Football: Turnovers costly as Merrimack beats Hounds 34-12October 21, 2006
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. --- Merrimack College returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the first period and scored 27 points total as the direct result of turnovers en route to a 34-12 Northeast-10 Conference win---their fourth straight victory---over Assumption College here SATURDAY.
Merrimack College sophomore J.D. WILD (Martha's Vineyard, MA/Milford Academy) ran one back for a touchdown and had two fumble recoveries, which led to a pair of field goal attempts.
Merrimack is now 5-3 overall and 5-2 in the conference, while the Greyhounds fall to 3-5 and 3-5.
The Greyhounds struck on their first offensive play as freshman quarterback MARSHALL THARPE (Irvine, CA/Santa Magarita), who finished 12-for-22 for 158 yards and two touchdowns, connected with junior wide receiver JAKE BEERS (Duxbury, MA/Duxbury)---the leading receiver in the Northeast-10 Conference---for 44 yards over the middle after a short punt. The conversion by senior MIKE TOBIN (Woburn, MA/Woburn) hit the upright.
On the next two Greyhound possessions Merrimack struck for paydirt via interceptions. Sophomore defensive back JORDAN RANKINS (Gardner, MA/Gardner) scampered 52 yards with the first one---freshman STEVE GARVEY (Unionville, CT/Unionville) kicked the conversion and moments later Wild ran 11 yards with a pickoff for another score. Garvey again converted for a 14-6 lead.
In between the Warriors, off a fumble recovery by Wild at the Hounds 40, drove to the 20 only to have a Garvey 34-yard field goal attempt miss wide right.
In the second period Wild recovered anothe fumble---forced by sophomore defensive back SAM BLEVINES (Brockton, MA/Brockton)---at the Greyhounds 25. Garvey kicked a 25-yard field goal for the only score of the period and a 17-6 halftime advantage.
The third period began much like the first half as junior defensive back RANDY HURLEY (Beverly, MA/Beverly) picked off a Tharpe pass and returned it 19 yards to the Hounds 17. Garvey drilled a 29-yard field goal, as the Hounds defense stiffened, to make it 20-6.
Another interception, this by sophomore linebacker SCOTT HAYDEN (Chicago, IL/Brother Rice), and 24-yard return to the Greyhound nine again set the Warriors up. Freshman running back MIKE YOUNG (Norwood, MA/Norwood), who rushed for a game-high 119 yards on 26 carries, scored from 12 yards out and Garvey kicked the conversion for a 27-6 advantage.
On the ensuing series Tharpe completed five-of-six passes---two to junior tight end JAKE LONGENECKER (Fernandina, FL/Manchester, NH West) for six and 11 yards, one to sophomore wide receiver JOEY FABIANO (Westwood, MA/Westwood) for 35 yards and two to freshman wide receiver DAVID CANNEY (Templeton, MA/Narragansett) for five yards and 13 more for the touchdown. The conversion pass for two points failed.
Merrimack then had its only sustained drive of the game, 10 plays for 73 yards en route to an insurance score. Junior quarterback COLIN TEMPLE (Rutland, VT/Mt. St. Joseph's), who completed 15-of-27 passes for 162 yards, found sophomore wide receiver CHRIS MC NEILL (Burlington, MA/Bridgton Academy) for the touchdown on a five-yard slant. Garvey's conversion completed the scoring.
GREYHOUND NOTES: freshman middle linebacker DUSTIN ZITZMANN (Pinellas Park, FL/Dixie Hollins) led the Greyhounds defense once again with 5-6--11 tackles . . . he leads the team with 33-49--82 tackles . . . senior linebacker PETER MILLIGAN (Melrose, MA/Melrose) (PICTURE RIGHT) ended with 5-3--8 tackles and now has 131-130--261 for his career, and senior linebacker MARK CINAR (Watertown, MA/Watertown) finished with 4-4--8 tackles . . . junior wide out JAKE BEERS (Duxbury, MA/Duxbury) caught four passes for 64 yards and a touchdown. He now has 39 receptions for 555 yards for the season and 96 for 1,161 yards for his career . . . junior tight end JAKE LONGENECKER (Fernandina, FL/Manchester, NH West) caught four passes for 30 yards and now has 29 catches for 333 yards for the season and 72 receptions for 918 yards for his career . . . freshman wide receiver DAVID CANNEY (Templeton, MA/Narragansett) led the Greyhounds with five receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown and has 25 catches for 266 yards for the season . . . sophomore wide receiver JOEY FABIANO (Westwood, MA/Westwood) had two catches for 40 yards (39 for 370 for the season) . . .
NEXT WEEK: the Greyhounds are at Southland Conference Division I-AA Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, LA. (kickoff is at 1 p.m. Eastern time) . . . the Colonels, who won the conference last year and advanced to the N.C.A.A. playoffs are 2-5 after losing to Northwestern State (Natchitoches, LA) SATURDAY . . . two of those losses however are at Nebraska (7-56) and at Louisiana Tech (21-31) . . . they finish their season hosting Northeast-10 Conference Pace University SATURDAY, November 4 (Senior Day) . . .