WARRIORS PICK UP HUGE ROAD WIN AT ASSUMPTION, 31-21, SATURDAY AFTERNOON
Links: Box Score
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – In a back-and-forth, action-packed battle pitting one of the nation's top offensive units against one of the league's best defenses, the Merrimack College football team never trailed from start to finish and used back-to-back scoring drives early in the fourth quarter to put the game away, as the Warriors posted an impressive 31-21 road victory over Assumption on Saturday afternoon at the Multi-Sport Stadium in Worcester, Mass.
Score: Merrimack 31, Assumption 21
Records: Merrimack (6-3, 5-3 NE-10) | Assumption (5-4, 5-3 NE-10)
Location: Multi-Sport Stadium | Worcester, Mass.
How It Happened
Compiling what turned out to be one of its complete efforts on both sides of the ball in 2013, Merrimack sprinted out to an early 10-0 lead with 8:45 to go in the second quarter before running into a bit of bad luck on a blocked field goal that resulted in Assumption's first touchdown of the game to close out the first half with the Warriors on top, 10-7.
The visitors were not deterred by the bad break and picked up right where it left off to begin the third quarter, with sophomore Armond McRae (Nashua, N.H.) rounded out a three-play, 41-yard drive with a 16-yard touchdown catch from senior Joe Clancy (Newburyport, Mass.) that pushed the Navy and Gold ahead, 17-7, with 8:16 to go in the third frame.
Assumption would respond with the only touchdown scored by its offense on the next drive of the game, as the Greyhounds marched 65 yards over 14 plays and capped it off with a one-yard run from Matt Heriveaux to bring the Greyhounds to within three (17-14).
But the Warriors came right back with their own long drive, as Clancy connected with classmate Shane Ferguson (Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.), in the early moments of the fourth quarter to boost the visitors ahead by 10 once again.
Then came the defense's biggest stop of the day, forcing the Greyhounds to punt after a three-and-out, setting up another Warrior scoring drive in the process. Clancy capped an eight-play, 59-yard drive with a strike to junior Zach Ingalls (Westford, Mass.), giving Merrimack a 17-point lead that proved to be insurmountable.
From there on out, Merrimack's defense – which has been tremendous over the final few weeks – forced the Greyhounds to turn the ball over on downs, although Assumption did get one final touchdown on a 45-yard interception return, but that would it for the home side the rest of the way.
A Closer Look
- Clancy would connect with seven different receivers on the day, but none were more targeted than Ferguson, who hauled in 12 catches for 98 yards and the aforementioned TD; McRae (76), Ingalls (61), sophomores Jere Brown (58) and Frankie Dunn (40), freshman Justin Mount (18) and Greg Devine (7) all contributed to the Warrior offense on Saturday as well
- The rushing game was led by McRae, who averaged 3.7 yards per carry and finished with 84 total on the ground, ahead of senior Quinn McDonough (Medford, Mass.), who rushed just four times but was beastly on all attempts, averaging 9.0 yards per carry
- On defense, senior Jimmy Holland (Billerica, Mass.) led the way with eight tackles and had a say in one sack, along with junior Andrew Mele (Norfolk, Mass.), while senior Matt Tripicchio (Lake Zurich, Ill.) finished with a sack and a team-leading three tackles for losses totaling 13 yards
- Clancy, meanwhile, finished 33-for-52 and became the program's all-time leader in passing yards after totaling 358 on Saturday with four touchdowns and a pick; the senior now is first in the Merrimack record books – in just two seasons as a starter – with a program-best 746 completions, 83 touchdowns and 8,797 yards through 36 career games
- Junior Nick Zwaan (Longmeadow, Mass.) booted a 24-yard field goal, while freshman Jay White (Hopkinton, N.H.) averaged 39.0 yards on four punts, with a long of 45 on the day
The Warriors conclude the regular season against first-place Stonehill in their home finale next Saturday (Nov. 9) at home. At the conclusion of the contest, the team will honor its senior class as part of Senior Day. Kickoff from Martone-Mejail Field is set for 1 p.m.