NORTH ANDOVER, MA – Under the tutelage of fifth-year head coach John Perry, the Merrimack football team will kick off their 2012 schedule with a huge conference matchup with defending Northeast-10 Conference champions, New Haven on September 1 at 1 p.m.
"We are excited to get back out there," said Perry. "The New Haven game will be a true challenge for us to start the season but we are very confident heading into the start of the season."
The Warriors will return home for three straight home games against division III Rowan and conference foes, American International and Southern Connecticut State.
Three of the next four for the Warriors will be on the road as they will travel to Pace, Stonehill and Bentley and will host Saint Anselm. The regular season will wrap up on November 3 for Merrimack as they will host the Assumption Greyhounds.
Merrimack finished the 2011 season with a 6-4 overall record and a 5-3 conference mark.
The high-powered Merrimack offense will be led by three seniors, quarterback Joe Clancy (Newburyport, Mass.), running back Jimon Hill (North Chicago, Ill.) and wide receiver Isaiah Voegeli (Hyannis, Mass.). Last season the Warriors garnered the best offense in the conference averaging 474.6 yards and 39.7 points per contest.
Clancy is taking over the starting quarterback spot from former NE-10 Player of the Year, James Suozzo. Clancy appeared in all ten games last season while throwing for 781 yards and seven touchdowns. Hill will be relied on heavily in the running game as he was the Warriors leading rusher in 2011 after compiling 858 yards and nine scores.
Voegeli returns to the Warriors after a huge junior season that earned him first team All-Region accolades. The Hyannis, Mass. native led the conference in receiving yards and touchdowns with 1,251 and 14 respectively.
"Offensively we return a great core of guys that can get the job done for us at a high level," Perry stated. "We are looking forward to Isaiah Voegeli and Jimon Hill improving on their big numbers from last season."
Defensively the Warriors lose two of the best defensive players in school history with the departures of Shawn Loiseau and Tony Johnson but the Warriors return a solid core of starters from last year's team. Michael Wiggins (Dolton, Ill.) will look to build on his numbers from his junior season of 66 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks. Fellow first team All-Conference member Artis Holt (Baltimore, MD) returns to a secondary that caused 13 interceptions last season.
"Our goal for this season is to improve on our record from last season and make a run at the conference championship," stated Perry. "I feel like we have the pieces here to make our championship goals a reality."
This is the eighth in a series of Merrimack team schedule releases. Check back regularly at www.merrimackathletics.com to view upcoming team previews and schedule releases.
August 6: Cross Country
August 7: Women's Golf
August 8: Women's Crew
August 9: Volleyball
August 10: Men's Soccer
August 13: Women's Soccer
August 14: Field Hockey
August 15: Football
August 16: Tennis