Story and photo courtesy of Merrimack Athletics
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Behind a season-high 500 yards of total offense the Merrimack football team defeated Rowan University on Saturday by the score of 30-7 in front of 1,220 fans at Martone-Mejail Field in the home opener for the Warriors.
The Warriors scored 21 straight points in the third quarter to secure the non conference victory on Saturday afternoon.
Senior quarterback Joe Clancy (Newburyport, Mass.) threw for two second-half touchdowns and ran for another, while completing 33 of 48 passes for 325 yards. Clancy hit Zach Ingalls (Westford, Mass.) from 25-yards out 1:46 into the third, ran one in from nine yards out 4:08 into the third and then connected with tight end Steve Serwon (Amesbury, Mass.) from 32-yards out just under six minutes later.
Merrimack opened up the scoring after a 13 play 78 yard drive ended with a six yard touchdown scamper by sophomore wide receiver Steven Browne (Staten Island, NY), giving the Warriors the 6-0 lead after a failed two point conversion.
The Props took the lead 7-6 after a Clancy pass was picked off by Kurt Kingett and returned 42 yards for a Rowan touchdown.
Merrimack ended the half with a career-long 36 yard field goal by sophomore Nick Zwann (Longmeadow, Mass.), making the score 9-7 in favor of the Warriors.
Merrimack held the advantage of 271 total yards of offense to 128 yards including 187 passing yards by Clancy. Preseason All-American Isaiah Voegeli (Hyannis, Mass.) finished the first half with a team-high eight catches for 54 yards while Ingalls finished with a team-high 67 yards. Defensively, Ervin Johnson (Bradenton, FL) led all Warriors with five tackles including two tackles for a loss.
Merrimack’s defense started off the second half forcing a three and out by the Props as Nick McDaniels (Boston, Mass.) and Michael Wiggins (Dolton, Ill.) combined on a tackle in the backfield for a three yard loss. Following the punt, Clancy connected with Ingalls for his first passing touchdown of the game, a 25-yard toss, giving Merrimack the 15-7 lead after another missed point after attempt.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Warriors recovered an onside kick at the Rowan 33-yard line setting up a nine yard touchdown run by Clancy, increasing the Merrimack lead to 23-7 after a Jimon Hill (North Chicago, Ill.) two point conversion run.
Following another strong defensive effort later in the third, Merrimack turned a turnover on downs by the Props into a touchdown as Clancy found Serwon up the middle, making the score 30-7 with 4:08 remaining in the third quarter.
The Warriors held tough down the stretch ensuring the 30-7 victory in front of the home crowd.
Ingalls finished the game with a career-high nine catches for 124 yards and one touchdown while fellow wide receiver Voegeli closed out his impressive afternoon with 11 grabs for 85 yards. Hill finished the game with a season-high 98 rushing yards on 21 attempts and Quinn McDonough (Medford, Mass.) rushed for 37 yards on 11 carries.
Defensively, All-NE-10 performer Artis Holt (Baltimore, Md.) totaled a team-high seven tackles and also intercepted one pass and broke up another in the victory. Sophomore Chris Unis (Gloucester, Mass.) finished with seven tackles including 2.5 tackles for a loss while fellow defensive lineman Matt Tripicchio (Lake Zurich, Ill.) had four tackles including 3.5 for a loss.
The Merrimack defense held Rowan to 205 yards of total offense on the afternoon and had 14 tackles for a loss as a team and one turnover forced.
Merrimack (1-1) will return home to take on conference rival American Int’l at Martone-Mejail Field next Saturday, September 8. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.