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Sacred Heart Pulls Away from Football, 26-9

Jim Stankiewicz



0-3 , 0


Sacred Heart

3-1 , 3

Score By Quarters




0 7 0 2 9

Sacred Heart
7 6 3 10 26

Game Recap: Football |

Links: Box Score

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Merrimack College football team played it first road game of the spring on Sunday afternoon, traveling to Fairfield, Conn. to face Sacred Heart University in Northeast Conference (NEC) action. The Warriors faced a six-point deficit, 13-7, at hafltime, but the Pioneers pulled away in the second half for a 26-9 win. Merrimack dropped to 0-2 (0-2 NEC) on the year while Sacred Heart improved to 2-1 (2-1 NEC).

The duo of redshirt freshmen Jack Esquivel and Prince-Dru Bey split quarterbacking duties on Sunday. The former threw his first career touchdown pass in the first half to junior Tyler Roberts. On defense, Merrimack totaled three sacks, had one interception and forced one fumble. Junior defensive end Cory Hagerman enjoyed a strong day with a team-high eight tackles, 1.5 TFL’s and half a sack.

The Essentials
Score: Sacred Heart 26, Merrimack 9
Records: Merrimack (0-2, 0-2 NEC) | Sacred Heart (2-1, 2-1 NEC)
Location: Fairfield, Conn. | Campus Field

How It Happened

  • Sacred Heart struck first. After each team punted on their first two possessions, the Pioneers used a six-play, 53-yard drive to score the day’s first points. The hosts led, 7-0, with 6:16 left in the quarter
  • Merrimack’s scoring drive occurred right after that. Dru-Bey converted on third-and-9 to start the drive, bringing the ball to midfield. Junior Matt Brehon totaled 17 yards on a pair of carries that helped bring Merrimack inside the Pioneers’ 10-yard line at the end of the first quarter. On the first play of the second quarter, Esquivel found Roberts on third-and-goal for a five-yard TD throw that brought the game even at 7-7

  • Later in the second quarter, junior Darion McKenzie picked off Sacred Heart quarterback Marquez McCray to put the Warriors in business on SHU’s side of the field. The offense was unable to convert, however, and Sacred Heart scored on its next possession to move in front, 13-7
  • Merrimack threatened to find the end zone on its last possession of the half. Starting a drive on Sacred Heart’s 47-yard line, Merrimack moved inside the red zone via a 20-yard strike from Bey to junior Johnny Rosario. Facing a fourth-and-7 with 21 seconds left in the half, Merrimack opted to go for it on fourth down. Sacred Heart came up with a stop, taking its 13-7 edge to the locker room
  • In the second half, Sacred Heart held Merrimack’s offense in check while scoring 13 points to expand on its lead. In the fourth quarter and trailing, 26-7, Merrimack marched into the red zone again. Esquivel completed four passes on the drive – including a 22-yarder to Roberts – and the Warriors benefited from a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty. Merrimack reached as close as the six-yard line, but a failed fourth-down attempt gave the ball back to Sacred Heart
  • Merrimack added a safety late in the game after a Sacred Heart snap on a punt went out of the end zone to account for its final two points

Individual Highlights

  • Equivel finished 10-of-18 on the day for 79 yards and one touchdown
  • Bey did most of his damage on the ground, rushing for 21 yards. Brehon led the team with 45 yards rushing
  • Roberts set single-game career highs in catches (3) and yards (41). His touchdown reception was the second of his career
  • Hagerman led the team in total tackles with eight
  • Freshman Tyler Leavy added two tackles for loss as well as half a sack
  • Sophomore Nicholas Lenon added a sack as well
  • In the secondary, McKenzie grabbed the team’s first interception of the year. Redshirt freshman Josh Addo added the team’s forced fumble

Notes & Numbers

  • Sunday was the third all-time meeting between Merrimack and Sacred Heart, and first since 1997
  • Merrimack is now 1-2 all-time against the Pioneers

Up Next
Merrimack plays another road game next week, travelling to LIU to play the Sharks at 1 p.m.    

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