WEST HAVEN, Conn. – A Damon Rodgers (Charlotte, N.C./Cheshire Academy) touchdown with 1:47 remaining and a Nigel Davis (Williamsville, N.Y./Saint Joseph’s Collegiate Institute) interception with 26 seconds remaining lifts the University of New Haven football team to a 23-22 victory over the visiting Stonehill Skyhawks on Homecoming weekend at Ralph F. DellaCamera Stadium.
Stonehill scored a go-ahead touchdown with 2:49 remaining in the game, but failed to convert on the two-point conversion, giving them a 22-17 advantage. The Chargers responded with a 48-yard touchdown reception just 57 seconds later that provided a 23-22 lead. A last ditch drive by the Skyhawks ended in heartache for the visitors as senior Nigel Davis (Williamsville, N.Y./Saint Joseph’s Collegiate Institute) stepped into the passing lane to pick off a Matt Foltz pass, ending the threat and securing the victory for the Blue and Gold.
All of New Haven’s touchdowns came from a distance of 39 yards or more, including a season-long 69-yard scoring rush by sophomore Ryan McCarthy (Montclair, N.J./Bergen Catholic). That touchdown for McCarthy was the first of three on the day for New Haven with Rodgers 48-yard catch joining a 39-yard rushing touchdown from graduate transfer Greg Orekoya (Billerica, Mass./Billerica). Senior Danny Stock (North Massapequa, N.Y./Plainedge / Buffalo State) rounded out the scoring with a fourth quarter 26-yard field goal.
McCarthy closed out the day with a team-high 103 yards on 17 carries to lead a five-person running back corp. Orekoya followed with 41 yards while quarterback Ajee Patterson (Neptune, N.J./Neptune) added 15 and Chris Ligio chipped in a dozen yards. Patterson capped off his day with 280 yards in the air, completing 19-of-27 passes with the one TD from Rodgers his only scoring pass on the day. Overall, Patterson finished the day with three passes of 30 yards or more, including a 42-yard completion to Justin White (Holyoke, Mass./Holyoke) as the only other from 40-or more.
Overall, Patterson relied on six targets down field, led by Rodgers who finished with 99 yards on five completions. White finished with 79 yards on four receptions while Devin Martin (Staten Island, N.Y./Tottenville) hauled in a team-high a team-high six catches, all resulting in 74 yards total.
Defensively, New Haven was led by junior Jordan Francklin (Queens, N.Y./Holy Cross), the Charger Nation Player of the Game, who finished with 17 tackles, a season-high for all players. Eight of his tackles came as solo stops, while he added a tackle for loss and was crucial in a fourth quarter, fourth down stop. Freshman Javeon Ensley (Plainfield, N.J./Hudson Catholic) and senior Stefano Bicknese (Somers, N.Y./Somers / USMAPS) also finished in double figures with 11 tackles each. In addition to Davis’ interception, which he returned 10 yards, Ensley also picked off a Stonehill pass with that pick coming with 12 seconds remaining in the first half.