Defense Leads the Way as Football Downs Saint Anselm 58-7
Manchester, N.H. – The Merrimack football team pushed their record to 3-1 (2-0 NE-10) with a dominating 58-7 victory on the road at Saint Anselm. The Warriors defense was a presence all afternoon as they caused four turnovers and recorded 8.5 tackles for a loss that totaled 33 yards.
The Warriors compiled a total of 649 yards of offense on the afternoon, the second most prolific offensive output in school history.
Merrimack started the afternoon out on defense with a solid stand as they forced a punt. On their first offensive drive James Suozzo (Everett, Mass.) led the Warriors down the field with a nice 22 yard completion to Omari Mobley (Hanover, Pa.). Jimon Hill (N. Chicago, Ill.) capped off the opening drive with a seven yard touchdown run to put the Warriors up 7-0 with 9:50 remaining in the opening frame.
Saint Anselm's second drive of the day was stopped quickly as senior defensive end Tony Johnson (Lynn, Mass.) sacked Mike Pierce for a seven yard loss on fourth down. Merrimack's offense picked up where they left off after the turnover on downs and drove down the field for another Hill rushing touchdown for the 14-0 lead.
The Warriors defense yet again held Saint Anselm to a punt which was returned by Isaiah Voegeli (Hyannis, Mass.) for 52 yards down to the 10 yard line. Merrimack couldn't take advantage of the good field position as Suozzo threw an interception at the Saint Anselm 4 yard line with 4:22 remaining in the first quarter.
On the ensuing drive senior cornerback Ian Weaver (Brooklyn, Conn.) recorded his second Interception of the young season off of a deflected pass on a fourth down play at the Merrimack 21 yard line and later added his third pick of the season. Suozzo started off the drive with a 25 yard run with numerous broken tackles. The drive ended after a 32 yard jolt by Hill for his third touchdown of the first half.
The Hawks responded quickly as Craig Dennis hauled in a 24 yard reception down to the Merrimack two yard line. On the very next snap Pierce fumbled the snap and Artis Holt (Baltimore, Md.) pounced on the free ball at Merrimack's 17. The Warriors offense stalled at midfield and junior punter Justin Marsan (Methuen, Mass.) pinned the Hawks at their own one yard line. The Merrimack defense recorded a safety as the snap was fumbled out the back of the endzone.
The lead was extended to 30-0 on a five yard scoring plunge by Suozzo after an interception by Holt. Saint Anselm responded quickly with a 64 yard touchdown reception by Eric Feehan to make the score 30-7.
Hill finished the first half 135 yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns. Shawn Loiseau (Shrewsbury, Mass.) recorded a game-high eight tackles in the first half for the Warriors.
Saint Anselm started off the second half with an onside kick which was recovered by the Warriors at the Hawks 40 yard line. Suozzo ended the drive yet again with a two yard scoring run to push the lead to 37-7.
The Warriors defense stood strong in their own end as they forced a 38 yard field goal attempt that was blocked by Jesse Fowler (Lynn, Mass.). On the following play Voegeli went up in a crowd and snatched a 38 yard reception which led to a six yard rushing touchdown by freshman Anthony Dicarlo (Glendale, AZ).
With 9:45 remaining in the final quarter junior Joe Clancy (Newburyport, Mass.) completed a perfectly thrown ball to Voegeli for a 40 yard touchdown which pushed the lead to 51-7 for the Warriors. Casey Koperniak (Adams, Mass.) added his first career rushing touchdown to seal the deal for the Warriors who went on to the 58-7 victory.
James Suozzo finished the game with 164 passing yards, 131 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. Jimon Hill finished the game with 162 yards on the ground on 29 carries and three touchdowns. Isaiah Voegeli continued his hot start with seven receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown. Defensively the Warriors were given a strong performance by their Preseason All-American linebacker Shawn Loiseau who finished the game with a team-high 15 tackles. Tony Johnson finshed the contest with six tackles and two sack.
"We performed strongly in all aspects of our game this afternoon," said Head Coach John Perry. "Jimon Hill really stepped up in the first half and propelled our team to the quick start that we needed."