Story and photo courtesy of New Haven Athletics
PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. - The University of New Haven football team, nationally ranked No. 7/10 defeated Pace University 44-10 Saturday afternoon at Pace Field. With the win the Chargers improved to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Setters dropped to 0-3 overall and 0-2 in conference play.
Pace scored a field goal on the first possession of the game, but the Chargers answered with 44-straight points, including 23 in the second quarter to lead UNH to victory on Saturday. The Chargers ran for 279 yards on 40 attempts and held Pace to 22 yards rushing on 29 carries in the win.
After the Setters went 74-yards on 17 plays over the first 7:44 of the game, New Haven marched 54-yards on six plays to its first touchdown of the afternoon. Mike DeCaro (Weston, Fla./Cypress Bay ) rumbled 34 yards on the sixth play of the drive to score his third touchdown of the season. On the Setters next possession, New Haven forced Pace to punt after earning one first down. The Chargers' Karlos Locke (Owings Mills, Md./Pikesville / Bridgton Academy) stormed into the backfield and blocked the first punt of his career at UNH. The stop gave UNH great field possession at Pace's 27-yard line. Two plays later, UNH got down to the Setters' 19-yard line and time ran out in the first quarter.
Two plays into the second quarter, the Chargers went for a first down on fourth-and-three and came up one yard short. Pace took over possession, but the Charger defense held strong and forced a three-and-out. Another four offensive plays for the Chargers came before Ronnie Nelson (Stuart, Fla./South Fork ) hit Demetrius Washington-Ellison (Rahway, N.J./Rahway / Univ. of Maine) deep across the middle for a 55-yard touchdown strike with 11:15 left in the first half. With a Chris Scifo (Coral Springs, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas / Central Connecticut State University) extra point, the Chargers led 14-3.
Scifo's ensuing kickoff was returned to Pace's 13-yard line and UNH's defense quickly forced another Setters punt. Locke came off the edge again and blocked his second punt of the game. The ball was blocked out of the back of the endzone and the Chargers earned two points off the safety. DeCaro returned the Setters' free kick 28-yards and gave the Chargers possession at the Pace 48-yard line. DeCaro and Nelson carried UNH through the entire next drive. The two connected on a 17-yard touchdown pass and run to cap the drive and give the Chargers a 23-3 lead with 6:44 left in the first half.
Pace took their next drive 31 yards on 10 plays to the Chargers' 40-yard line, but the UNH defense held strong on fourth down and once again forced a turnover on downs. New Haven's next drive began at its own 43-yard line and it converted on a third-and-two to keep the drive alive. After a Pace timeout, Nelson connected with Washington-Ellison for the second deep ball of the game. The 26-yard touchdown pass and catch gave New Haven a 30-3 lead with 13-seconds left in the first half. Time ran out in the first half and the Chargers maintained a 27-point lead.
On the first possession of the second half, New Haven took over at its own 25-yard line. Five-straight rushing plays and Victor Jones (Paterson, N.J./Passaic County Tech) rolled across the goal line for the Chargers. Scifo's extra point and the Chargers' led 37-3 just under three minutes into the second half. Scifo pinned the Setters deep with a 55-yard kickoff and Pace took over at its own 18-yard line. The Setters mounted a drive, going 45 yards on 15 plays to New Haven's 30-yard line. On fourth-and-ten, Alex Dyer (Westbrook, Conn./Westbrook) registered a sack and once again the Setters turned the ball over on downs.
The teams then exchanged punts before the Chargers took over at the Setters' 46-yard line with 1:05 left in the third quarter. New Haven's drive went three minutes into the fourth quarter and eventually fell short at the Pace one-yard line when UNH coughed the ball up and Pace recovered with 11:41 left in the game. The Setters were again forced to punt, after going three and out. The Chargers next drive started at the Setters' own 24-yard line after a short punt. Trevor Officer (Monroe, N.Y./Monroe-Woodbury) combined with Brice DeRosa (Huntington Station, N.Y./Walt Whitman / Iona College) for a five-play, 24-yard drive. DeRosa capped the drive with a two-yard touchdown carry up the middle to give New Haven a 44-3 lead with 6:34 left in the fourth.
The Setters then mounted their one and only touchdown drive of the game. Starting from their own 25-yard line, the Setters took the ball 75-yards on 12 plays for their only touchdown of the game. Jashon Dawson concluded the drive with a two-yard touchdown rush at the 1:22 mark. New Haven's final drive was highlighted by three carries from Justen Wilson (Hamden, Conn./Hyde Leadership). The Hamden, Conn. native rumbled for a 44-yards on three carries to conclude the game.
As a team, the Chargers threw just one pass the entire second half and amassed 440 yards of total offense. With 279 rushing yards, the Chargers averaged seven yards per carry. DeCaro led the attack with 93 yards and one touchdown on eight carries. The senior also caught one 17-yards touchdown pass and returned three kickoffs for 54 yards. Three other running backs, Jones, Wilson and Brian Alston (Robbinsville, N.J./Robbinsville) each chipped with with more than 40 yards each. Washington-Ellison highlighted the receiving corps with three catches for 89 yards and two touchdowns. Nelson went 8-for-10 with three touchdowns and 152 yards under center for UNH.
Defensively, Kendrick Butler (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Dillard / ASA College) and Ahmet Baki Basci (Fair Lawn, N.J./Fair Lawn) each recorded six total tackles. Basci added two tackles-for-loss, two quarterback hurries and one sack. Seven other Chargers also recorded at least four tackles in the game. Locke led the Chargers' special teams with two blocks, while Carlos Lozada (New London, Conn./New London) chipped in with great special teams defense as well and four total tackles.
New Haven returns to action on Saturday, September 22 when Saint Anselm travels to West Haven, Conn. Game time is set for 1 p.m. at DellaCamera Stadium. Stay posted to www.NewHavenChargers.com for complete coverage throughout the week.