WEST HAVEN, Conn. – The Elm City Trophy will remain in West Haven! The University of New Haven football team was firing on all cylinders gathering 400 yards on offense and forcing three turnovers en route to a 37-18 victory over the crosstown rival Southern Connecticut State University. The victory for New Haven is the ninth straight season the Chargers have retained the Elm City Trophy and the 10th straight win over their rival.
Overall, New Haven finished with a season-high 202 yards on the ground while gaining 198 yards in the air. Leading the Blue and Gold overall was the Connecticut National Guard Player of the Game Ju'an Williams (Springfield, Mass./Springfield Central) who finished with a season-high two touchdowns on three catches for a total of 90 yards. Also hauling in a score on the day wasDamon Rodgers (Charlotte, N.C./Cheshire Academy) who finished with four catches for 35 yards.
Redshirt-senior quarterback Ajee Patterson (Neptune, N.J./Neptune) closed out the afternoon connecting on 15-of-23 pass attempts, a 65-percent completion average. He collected 193 yards on the day while transfer quarterback Nick Robins (Nephi, Utah/Juab) completed his first and only attempt in a Blue and Gold uniform for five yards and a crucial first down. Patterson's three touchdown passes matches his season high.
On the ground, junior Ryan McCarthy (Montclair, N.J./Bergen Catholic) had the biggest haul of the day, finishing with 96 yards on six attempts, including the longest play from scrimmage in more than three years as he sprinted 79 yards for the first touchdown of the afternoon for New Haven. McCarthy's score completed a drive that lasted just 14 seconds, the fastest drive of the season for the Chargers.
Six different New Haven players took attempts in the running game with sophomores Nyshere Woodson and Zach Mauro (Woodbury, Conn./Nonnewaug) following McCarthy with 37 and 30 yards, respectively.
Defensively, New Haven was led by cornerback Shawn Tafe (Bronx, N.Y./Fort Hamilton) who finished with 10 tackles while senior linebacker Jordan Francklin (Queens, N.Y./Holy Cross) continued his hot start to the season with nine tackles, including one for loss. Sophomore Mcprecia Remy (Brooklyn, N.Y./Millwood) and Miles Pease(Sicklerville, N.J./Saint Joseph / Milford Academy) get the credit for a pair of turnovers against the Owls with Remy recovering a fumble on the Owls second drive of the second quarter and Pease hauling in his first interception of the season. Remy also finished the day with eight tackles.
New Haven's special teams also recorded a fumble on a second half kickoff which was pounced on by the Chargers place kicker Francis Palmer (Brewster, N.Y./Trinity-Pawling), the first fumble recovery of his career.
FIRST QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS
After a quick three and out in its opening drive, the Chargers quickly answered the first points of the day by Southern Connecticut when McCarthy used just one play to drive 79 yards single-handedly for his longest career touchdown. McCarthy's 79 yard run is the longest play from scrimmage since Andre Anderson completed a pair over 70 yards against Slippery Rock on September 5, 2015.
Including its opening drive, the Chargers held possession for just 1:53 in the opening quarter, but still held a 7-3 lead at the first intermission.
SECOND QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS
After allowing a touchdown by the Owls to open the half, the Chargers defense would come up clutch after another three-and-out gave Southern Connecticut its second possession of the quarter. After the Owls marched 39 yards and had a second-and-goal opportunity, Remy came out of a scrum at the goal line as Eli Parks rushed straight up the middle and was stripped at the goal line. Remy collected the fumble and ran out of the end zone to the five yard line putting the ball back in the hands of Patterson.
That fumble led to a 10-play, 95-yard drive for the Chargers as they took a 14-10 lead, from which point they would hold the Owls scoreless until just under the eight minute mark in the fourth quarter. Patterson was unstoppable in the Blue and Gold's second scoring drive as he completed seven passes for 52 yards while McCarthy opened up the drive looking like he was going to go the distance again, picking up 10 yards and a quick first down.
The defense struck again on the Owls next drive when Pease picked off a Matt Sanzaro pass at midfield and returned it four yards to set up another scoring drive for the Chargers. This time around, New Haven would put three more points on the board before the halftime break with sophomore Michael Stalenyj (Piscataway, N.J./Piscataway) drilling his first of three field goals from 27 yards away. That kick, which came as time expired in the half, completed a seven play, 36-yard drive that took just 53 seconds.
THIRD QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS
After Southern Connecticut elected to receive the ball to open the game in the first quarter, the Chargers took advantage by scoring their third touchdown of the day on the opening drive in the second half. The 12-play, 81 yard drive took nearly seven minutes off the clock as Patterson, despite taking a hit, completed four passes, the most important of which was an over the shoulder catch by Williams that he returned 30 yards to the house.
Defensively, New Haven held the Owls to just 4:09 of possession and 11 yards gained in a pair of drives. After forcing a Punt on the first Southern Connecticut drive, the Chargers struck again on first down as Patterson connected with Williams yet again, this time from 36 yards out to complete a drive that lasted just 12 seconds.
After forcing another three and out defensively, the Chargers would net another three points as Stalenyj drilled a 30 yard field goal for his second of the day. Despite that field goal, the New Haven offense wasn't going to get much rest as the Chargers forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff as the kicker, Palmer, pounced on the fumble to set New Haven up at the Southern 30 yard line for a drive that would continue into the fourth quarter.
FOURTH QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS
New Haven's kicker would come through yet again, netting the final three points of the day for the Blue and Gold as he completed the drive, which started in the third quarter, with a 26-yard field goal to give the Chargers a 37-10 lead.
The Owls would answer with their second touchdown of the afternoon on a 75-yard drive and after converting the two-point attempt, New Haven took over with 7:44 remaining. That drive would last the remainder of the contest as the Chargers struck to their ground attack while the Owls were unable to force a stop and New Haven ran out the clock.
New Haven will make its first appearance at the newly renovated Merrimack Stadium when they travel to North Andover next weekend. Merrimack enters week three of the season in search of their first victory of the year, while the Chargers will look for revenge against the Warriors after dropping the regular season finale (21-31) in 2017 on their home turf at DellaCamera Stadium.