NORTH ANDOVER, MA - Highlighted by two major Northeast-10 offensive award winners, the Merrimack football team set numerous school records on their way to a fifth place finish in the Conference. The Warriors also placed a school record nine players on the All-Conference squad for their performances in 2012.
The expectations of my staff and players is always that of a championship but it is hard not to be excited about all the many accomplishments of this team," stated head coach John Perry. "With the league MVP and Offensive Player of Year as well as the number one passing offense in the country it makes what many thought would be a rebuilding year for our program into a winning season, and its a great tribute to our players efforts."
The Warriors closed out their 2012 campaign with a 6-4 overall record and a 4-4 conference mark. The Warriors defeated Saint Anselm by the score of 62-26 in the Northeast-10 Conference Championship weekend to finish with a winning record for the second straight season.
Under the tutelage of fifth year head coach John Perry, the Warriors were once again the most prolific offense in the Northeast-10 Conference averaging 525.8 yards per game and scoring 41 points per contest. The Warriors broke multiple school records for a season including total yards of offense (5,258), total passing yards (3,992), total first downs (283) and total points (410).
Senior quarterback Joe Clancy (Newburyport, Mass.), the Northeast-10 Offensive Player of the Year, produced the best season in program history from the quarterback position as he finished the season breaking multiple program and Conference records. Clancy finished the year completing 323 of 510 passes for 3,945 yards and 31 touchdowns to go along with three rushing touchdowns. He broke the Conference record for completions with 323, attempts with 510 and passing yards with 3,945 this season while leading the nation in passing yards (394.5) and total yards (399.0) per game.
"I was proud to present Joe Clancy the New England player of the year award at the all New England banquet for all divisions," stated Perry. "I am proud of this senior class for setting a standard for Merrimack players in the future."
Regarded as the best wide receiver in school history, Isaiah Voegeli (Hyannis, Mass.) did not let anyone down this season as he was named the NE-10 Most Valuable Player after his record setting senior season. Voegeli finished the season with a NE-10 record 108 catches for 1,500 yards and 14 touchdown catches. His 1,500 yards was the second most in NE-10 history and he led the nation in receptions per game (10.9) and receiving yards per contest (150.0). For his Merrimack career, Voegeli holds almost every receiving record at Merrimack including career receptions (311) and receiving yards (3,554) while ranking second all-time with 34 touchdown catches.
The Warriors opened up their 2012 schedule with the defending Conference champions, New Haven. The Warriors jumped out to the quick 6-0 lead as Clancy connected with freshman Jere Brown (Freeport, NY) for the opening score of the game, but the Chargers took over in the second quarter, scoring 24 points to put the game out of reach. Merrimack fell to the Chargers by the score of 45-18.
Merrimack dominated the second half in their next contest against division III Rowan, scoring three straight touchdowns to start the third quarter to improve to 1-1 on the season.
Despite a record breaking day from Clancy against American International in week three, the Warriors were dropped by the score of 49-34, falling to 1-2 on the season and 0-2 in Conference play. Clancy set Conference records for completions (50), attempts (81) and passing yards (536) while the two offenses combined for the most total yards in Conference history (1,184). The Warriors also set a school record for total plays in a game with 106 plays against the Yellow Jackets.
The Warriors evened up their Conference record at 2-2 over the next two weeks as they downed Southern Connecticut at home and Pace on the road. In the Pace victory, Voegeli racked up a career-high 264 yards and three touchdowns in three quarters of play.
Merrimack went 1-2 through the month of October, diminishing their chances at the Northeast-10 Conference Championship game. The lone October win came against Saint Anselm as Clancy threw for a NE-10 record 553 yards and seven touchdowns while Voegeli finished with a NE-10 record 269 yards and four touchdowns.
Merrimack finished off strong as they won their final two games of the season by a combined score of 105-66 over Assumption and Saint Anselm.
The lethal Merrimack passing attack saw six receivers break the 275 yard receiving plateau on the season, a new school record. Leading the way was Voegeli with 1,500 yards, followed by fellow senior tight end Steve Serwon (Amesbury, Mass.) who closed out his Merrimack career with his best season, 55 catches for 520 yards and six touchdowns. Sophomore Zach Ingalls (Westford, Mass.) finished close behind with 37 catches for 461 yards and three touchdowns while Brown capped his All-Rookie season with 12 catches for 302 yards and five touchdowns, including the longest play in school history, a 91 yard touchdown reception, in the final game against Saint Anselm.
It was not only through the air that the Warriors performed at a high level this year as they had two running backs gain over 400 yards for the season. Senior Jimon Hill (North Chicago, Ill.) finished off his impressive Merrimack career with 579 rushing yards and six touchdowns while Quinn McDonough (Medford, Mass.) closed out his junior campaign with 438 yards and a career-high eight touchdowns.
Defensively it was team captain Artis Holt (Baltimore, Md.) who led the Warriors all season long. Holt finished the season leading the team with 61 tackles including four tackles for a loss while also grabbing two interceptions, recovering two fumbles and forcing another fumble. Holt also finished first in the conference with 18 pass breakups and 20 passes defended. Junior defensive end Matt Tripicchio (Lake Zurich, Ill.) had a monster season for the Warriors finishing with 57 total tackles and 18.0 tackles for a loss. Tripicchio led the team with 5.5 sacks and led the Conference with 11 quarterback hurries on the season. Jesse Fowler (Lynn, Mass.) closed out his four year Merrimack career with a team-high three interceptions including one he returned for a touchdown. Fowler also racked up 56 tackles to go along with a conference leading 20 passes defended and 17 pass breakups.
Ten Warriors found themselves on All-Conference squads following the season, most in program history. On the first team was Clancy, Voegeli, Holt and junior Michael Hubbard (Wakefield, Mass.). On the second team was seniors Zach Gilbert (Salem, Mass.), Justin Marsan (Methuen, Mass.), Hill and Tripicchio. Freshman Ruben Berger (Naugatuck, CT) and Brown were named to the All-Rookie squad.
"Our home record of 9-2 over the last two seasons shows how great it is to play at Merrimack college," said Perry. "We will look to make major strides towards a Championship in 2013."
When Merrimack opens spring practice, it will say goodbye to its very talented senior class but they will be looking to make major strides in 2013 with an experienced core of returning players.