began their final drive from the Stonehill 35 yard line. QB Ryan Osiecki threw the ball on five consecutive plays, hitting WR Jason Thompson for a 5-yard touchdown with four seconds remaining in the half. The extra point was blocked by Stonehill, leaving UNH down by a point heading into the locker rooms.

Opening the second half, the Chargers defense was strong, keeping Stonehill from scoring throughout the third quarter. The New Haven offense had two drives stall to begin the second half; however the third drive yielded different results. Osiecki was able to connect on a 38-yard pass to WR Chris Ruffin, taking the Charger offense into Stonehill territory. The pivotal play of the drive was a successful fourth down conversion pass from Osiecki to TE Zach Vonder Linden. RB Victor Jones would pound in a 1-yard touchdown run four plays later, once again giving New Haven a five point lead. The Chargers failed on a two point conversion attempt leaving the score at 15-10 heading to the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter opened to four punts, two for each team, before either one found the end zone. The Skyhawks broke the stalemate when a fourth and goal attempt from the New Haven four yard line connected, giving Stonehill a 16-15 lead. However, New Haven was determined; as head coach Peter Rossomando put it, “they fought their tails off and never gave up out there.”

The Chargers began their final possession at the 30 yard line, needing at least a field goal to win the game. Osiecki was calm under pressure all afternoon, never more so than on the game’s final drive, and converted on two fourth downs. The play of the day came with 21 seconds left in the game on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Osiecki to WR Sharieff Hall, who said of the play, “It took forever to come down to me, but when it did…it was perfect.”

The Chargers extended their lead from 21-16 to 23-16 on a successful two point attempt. The New Haven defense sealed up the victory, swatting down two consecutive hail mary passes as time expired. Ryan Osiecki characterized the win as being “good for morale, especially because it happened in comeback fashion.” The win improves the Chargers record to 2-2 on the season, and they will travel across town to take on the Southern Connecticut Owls on Friday night.