Football Continues NE10 Play Saturday at Merrimack Under the Lights
Game Details: September 22 | 6:00 p.m. Location: Merrimack Stadium | North Andover, Mass. Game Links: Watch Live | Live Stats Twitter: @UNHChargers | @NewHavenNation New Haven Links: News | Roster | Schedule | Stats | Game Notes (PDF) Merrimack Links: News | Roster | Schedule | Stats
THE FIRST LOOK New Haven will make its first appearance at the newly renovated Merrimack Stadium as they meet the Warriors for their lone game under the lights in 2018. New Haven looks to avenge a season-ending loss (21-31) to Merrimack last year while remaining undefeated in NE10 play, while the Warriors search for its second straight win and its third win over the Chargers in the last four meetings.
INSIDE THE SERIES
New Haven and Merrimack meet for the 10th time in the history of the two programs, which dates back to the Chargers first year in the NE10, 2009.
The Chargers hold a 6-3 record in the previous nine meetings, including a streak of five-straight wins ranging from 2010-2014.
In that streak of five-straight wins, the Chargers scored 40 or more points in four of the five games.
In most recent memory, the Warriors have won two of last three match-ups, however both of those victories came at DellaCamera Stadium, while New Haven has won the only meeting in North Andover in that stretch.
A WIN OVER MERRIMACK WOULD...
extend New Haven's current streak to three straight, all since opening NE10 play.
be the fourth straight victory over Merrimack on the Warriors home turf.
keep New Haven undefeated in NE10 play with two other teams currently unbeaten in the league; Assumption & LIU Post
be the 243rd overall victory in the 40-year history of Charger Football.
be the 213th victory since the Chargers began playing at the Division II level - first DII season was 1982.
GAME DAY FORECAST The forecast for Saturday's game at Merrimack Stadium is mostly sunny with a high temperature of 69o and a low temperature of 52o with a 10 percent chance of precipitation. Winds are slated to come from the north-northwest at 12 mph with a humidity level of 58%. Sunset on Saturday will be at 6:41 p.m.
NEXT ON TAP New Haven returns to DellaCamera Stadium for its second home game of the season, which also serves as Homecoming 2018, when they host the Bentley Falcons. With the Charger Huddle scheduled for the day prior and a number of Alumni events slated for Saturday, it is sure to be a busy weekend around North Campus. Kickoff against the Falcons is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.
SCOUTING THE CHARGERS With a number of key returners and a handful of transfers who will make an immediate impact, the outlook is strong for the Blue and Gold. For the second straight week, New Haven was on fire on all sides of the ball. From a four-touchdown afternoon to a trio of turnovers, including one from special teams and a three FG afternoon for rookie Michael Stalenyj (Piscataway, N.J./Piscataway), the Chargers cruised to a 37-18 victory over crosstown rival Southern Connecticut last time out. Through the first three games, the Chargers have some impressive numbers to showcase, including wide receiver Ju'an Williams (Springfield, Mass./Springfield Central) who ranks fourth in the nation in receiving yards per game with 401 total. He is also fifth in receiving yards per game (133.7) and ninth in receptions per game (7.7). Additionally quarterback Ajee Patterson (Neptune, N.J./Neptune)is among the top QB's in the nation, currently ninth in passing touchdowns (8) and 18th in passing yards (822). Defensively, returners Jordan Francklin (Queens, N.Y./Holy Cross), Miles Pease (Sicklerville, N.J./Saint Joseph / Milford Academy), CJ Fitzpatrick and Scott Lavelle (West Milford, N.J./DePaul Catholic) have all had impressive showings out of the gates. All combined, the New Haven defense has forced its opponents into seven turnovers, four fumbles and three interceptions. Two of the three interception have been returned for 43 yards or more. Included in the two interceptions was the first pick six for the Blue and Gold in two seasons when Josiah Shumaker (Ledyard, Conn./Ledyard) returned his first interception of the season 62 yards to the house.
SCOUTING THE WARRIORS After a pair of season opening losses to teams receiving votes in the AFCA national poll, the Warriors finally got one in the win column when they defeated Bentley 35-30 on Saturday afternoon. Saturday's game against the Chargers will be the second home game of the year for Merrimack, while it opens a stretch of two straight at Merrimack Stadium for the Warriors. Overall for the season, Merrimack has been outgained by more than 80 yards per game, including allowing their opponents to average 76 yards more in the running game. For the season, Christian Carter, the Warriors quarterback, leads three players who have all collected 145 or more yards rushing on the season. Carter has gained over 200 yards on the year but with 41 loss yards he currently leads the team with 173 yards. Among the three leaders, Matt Brehon has scored two of the Warriors four rushing touchdowns, while rushing for 145 yards on 27 attempts. In the air, Carter has a 54.5 percent completion average with 571 total yards, relying on nine different targets. Leading the receiving corps is Cody Demers with 236 yards on 23 catches and a pair of touchdowns. Defensively, Enrique McFarlane has been a force to deal with, leading the team with 23 tackles, including one for loss, while recovering a pair of fumbles, two QB hurries and a pass breakup.
HONOR ROLL Following the Chargers NE10 opening victory over Pace, a pair of players were honored by the league office on Monday when quarterback Ajee Patterson (Neptune, N.J./Neptune) was named Player of the Week and Jordan Francklin (Queens, N.Y./Holy Cross) was tabbed Defensive Player of the Week. The accolades are the first of the season for the Blue and Gold. Patterson amassed 305 yards and threw a pair of touchdown passes while running in for a third against the Setters. Overall for the game, Patterson completed 78.6 percent of his pass attempts and collected 16 yards on the ground. Francklin led New Haven's defense for the second-straight week when he collected 10 tackles, recovered a fumble and picked off a Dan Anarella pass returning it 43 yards to set up a New Haven scoring drive. For the season, Francklin leads the Chargers with 18 tackles, including 2.5 for loss.
HONOR ROLL PART TWO Following a 13 point game, the most points by a single Charger in the tenure of head coach Chris Pincince, New Haven's Michael Stalenyj (Piscataway, N.J./Piscataway) secure his first collegiate honor when he was tabbed the NE10 Special Teams Player of the Week. Stalenyj drilled his three field goal attempts straight down the middle from distances of 26, 27 and 30 yards, which is the longest of the season for the Blue and Gold. In addition, he finished a perfect 4-of-4 in point after attempts.
LAST TIME THEY MET The New Haven football dropped a 31-21 decision to Merrimack in its season finale. Leading the Chargers on the day was QB Ajee Patterson (Neptune, N.J./Neptune) who finished with 279 passing yards and was a part of all three New Haven touchdowns, throwing one and running in a pair. Joining him in leading the Chargers was WRDevin Martin (Staten Island, N.Y./Tottenville) who finished with seven catches for a career-high 183 yards, the first player to haul in 150 or more receiving yards since Jason Thompson compiled 160, also against Merrimack, on September 1, 2012. On the ground, the Blue and Gold was led by Ryan McCarthy (Montclair, N.J./Bergen Catholic) who finished with 46 yards on nine carries. Patterson's two rushing touchdowns came on 12 attempts. Defensively, New Haven was led by LB C.J. Fitzpatrick (Pearl River, N.Y./Saint Joseph Regional) who finished with nine tackles while defensive back Jordan Francklin (Queens, N.Y./Holy Cross) chipped in eight. Also among the defensive highlights was junior DL Markel Johnson (Jersey City, N.J./Lincoln) who picked off a Merrimack pass and returned it 17 yards, helping to set up the Chargers first touchdown.
LAST TIME OUT The Chargers firing on all cylinders gathering 400 yards on offense and forcing three turnovers en route to a 37-18 victory over crosstown rival Southern Connecticut. 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 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 was Damon Rodgers (Charlotte, N.C./Cheshire Academy)who finished with four catches for 35 yards. QB Ajee Patterson (Neptune, N.J./Neptune) closed out the afternoon connecting on 15-of-23 pass attempts, a 65-percent completion average. On the ground, Ryan McCarthy(Montclair, N.J./Bergen Catholic) had the biggest haul, 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. 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.
VERY WELL SEASONED Arguably the longest tenured Charger in program history, New Haven has the benefit of a quarterback who has started the last 35 games under center. Prior to taking over, He had the opportunity to learn from two great quarterbacks before he even entered the white lines. For his career, Patterson has completed nearly 60 percent of his attempts and stands second in program history in completions (611) and total yards (8,072). He has also thrown 59 touchdowns which enters the week third in Charger history. Patterson needs just 144 completions and 1,501 yards to take over the top spots in each category, while with 13 touchdowns he would move into second all-time.
RETURNING FOR MORE Graduate student tight end Jonathan Badyna (Brooklyn, N.Y./Xaverian) returns to complete his eligibility in 2018 after having his senior campaign cut very short when he suffered a season-ending injury in the opening game of the season. An NE10 Second Team honoree as a junior, Badyna Started all 33 games through the 2016 season. Including this year, Badyna has completed 41 catches for 311 yards and six touchdowns. At 6-3, 250 he also provides a big block in addition to a large O-Line.
LEADERSHIP IS EVERYTHING In a vote of all active football student-athletes, the Chargers named four Captains for the 2018 season, three of which return to that role for a second-straight year. Ajee Patterson (Neptune, N.J./Neptune) and Jonathan Badyna (Brooklyn, N.Y./Xaverian) will represent the offense while Miles Pease (Sicklerville, N.J./Saint Joseph / Milford Academy) and Mark Clements (Mays Landing, N.J./Oakcrest / Worcester Academy) make up the two defensive members of the leadership corps. Clements is the lone new face among the captains after taking the 2016 season away from the Blue and Gold turf.
MR. POPULARITY With a host of connections to the NFL, junior wide receiver Damon Rodgers (Charlotte, N.C./Cheshire Academy)brings another level of attention to the Blue and Gold. The majority of that attention comes in the form of Instagram where he has more than 318,000 followers. Rodgers came to New Haven with a pair of immediate family members who are currently in the NFL, while his cousin Jairus Byrd is a DB with the Carolina Panthers. His connections to the Panthers goes deeper as his father, Richard, coaches the Carolina defensive backs. Additionally, his brother, Richard, is a tight end with the Philadelphia Eagles after playing the last four seasons with Green Bay. Finally, Rodgers uncle, Gil, played 10 years and was a Pro Bowl cornerback with the San Diego Chargers and is currently an assistant coach with Illinois.
TRANSFERS The Chargers roster in 2018 includes eight newcomers who enter with a significant amount of experience as all come to West Haven from other institutions. Among those eight, three are expected to start the season opener, however all eight will play a significant role. Included among the transfers for 2018 is a graduate wide receiver who spent the last four years at NE10 foe American International, Ju'an Williams (Springfield, Mass./Springfield Central). Three other transfers also played in the NE10, all of which come across town from rival Southern Connecticut State. Included in that trio is Osaro Emersole who is the projected starter at left tackle. Additionally, two of the transfers come from Division I institutions with Francis Palmer (Brewster, N.Y./Trinity-Pawling) making the trip south on I-91 from Central Connecticut State University. With the loss of kicker/punter Danny Stock(North Massapequa, N.Y./Plainedge / Buffalo State) from last season, Palmer will make an immediate impact with his boot.
PINK GAME The Chargers will continue a long standing tradition of dedicating a game during the month of October to Breast Cancer Awareness. This season, the October 20 home game against Assumption will serve as the Pink Game with a host of special events on tap. Part of the festivities will include honoring survivors in attendance. Those who wish to participate will join the Band, Dance and Cheer team on the field for the pregame tunnel as well as be honored on the video board. For more information or to register as a survivor please contact Amanda Tomaselli in the Department of Athletics at 203-932-7362.
AND THE OSCAR GOES TO Among nine players who were named to All-Conference teams in 2017, the Chargers return four, all of which on the defensive side of the ball. A trio of returning honorees come from the NE10 All-Conference Second Team with linebackers Jordan Francklin (Queens, N.Y./Holy Cross) and Scott Lavelle (West Milford, N.J./DePaul Catholic) and lineman Christian Sullivan (Staten Island, N.Y./Tottenville) all earning the distinction. Combined, the trio accounted for 152 total tackles last season, including 24 tackles for loss. Among those 24 tackles for loss were 9.5 sacks as well. Despite suffering a season-ending injury midway through the year, linebacker Mcprecia Remy(Brooklyn, N.Y./Millwood) scored All-Rookie accolades last season. IN just four games, Remy collected 20 tackles, including two for loss, while also picking off a pair of passes and forcing a fumble.
FAMILIAR FACES ON THE SIDELINES They may not be between the white lines in 2018, but a pair of All-Americans, Zach Voytek and Eliot Leubner(Rochester, N.Y./Rush Henrietta), will return to the sidelines for the Blue and Gold as members of the coaching staff. Voytek, who returns to New Haven after participating in camp with the Buffalo Bills in the fall of 2017, will work with the Chargers tight ends. Leubner, who completed his eligibility last fall as a key piece of the o-line, will serve as the Director of Football Operations.
WHAT D2FOOTBALL.COM IS PREDICTING FOR WEEK 4 (Paul Falewicz) New Haven scored 30 straight points to defeat Southern Connecticut 38-17 last weekend. They used the arm ofAjee Patterson (Neptune, N.J./Neptune) once again to help propel them to their second win of the season. The Chargers will need more of their balanced attack on the offensive side of the ball and the defense will need to continue making plays. Merrimack rallied on the road to defeat Bentley 35-30. They scored 21 straight points to take the lead and then used a fumble recovery for a score to seal their first victory of the season. The Warriors will need to continue to pound the ball on the ground and control the clock. The defense will need to pressure the quarterback and cause some takeaways. New Haven is the hot team at the moment and will continue their winning ways. Prediction: New Haven 38, Merrimack 21
PRESEASON PROPS In a vote of head coaches, the New Haven football team was picked to finish fourth in the NE10 as announced by the league office. The Chargers, who finished 2017 with a 6-5 record under fourth year head coach Chris Pincince, totaled 57 points, six shy of the Bentley Falcons who were picked to finish third. Assumption and LIU Post who finished 2017 first and second in the standings were picked to finish in the same order garnering 77 and 76 points, respectively. The Greyhounds garnered six of the 10 possible first place votes with LIU Post earning the remaining four.
2018 Northeast-10 Football Coaches' Poll 1. Assumption – 77 (6) 2. LIU Post – 75 (4) 3. Bentley – 63 4. New Haven – 57 5. Southern Conn. – 44 6. Merrimack – 40 7. Stonehill – 36 8. Pace – 24 9. American Int'l – 20 10. Saint Anselm – 13 (#) indicates first-place votes