NORTH ANDOVER – After erasing an early 10-point deficit with two quick scores in the second quarter to take the lead, the Merrimack College was outscored by 31 the rest of the way, as visiting Assumption handed the Warriors a 41-13 setback in Northeast-10 Conference action on Saturday afternoon at Martone-Mejail Field.
Score: Assumption 41, Merrimack 13
Records: Merrimack (3-4, 3-3 NE-10) | Assumption (4-3, 4-2 NE-10)
Location: Martone-Mejail Field | North Andover, Mass.
How It Happened
Assumption built itself an early 3-0 lead with a 35-yard field goal in the first quarter before a 12-yard scamper from De’Ontray Johnson put the visitors by 10.
As the game turned to the second frame, Merrimack was quick to respond, as first-year Warrior Adriell Mayes (Chesapeake, Va.) started his big afternoon with a 23-yard scoring run to put the hosts on the board with 10:34 left in the second quarter.
The Warrior defense promptly forced a punt and Merrimack was in the midst of another promising drive before fumbling it away at the Assumption 33.
Still, the defense responded, as the Greyhounds punted it right back put Merrimack in business from its own 19. Freshman quarterback Joe Capobianco (Oceanside, N.Y.) orchestrated a five-play, 81-yard drive that culminated with him hooking up with sophomore Justin Mount (Westford, Mass.) from 65 yards out to give get the Homecoming Weekend crowd on its feet and push the Navy and Gold ahead by a 13-10 margin at the break.
But that momentum quickly dissipated after Assumption took the opening kickoff of the third quarter 95 yards to the house, forcing the Warriors to quickly play catch-up.
Each side’s ensuing drives resulted in punts, as Merrimack got the ball back with 9:14 to go in the third. After a few big gashes by Mayes put Merrimack near midfield, Capobianco was picked off by Bakari Blunt, who brought it in from 52 yards out to make it a 24-13 Assumption lead.
The Greyhounds tacked on another field goal and made it a three-possession game later in the third after blocking a punt deep in Merrimack territory; on the very next play, Johnson would dash in from 15 yards out to put the visitors up by a 34-13 margin.
Most of the fourth quarter saw both sides’ offenses stalling, as the game saw four consecutive drives end in punts. Trailing still by three possessions late in regulation, the Warriors were forced to go for it on 4th and long and could not move the chains.
Assumption would ice the contest with one last 41-yard touchdown pass-and-catch catch from Trevor Vasey to Eddy Frazier to account for the final margin of defeat.
Inside The Numbers
Despite the defeat, Merrimack still outgained Assumption by a hearty margin, holding a 378-279 edge in total offense, including a 237-153 lead in passing yards and 141-126 advantage on the ground
Mayes was absolutely brilliant, turning in a season- and career-best 170-yard performance on 23 carries, averaging 6.8 yards a carry
Mount led all Warrior receivers with 84 yards and the only touchdown catch from the group
Capobianco and first-year sophomore Nick Laspada (Billerica, Mass.) split quarterback duties, with Capobianco finishing 22-of-42 for 202 yards and the latter going 5-of-9 for 35 yards and seven more rushing
Rookie Cody Demers (Dracut, Mass.) continued his stellar season on special teams, churning out 123 yards on five returns (24.6 yards/return) with a long gain of 48; he added 24 more receiving yards to finish with 147 all-purpose yards
Senior captain Justin Hood (Billerica, Mass.) led the Warrior defense with eight tackles and paired up with junior Kristian Jackson (Shrewsbury, Mass.) for the only Merrimack sack
The Warriors round out the road portion of their regular season with a trip to perennial league power New Haven next Saturday (Oct. 25) at 1 p.m.
Mike McMahon covers Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report as well as on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN