Courtesy of Merrimack Athletics
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass.
- The Merrimack football team dropped its third straight game, falling to Southern Connecticut State University 49-32 on Senior Day at Warrior Field Saturday afternoon.
In the victory for the Owls, wide receiver Willie Epps finished with 254 receiving yards, a Southern Connecticut school record for yards in a game, while quarterback Kevin Lynch racked up 443 passing yards and six passing touchdowns, also program records.
“I thought our defense came out strong today but we struggled to put up points early,” said head coach John Perry. “Our offense moved the ball well late in the game but it was too late. I want to thank our seniors for their hard work and leadership to the Merrimack football program over the last four seasons.”
Trailing 7-0 early, the Warrior defense forced a pair of first quarter turnovers and evened the score after Tony Johnson (Lynn, MA) forced a Lynch fumble, and Shawn Loiseau (Shrewsbury, MA) returned it 50-yards for his first career touchdown.
Senior John O’Leary (Methuen, MA) also recovered a first quarter fumble, but the Warrior drive was abruptly stalled inside the five-yard line after a Merrimack fumble. Michael Jones (Chicago, IL) made it three forced turnovers for Merrimack’s defense as the sophomore recovered a fumble on the first play of the second quarter.
After a Matt Lucier (Edgartown, MA) punt pushed the Owls back to their own 1-yard line, Lynch found Epps on third down for a 97-yard touchdown reception, giving the visitors the 14-7 lead midway through the second. Minutes later, Lynch and Epps hooked up again, this time for a 47-yard touchdown reception, pushing the Owls’ lead to 21-7.
Lynch threw for 317 passing yards in the first half, with Epps picking up six receptions for 195 yards.
Isaiah Voegeli (Hyannis, MA) cut the lead to 21-14 as he hauled in a 57-yard touchdown reception from James Suozzo (Everett, MA) on 3rd-and-9 with 5:02 left in the half.
The Owls took a 28-14 lead into halftime after Rashaad Slowley ended the half with a three-yard touchdown run. After SCSU took a 35-14 lead to open the third, Joe Clancy (Newburyport, MA) hit Steve Serwon (Shrewsbury, MA) in the end zone from 12 yards out, but the extra point was blocked. But Lynch came right back, throwing for his fifth touchdown pass of the game, finding Andre Privott in the end zone from 5-yards out.
Clancy threw for his second score of the day, finding Anthony Smalls (Dorchester, MA) from 15-yards out, early in the fourth quarter. The Warriors then recovered the onside kick, and Clancy led the offense down the field in six plays, capped off with a 6-yard rush from the sophomore quarterback into the end zone, cutting the Owls lead to 49-32.
Suozzo finished with 207 passing yards, completing 16-of-33 passes, while Clancy threw for two touchdowns and 198 yards passing, while rushing for another score. Voegeli was over 100 yards receiving, catching 11 passes for 148 yards. Shane Ferguson (Point Pleasant Beach, NJ) had a strong day offensively with six catches for 123 yards. Loiseau, ranked third nationally in tackles per game, added 15 more in the loss to go with his fumble return for a touchdown.
Before the game, the Warriors honored their 11-member Class of 2011 as part of Senior Day. Merrimack (3-6, 3-4 NE-10) concludes the season at Pace University next Saturday at 12 p.m.