Football

Merrimack Dominates Franklin Pierce on Senior Day

After the game, Merrimack celebrated its Senior Day, honoring 19 student-athletes who comprise the team’s Class of 2020. The Warriors recognized Bryce SmithBubba ShkliewJoseph PritchardJack MastersonEnrique McFarlaneBryce SantosSteven LiakosMatt ReaganCorey ResendesDaekwon ShepherdJack LambertGabe DansereauJake RagusaRobert HulseCam HayesSam CooperMichael MercuriErick Browne and Marquis Spence

With the win, Merrimack concluded its five-game home slate with a 4-1 record and increased its overall mark on the season to 5-5. Franklin Pierce dropped to 1-10 with the loss. The Warriors will have a chance to finish above .500 in 2019 when Merrimack concludes the season next week at Long Island University.

The Essentials
Score: Merrimack 57, Franklin Pierce 0
Records: Merrimack (5-5) | Franklin Pierce (1-10)
Location: North Andover, Mass. | Duane Stadium

How It Happened

  • Merrimack scored its first of three first-quarter touchdowns on the game’s second play. Sophomore quarterback Christian Carter took a quarterback keeper and sprinted 38 yards to the end zone, putting the Warriors ahead 7-0
  • On Franklin Pierce’s first possession, junior Caleb Holden picked up a pass right at the Ravens’ 49-yard line, and sprinted straight to pay dirt to double the team’s advantage. The Warriors’ last touchdown of the opening quarter came with under two minutes to play when sophomore Matt Brehon scored from three yards out. Redshirt-sophomore Jamari Venter took two carries for 55 yards on the drive, putting Merrimack near the goal line
  • The Warriors put 20 more points on the board before halftime. Graduate student Cam Hayes entered at quarterback and found redshirt-senior Marquis Spence for a 22-yard strike. On the team’s next possession, Venter took his turn in the end zone, rushing in from 26 yards out. With 41 seconds left, the Warriors’ defense forced a Franklin Pierce punt and on the next play, Hayes and Spence connected for the second time in the quarter. Merrimack led, 41-0, through 30 minutes
  • Merrimack was able to utilize most of its roster in the second half including two more quarterbacks in addition to Carter and Hayes. Freshman signal caller Prince-Dru Bey and redshirt freshman quarterback Jack Esquivel each took snaps in the second half, playing in their first career games
  • Before those two took the field, Carter added his second rushing touchdown of the day from 30 yards out, graduate student kicker Corey Resendes kicked a field goal and junior Bubba Shkliew recorded a 42-yard rushing touchdown to account for Merrimack’s final three scoring plays

Individual Highlights

  • Carter and Venter combined for 183 yards the ground on only nine combined carries; Carter averaged 23.3 yards per rush while Venter averaged 18.0
  • Merrimack only attempted 13 passes on the day with eight completions. Hayes was 4-of-5 for 60 yards to lead the quarterbacks, while Spence led Merrimack’s receivers with four catches and 68 yards
  • The Warriors’ defense totaled five sacks and three interceptions. Holden, sophomore Rodney Samson and redshirt sophomore Anthony Witherstone all recorded picks
  • Redshirt junior Jake Ragusa totaled a team-high six tackles, two of which occurred behind the line of scrimmage. Sophomore Cory Hagerman, graduate student Gabe Dansereau and sophomore Nick Martino added five stops each

Notes & Numbers

  • Merrimack recorded its second shutout win at Duane Stadium in as many seasons; the Warriors topped AIC, 14-0, one year ago
  • The Warriors’ 327 yards on the ground were the most since Merrimack ran for 334 against Pace in the team’s inaugural game at Duane Stadium. It marked the fourth most rushing yards in a single game at home in school history
  • Spence’s two touchdown grabs gave him nine for the season, cracking the program record book for both receiving scores in a single year (9) and a career (15)
  • Merrimack outgained Franklin Pierce by over 300 yards. On defense, the Warriors allowed Franklin Pierce to gain just 1.5 yards per rush and just 2.5 yards per completion
  • The Warriors were perfect on third down, preventing a first down by the visitors on all 13 of their chances

Up Next
Merrimack concludes the season by playing its fourth NEC program of the year, traveling to Long Island University for a 12 p.m. kickoff in Brookville, N.Y.

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