Stonehill Rallies Past New Haven, 29-26

Senior quarterback Logan Meyer engineered his third fourth quarter comeback win of the season with 288 yards and three touchdowns this afternoon. (PHOTO BY Vaughn Winchell)

Meyer and Markus key offense as Skyhawks move into first place tie in NE-10

NEW HAVEN REGISTER: "Stonehill Rallies Past New Haven"

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (October 19, 2013) – Stonehill College, among teams receiving votes in this week's American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II poll and ranked eighth in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC)/Lambert Meadowlands poll, scored 15 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and withstood a last minute drive to claim a 29-26 triumph over the University of New Haven, also receiving votes in the AFCA poll and ranked fourth in the ECAC/Lambert Meadowlands poll, in Northeast-10 Conference football action at Ralph F. DellaCamera Stadium this afternoon.

Stonehill completes a sweep of its back to back trips to New Haven, Conn., posting the first two wins in program history in the Elm City, including its 23-21 triumph at Southern Connecticut State University last Saturday. The Skyhawks have also become a bit of a Homecoming Weekend spoiler, with each of their last two road wins coming during their opponents Homecoming festivities. Stonehill, which posts its first win over New Haven in five meetings all-time, scored 15 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to cap its third comeback win of the year. The win also snaps the Chargers 21-game winning streak against NE-10 opponents dating back to 35-26 setback to Saint Anselm College here at DellaCamera Stadium on November 6, 2010.

Senior quarterback Logan Meyer (Ventura, Calif./Saint Bonaventure) engineered the two fourth quarter scoring drives for Stonehill, capped by a seven yard touchdown pass to sophomore Corey White (Bergenfield, N.J./Bergenfield) with 27-seconds to play and then found sophomore Colin Markus (Monroe, Conn./Masuk) for a completion for the two point conversion and a three point lead. New Haven still drove to the Skyhawks seven yard line, but postgrad wide receiver Nick Music (West Milford, N.J./West Milford) couldn't haul in a pass from classmate Ronnie Nelson (Stuart, Fla./South Fork) in the left side of the end zone as time expired, with Stonehill junior cornerback Nate Morris (Providence, R.I./Wheeler School) breaking up the play to seal the victory.

Meyer finished 22-of-41 for 288 yards and three touchdowns for Stonehill. Markus racked up a career-high 255 all-purpose yards for the Skyhawks as he rushed the ball a career-best 23 times for a career-high 172 yards and a touchdown, averaging 7.5 yards per carry, while adding 83 yards on three kickoff returns. Stonehill finished with 459 yards of total offense, with 288 through the air and 171 on the ground, and converted on 4-of-5 trips into the red zone.

Sophomore Colin Markus rushed the ball a career-high 23 times for a career-best 172 yards on his way to a personal-best 255 all-purpose yards. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Sophomore Gordon McLeod (Weymouth, Mass./BC High) caught six passes for 100 yards and a touchdown, marking his second-straight 100-yard game. Junior Nate Robitaille (Attleboro, Mass./Attleboro) added nine receptions for 90 yards and a score, finishing the game with a school-record 61 catches for the year to surpass the previous record of 58 receptions by Brian Adamson, '98, in 1996. Robitaille's 792 receiving yards this season ranks third in program history, just 54 yards shy of former teammate John Gomes, '13 record of 846 yards set last season. He also finished the game with 148 all-purpose yards by adding a 21-yard rush and 37 yards on two kickoff returns.

Junior linebacker Brian Harrington (Rockland, Mass./Rockland) was all over the field again for the Stonehill defense and matched his career-high with 17 tackles (eight solo) and a forced fumble, marking his seventh double-figure tackle effort in as many games this season. Classmate Sterry Codrington (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Boro) also came up big for the Skyhawks with a career-high matching ten stops (seven solo), including a key sack for a loss of 12 yards on a fake field goal attempt in the fourth quarter to set up the winning drive, two blocked kicks and a pass breakup.

Senior Chris Esposito (Georgetown, Mass./Georgetown) added eight tackles (five solo), including 1.0 for a loss of four yards, while sophomore Anthony Masucci (East Haven, Conn./Notre Dame) contributed eight stops (five solo) and two breakups.

Nelson finished with 389 total yards for New Haven, completing 17-of-31 passes for 320 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions to go with 11 carries for another 69 yards. Senior running back Mike DeCaro (Weston, Fla./Cypress Bay) rushed the ball 24 times for 153 yards and a touchdown, adding three receptions for 52 yards and four yards on two punt returns to finish the day with a team-high 209 all-purpose yards. Sophomore tight end Michael Flacco (Audobon, N.J./Gateway Regional) chipped in with five receptions for 62 yards and a score.

Junior Sterry Codrington matched a career-high with ten stops, a key sack on a fake field goal and two blocked kicks today. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

Senior Herbens Antenor (Malden, Mass./Malden) led the New Haven defense with nine tackles (seven solo) and a pass breakup. Freshman Najae Brown (Mount Vernon, N.Y./Mount Saint Michael) added seven stops (four solo), an interception and three pass breakups, while senior Matthew Fallico (Syracuse, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius) chipped in with five tackles (two solo), including 1.5 for a loss of two yards and a breakup.

Stonehill marched 72 yards for a touchdown on the first possession of the game, capped by a 13 yard touchdown pass from Meyer to Robitaille 3:04 into the contest. Meyer connected with McLeod for a key 38 yard pass on third and five from the Stonehill 49 as the Skyhawks converted three times on third down during the drive, including the scoring play (3rd and 10).

New Haven evened the score early in the second quarter with a ten play, 96 yard drive that started in the first quarter. Nelson hit sophomore Henry Adegunle (Rockaway, N.Y./Channel View) for a 40-yard touchdown pass 1:21 into the second frame. Nelson rushed the ball three times for 23 yards and completed all four pass attempts for another 73 yards, including a 23 yard completion to Adegunle on second and 12 from the Chargers 24.

New Haven took the lead on its next possession after Stonehill turned the ball over on downs after being given great field position on a 53-yard kickoff return by Markus. Nelson found freshman Andre Anderson (New Haven, Conn./James Hillhouse) for a 63 yard completion on first down and then DeCaro punched the ball into the end zone from three yards out on the next play for a quick two play scoring drive. Stonehill answered just two plays later with a four yard touchdown run by Markus for a 14-13 lead after the Chargers missed the extra point on their previous score. Markus opened the possession by reeling off a season-long 64 yard run on first down to get the ball to the New Haven four.

Junior Brian Harrington matched his career-high with 17 tackles and forced a fumble this afternoon. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

New Haven took advantage of a muffed punt attempt from Stonehill by taking over at midfield with 3:22 left in the half. Nelson connected with Flacco for an 11 yard touchdown pass with 1:37 left in the opening half just five plays later. Meyer marched Stonehill down to the New Haven three, keyed by a 21 yard rush by Robitaille and a 25 yard reception from McLeod, but Brown intercepted the Skyhawks quarterback at the goal line to preserve the Chargers lead at the intermission.

Stonehill's defense held until the final play of the third quarter when Nelson found Music for a 20 yard touchdown pass and a 26-14 lead as time expired in the quarter to conclude a ten play, 80 yard drive. The extra point was blocked by Codrington and Morris scooped the ball up to attempt the two point conversion at the other end, but was wrapped up near midfield.

Stonehill closed within five points with a 12 play, 68 yard drive on its next possession as Meyer found McLeod from six yards out with 8:54 to play. Meyer was 6-for-7 for 60 yards during the possession, with key completions to White for 23 yards on third and seven at the Stonehill 35, an eight yard pass to Robitaille on fourth and seven at the New Haven 39 and a 20 yard connection to White on third and nine at the 30.

Stonehill turned the ball over on downs at the New Haven 39 with 3:35 remaining and the Chargers drove to the Skyhawks ten with a chance to seal victory. The drive stalled and Codrington sacked senior William Clements (Pennsauken, N.J./Bishop Eustice) on a fake field goal attempt to set up the winning drive. New Haven was whistled for a pass interference penalty on Stonehill's first play, putting the ball on the Skyhawks 37. After an incompletion on first down, Meyer connected with Robitaille for a 50-yard bomb down the left sideline on second down to put Stonehill on the New Haven 13. Meyer hit McLeod for a sliding six yard reception at the seven on the next play and then after a timeout found White on a fade route into the left corner of the end zone with 27-seconds left. The Skyhawks went for the two point conversion for a three point lead and Meyer connected with Markus to complete the play.

Nelson nearly pulled New Haven, which posted a last-second 45-41 victory over Stonehill on national television last year, out of the fire for a second year in a row, completing a 26 yard pass to sophomore Ty Headen (Newark, N.J./American History) on first down before connecting with DeCaro for a 27 yard pass and catch to the Stonehill seven with two seconds left. After a Chargers timeout, Nelson sought out Music on the left side of the end zone, but Morris got a hand to the ball to break up the pass and seal the Stonehill victory.

Stonehill moves into a three-way tie for first place in the Northeast-10 standings with New Haven and American International College, which routed Bentley University 42-14 in Waltham, Mass., today. The Skyhawks also has a big leg up on clinching a spot in the Northeast-10 Conference Championship Game on Saturday, November 16, as New Haven and AIC will meet at DellaCamera Stadium in two weeks.

Stonehill (5-2, 5-1 NE-10) returns home next Saturday to host LIU Post for a Northeast-10 matchup at noon. New Haven (5-2, 5-1 NE-10) travels to Southern Connecticut State University on Friday at 7 p.m.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter and Facebook. Fans can also download the Stonehill Skyhawks mobile app on iTunes and the Android Market.

Highlights courtesy CPTV Sports